Prime Minister announces extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
June 16, 2020 - Ottawa, Ontario More Canadians are returning to work, but many people still face challenges due to COVID-19. As we begin to take steps to safely restart our economy, we will continue to support Canadians to protect their health and economic well-being.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government is extending the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) by eight weeks, to ensure Canadians have the help they need as they transition back to work. This extension will make the benefit available to eligible workers for up to a total of 24 weeks.
The Government of Canada introduced the CERB to immediately help workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so they could continue to put food on the table and pay their bills during this challenging time. As we begin to restart the economy and get people back on the job, Canadians receiving the benefit should be actively seeking work opportunities or planning to return to work, provided they are able and it is reasonable to do so.
That is why the government will also make changes to the CERB attestation, which will encourage Canadians receiving the benefit to find employment and consult Job Bank, Canada’s national employment service that offers tools to help with job searches.
Over the next few weeks, the government will monitor international best practices, the economy, and the progression of the virus and, if needed, make necessary changes to the program so more people can have the support they need. We will also look at ways to ensure all our supports, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Employment Insurance (EI), are working effectively to help Canadians get back on their feet.
Province expands measures to support restaurant, tourism industries
The Province has approved a temporary wholesale pricing model that will allow liquor licensees to purchase beer, wine and spirits at reduced cost.
This measure will provide much-needed financial support for businesses like restaurants, bars and tourism operators with liquor licences. It will be in place from the end of July 2020 until March 31, 2021, when the program will be reviewed.
“The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, badly hurting the more than 190,000 British Columbians who work within the sector,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “Offering a wholesale discount for licensees was something we were exploring before COVID-19, but after the onset of the pandemic we accelerated efforts in order to support these community businesses as they try to find their feet.”
Currently, hospitality licensees, including restaurants, bars and pubs pay full retail price – wholesale price, plus a retail markup set by the Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) – on all liquor purchases. The new model will have licensees pay only the wholesale price of the products they order.
“The people working in the hospitality industry are a major driver of B.C.’s economy,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “This change recognizes the restaurant sector’s important role in supporting tourism activity throughout the province.”
In addition to changes to the hospitality pricing model, work is underway by government on several other measures identified within a report created by the Business Technical Advisory Panel (BTAP). This includes the adoption of several recommendations contained in a third-party assessment by Deloitte of the LDB’s liquor distribution centre in Delta, and conversion of all rural agency store authorizations currently administered by the LDB to a new form of rural liquor licence regulated under the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch by the end of 2020.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has launched economic developers into uncharted territories.
In this webinar, Aileen Murray and Kate Burns Gallagher will talk about planning and mobilizing a response to COVID-19. The webinar will include examples of the innovative ways that communities are adapting and evolving their efforts to support local businesses and rebuild the local economy.
Mass timber to drive economic growth, advance CleanBC
Premier John Horgan has appointed Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, to lead the expansion and use of mass timber in B.C. buildings.
Premier Horgan made the announcement in a call with representatives of the BC Council of Forest Industries (COFI).
“As our economy bounces back from the COVID-19 crisis, we want to do everything we can to support forest workers,” said Premier Horgan. “By focusing on mass timber, we have an opportunity to transition the forestry sector to high-value over high-volume production. This will mean opportunities for local workers, strong partnerships with First Nations and greater economic opportunity while making a significant contribution to advancing CleanBC.”
Last year, government announced its intention to encourage the increased use of mass timber building products in its capital construction programs, particularly in the development of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and the replacement of the Royal BC Museum.
“These are high-value wood products that are shining examples of our government’s commitment to create jobs using our publicly owned natural resources,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “I’m confident that Ravi will hit the ground running and find even more opportunities to use this world-renowned product.”
In mass timber buildings, the primary load-bearing structure is made of solid or engineered wood. These buildings can be one-fifth the weight of comparable concrete buildings, while still meeting performance standards for safety, structural resilience and fire protection.
“British Columbia is a leader in the use of mass timber as an innovative way to reduce the carbon footprint of our building sector while supporting good jobs for people in communities across the province,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Ravi Kahlon is thoughtful and hard-working, and the right choice to grow new opportunities in this sector that will help us meet our CleanBC goals to build a cleaner, better future for everyone.”
As part of Kahlon’s new mandate, he will engage with local governments, industry and the construction sector. He will also work with Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and a new assistant deputy minister of mass timber implementation. As well, Kahlon will reach out to Michelle Mungall, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness, and Forest Innovations Investment Ltd. in their efforts to develop new markets for mass timber.
“Mass timber is key to diversifying and creating a more resilient forest sector,” said Kahlon. “I look forward to working with my government colleagues, COFI and the forest industry, construction sector and local governments to promote made-in-B.C. wood products and their use in our public and private sector buildings.”
Kahlon will create and chair a joint industry/government steering committee, which will meet semi-annually, to provide guidance and advice to the government's efforts.