COVID-19 Updates and Resources
With new information and government directives being released on an hourly basis, BCLNA will be updating members as this progresses. On this page, you will find links to resources and information that will further inform you about EI and government actions. Please refer to the websites for the most current information.
On March 16 the decision was made to close the BCLNA office for the next 2 weeks. Staff will be answering emails and responding to phone calls for routine inquiries as well as pandemic-related issues. Email addresses are listed at the bottom of this bulletin.
COVID-19 and SAWP
The BCLNA is working with CNLA, the BC Ag Council and the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to build a process to satisfy the Federal Government’s quarantine requirements to hopefully resume incoming workers. Veronica Moreno @ WALIwill be sending out updates on a regular basis. Please email her if you would like to be on her distribution list.”
What are Other Companies doing to Cope?
There is a variety of ways that companies are coping with this emerging issue.
Some landscaping companies are continuing, with stringent sanitation practices both for equipment use and personal distance. Some have closed down completely, and laid all their staff off.
Nurseries are trying to figure out how to access workers, now that all the SAWP workers are no longer able to enter the country for the moment. Some nurseries are hiring university and high school students, particularly those who are fit, such as rugby and soccer players, and some are watching their orders, to see how significant the cancellations will be.
All growers should be signing up for AgriStability, and should also be accessing the free $100,000 loan from Agricultural Credit Corporation. Contact [email protected] or 1-888-278-8807. It would be good to have $100k in your reserves to assist with cash flow.
Retailers are being quite individual in how they are approaching the situation. In some cases, hysteria is causing staff to simply not show up, while in others, staff have been put on EI. In other cases, they are shifting staff to answer phones and start building call-in orders and delivery of goods, to maintain a cash flow. Leanne Johnson, BCLNA’s Retail Chair, has asked CNLA to advocate on behalf of retailers to ensure that IGC’s continue to stay open, to provide supplies for food gardens.
There is now no waiting period for EI, and even seasonal staff are able to get EI if laid off with no eligibility criteria. There is also no requirement for a medical certificate to enable people to access EI because of the COVID pandemic
Leslie Sison, Industry HR Coordinator / Government Relations at CNLA
has done a tremondous job pulling together resources for Provincial Associations to share with their members.
Please review the attachment for links to resources and information relevant to your company and employees.
This morning (March 18) the Prime Minister made an announcement on new economic supports for those adversely affected by the Pandemic. The Government of Canada has created a website listing all of the supports. There are financial supports available to both individuals as well as to businesses. These are newly released and I am sure more details will follow in the next few days.
Temporary Foreign Workers
This is a very strange and stressful time, where i it seems nformation is changing hour by hour. It is normal to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Please remember to look after your Mental Healthas well as your physical health. Check in with yourself, your co-workers, friends and family to make sure they are ok. If you need additional resources please click here.
Resources for Employers
No employer should feel like they have to lay off a worker because of the virus, and no one should have to worry about their job if they have to be quarantined. That’s why the Government of Canada’s $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund goes towards support for employers and workers through the Work-Sharing program, and by waiving the one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance sickness benefits.
- Government of Canada takes action on COVID-19 (Government of Canada)
- Changes to Employment Insurance (Employment and Social Development Canada)
- Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 (World Health Organization)
- Keeping your employees safe (Canadian Federation of Independent Business)
For more information about available support and resources including:
- Financial implications and business preparedness
- Business travel and events
- Exporting and doing business in international markets
visit the Government of Canada website Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian businesses.
BC Ministry of Agriculture Message to Farmers
From the Honorable Lana Popham, Minister Message to Farmers, Ranchers, Food Producers
COVID -19 Resources for the Public
COVID-19 and the workplace
From WorkSafe BC, here’s a summary of the recommendations for some key workplace issues related to COVID-19.
- Circumstances where workers should not be at work
- Right to refuse work
- Workplace protections
For details please visit the WorkSafeBC website.
The Surrey Board of Trade
has put together an excellent resource, Business Continuity and Recovery Planning Guide, for use during this health crisis and any future catastrophic events. More than ever, the importance of emergency preparedness is being made clear; if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to review how your company would withstand a catastrophe.
Check their website for more information.
BCLNA Staff Contact Information
Hedy Dyck, Chief Operating Officer
Michelle Linford, Operations, CanWest, IPPS
Heather Petrie, Administration & Member Services
Fanny St. Hilaire, Commodity Coordinator
Gulshan Josan, Communications & Social Media Coordinator
Jayde Reuser, Communications & Administration Assistant
Judi Spicker/Veronica Villafranco, Accounting
Ann Walsh, Labour Market Partnership Project
Karen De Jong-Ellery, CanWest Hort Show Manager