March 23, 2020

Week 2 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.

CORRECTION to the Agricultural Credit Corporation Contact

The contact information for Jaye Atkins at the Agricultural Credit (re AgriStability) in the COVID-19 Updated issued March 18 is incorrect. Please contact [email protected] or 1-888-278-8807.

OTTAWA, March 23, 2020

From the Office of the Prime Minister: Advance Payment Program

“Canadian farmers and food businesses work hard so Canadians have quality food on their grocery store shelves and kitchen tables. In these times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to make sure that they are supported so they can continue providing the good, healthy food that nourishes our families.”

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced important new measures to support farmers and agri-food businesses in Canada facing financial hardship due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farm Credit Canada will receive support from the Government of Canada that will allow for an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses, and food processors. This will offer increased flexibility to farmers who face cashflow issues and to processors who are impacted by lost sales, helping them remain financially strong during this difficult time.

In addition, all eligible farmers who have an outstanding Advance Payments Program (APP) loan due on or before April 30 will receive a Stay of Default, allowing them an additional six months to repay the loan. This important measure, which represents $173 million in deferred loans, will help keep more money in farmers’ pockets during these critical months.

The Stay of Default will also provide farmers the flexibility they need to manage their cashflow when facing lower prices or reduced marketing opportunities. Applicable farmers who still have interest-free loans outstanding will have the opportunity to apply for an additional $100,000 interest-free portion for 2020-2021, as long as their total APP advances remain under the $1 million cap.

The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting Canada’s agricultural sector to ensure that farmers and businesses have the support they need to provide for their families and all Canadians during this critical time.

The new deadlines for outstanding Advance Payments Program loans are as follows:

September 30, 2020: 2018 cash advances for grains, oilseeds, and pulses.

September 30, 2020: 2018 cash advances for cattle and bison.

October 31, 2020: 2019 cash advances on flowers and potted plants

BMPs for Landscapers

Landscapers on job sites are highly visible to the public.  With information being pumped out hourly, it’s important to give staff clear direction on your expectations about their role in slowing the spread of COVID-19.  Jeff Foley, Para Space Landscaping Inc, has provided information that he is sharing with his staff on behaviors that can help them avoid the virus.  This template can be personalized for your own company, and as information becomes available or changes you can add update.

Canadian Federation of Agriculture Survey

The CFA are looking to hear from farmers regarding the effects of COVID-19 on their business so they can lobby the government to fix it.  Please subscribe to their E-news so you can pick up the surveys Tuesday mornings.  The questions will change on a weekly basis.

Forwarded by Leslie Sison,  Industry HR Coordinator / Government Relations at CNLA

Payroll and COVID-19: Q&A from the Canadian Payroll Association

The CPA has done, the EI system, and Canadians a great service by authoring the attached bulletin.

While the coding on EI Records of Employment may not seem critical, it is vital that the forms are filled correctly to avoid unnecessary errors, difficulty and delays in EI processing, especially at this critical time

Layoffs, salary, EI and more:

Your coronavirus and employment questions answered

This article from the Globe & Mail was originally published March 20 and was updated March 23, 2020.  Please remember that this information may be regional and we strongly suggest verifying with your local laws before taking any actions.  This information is to provide insight to what may be available but is not provided as legal advice from CNLA.

HR Downloads Blog

Here is a another article answering some of your ROE and employment questions, such as:

  • How to handle new employees that are scheduled to start working while you are issuing temporary layoffs
  • How to handle employees returning from job-protected leave but your company is issuing temporary layoffs


Please find attached some helpful information from our advisors at HortProtect Insurance. Some information is Ontario-centric but some is on the federal level.

Preventing COVID-19 in the workplace:

Employers, employees and essential service workers  

This printable document contains practical information for employers and employees to help maintain a healthy workplace.

COVID -19 Self-Assessent


If you are feeling unwell, you can check your symptoms online. This resource is available 24 hours a day.

The Province of British Columbia provided a COVID-19 Provincial Support information page. You will find information on preparing, containing and breaking the chain of COVID-19 transmission.

If you have questions you can call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C., or for the deaf and hard of hearing, call 7-1-1. Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.

WorkSafeBC Logo

Working from Home


Employers are asked to consider having workers work at home where practicable, as part of efforts to slow the progression of COVID-19  through social distancing.

To support this practice, WorkSafeBC would like to share the following guidance on employer and worker responsibilities for ensuring their workspace is healthy and safe.

  • Developing a health and safety policy
  • Key health and safety requirements when working from home

For information on these guidelines visit the WorkSafeBC website.

Retail Updates

UK garden centres selling more online in COVID-19 crisis from Floral Daily

Garden centers prepare for coronavirus impact. from Nursery Management

Retail Council of Canada is issuing its own COVID-19 newsletter and posting daily updates on their website. 

Today’s RCC e-letter contains

  • Best Practices for Retailer Stores During COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Current fraud scams being aimed at retailers.

Best Management Practices: Procedures for landscape companies operating during COVID-19

Landscapers on job sites are highly visible to the public. With information being churned out hourly, it’s important to give staff clear direction on your expectations about their role in slowing the spread of COVID-19.  These documents will assist with ensuring your business and staff are following proper COVID-19 health protocols, as deemed by Public Health Officers.

BMPs for Landscapers – This document outlines reccomended practices and procedures for operation during COVID-19 for landscape businesses in BC

BMPs Checklist for Crews – A simplified version of the first document to be used by crews onsite. This document can also be handed to any clients or concerned members of the public to demonstrate how your company operations are aligned with COVID-19 protocols.

BCLNA Staff Contact Information

Hedy Dyck, Chief Operating Officer

[email protected]

Michelle Linford, Operations, CanWest, IPPS

[email protected]

Heather Petrie, Administration  &  Member Services

[email protected]

Fanny St. Hilaire, Commodity Coordinator

[email protected]

Gulshan Josan, Communications & Social Media Coordinator

[email protected]

Jayde Reuser, Communications & Administration Assistant

[email protected]

Judi Spicker/Veronica Villafranco, Accounting

[email protected]

Ann Walsh, Labour Market Partnership Project

[email protected]

Karen De Jong-Ellery, CanWest Hort Show Manager

[email protected]