March 30, 2020

Week 3 Growers’ COVID-19 Update & Resources

Farmer Survey on the effects of COVID-19 – Week of March 30th

The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is seeking input from Canadian farmers and ranchers through weekly surveys to identify any issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak that are affecting your farm businesses.

The survey information gathered weekly will help inform communications as we work with government to support Canadian agriculture throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Complete this week’s survey by Thursday, April 2nd at 9 a.m. PST. A new survey will be available each Monday morning as the pandemic continues.

Complete the Survey

March 28, 2020

BCAC Update: New requirements from Government of Canada for Employers of Temporary Foreign Workers RE: COVID-19

The federal government has released their requirements for employers of temporary foreign workers during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please be sure to review the Government of Canada’s guidance document to ensure you are familiar with all new requirements and details.

We anticipate protocol requirements from the Province of British Columbia to be available early next week. New information will be shared as soon as it is available.

Note on travel: There are no more commercial flights available from key labour supply countries (ie: Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, etc.). BCAC/WALI is currently working on accessing charter flights. More information coming.

Some highlights from the federal government’s guidance document include:

  • The employer must pay the worker regular pay and benefits for the self-isolation period.
  • The employer cannot authorize the worker to work during the self-isolation period, even if requested by the worker, with the exception of those deemed as providing an essential service by the Chief Public Health Officer.
  • The employer must house self-isolating workers in accommodations that are separate from those not subject to self-isolation.
  • Please read the Government of Canada’s guidance document for all details and requirements.

As the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is recommended that this website be consulted regularly for the latest public health information.;

March 26, 2020

BCAC Update: Travel Restriction on TFWs officially lifted 

This afternoon the federal government announced that the travel restriction exemption for TFWs is now in place. Specific protocols that workers and employers will need to follow have not yet been released. We expect these to come shortly.

Provincial requirements are still in the process of being developed but will follow principles outlined on the BC Centre for Disease Control’s website.

Like all travelers, including Canadian citizens and permanent residents, temporary foreign workers who enter Canada by air or land will undergo the necessary health checks and must isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Canada. Employers are responsible to ensure proper isolation protocols are followed. For information on travelers arriving in British Columbia from outside of Canada, click here.

BCAC/WALI is in communication with the government of Mexico and Jamaica to determine if local travel protocols are ready for SAWP workers, and to confirm which workers are available to travel on short notice.

We hope to provide more details tomorrow, or as soon as more information is available.

View details of today’s federal announcement here.

NOTE DEADLINE CHANGE: Urgent Actions Required 

Nursery growers are reporting delayed and cancelled orders, which is going to severely impact cashflow this Spring and inventory levels over the next year. Nursery growers are strongly urged to apply for AgriStability NOW! Application Deadline now April 30, 2020

Contact numbers for the Business Risk Management Branch, BC Ministry of Agriculture.

For full details refer to last week’s Friday File or Retail Ready or the Urgent Notice for Growers and Retailers issued March 25th.

Applying for AgriStability? 

Assistance is available to help you through the process.

ScotiaBank is the prime lender to ACC Financial and the APP Program guaranteed by AgCanada.

Kimberly Ross, of Abbotsford ScotiaBank, has agreed to take BCLNA member calls if you would like assistance getting through the application process with AgriStability or an APP loan.

Kimberly Ross[email protected]  
Senior Client Relationship Manager  
ScotiaBankAbbotsford

Thank you to BCLNA treasurer Brent Mooney for arranging for this assistance.

From FCC

Special Edition: COVID-19 and your farm

This is an unsettling time as the world grapples with the health and economic impacts of COVID‑19. As you work to prioritize the health and well-being of your families, farms and businesses, please know that FCC is here for you.

Read more.

2 Major Banks offering Deferrals and Assistance in BC

(Note: Diane Murphy of BMO indicated that this information would apply to landscapers and garden retailers as well as nursery growers.  Check with your own bank to see what assistance is available)

From Diane Murphy, VP Business Banking, Agriculture Markets, BMO

We wanted to reach out and give you a sense of BMO’s recently announced COVID support program, which includes support for our agriculture clients.

A streamlined approach to approve COVID-19 relief for qualifying clients is available as follows:

• Principal payment deferral for up to 6 months

• Small Business Borrowers – up to 25% temporary increase on existing unmargined operating/working capital loans for a period of up to 6 months

• Business Banking Borrowers – up to 10% temporary increase on existing unmargined operating/working capital loans for a period of up to 6 months We understand that 6 months of deferral may not be adequate for annual crops; however, it should be noted that this gives us the required capacity to follow-up with a tailored solution for our clients through our usual credit approval process.

Our Agriculture Managers are reaching out to your Teams, and our Relationship Managers are reaching out to our clients in the landscape nursery industry, as we try to understand potential impacts to the industry and prioritize our client’s needs.  Please let us know if you have any recently identified industry concerns so that we can ensure that they are considered in the prioritization process.

Please let us know if there is anything BMO can do to further support your Team or our local producers.

From Melanie J Lantz BSc.Ag P.Ag | VP Agriculture & Agribusiness | RBC

Like all of the major financial institutions in the marketplace, we have deployed our staff and all of our resources throughout the Bank to work closely with our personal and business clients to help support them through this volatile and challenging time. Please follow this link  to access our COVID-19 Home page – How RBC is Helping clients. It is a live page with a multitude of resources ranging from Branch closures, Business and personal contact numbers, and most importantly for your members, they can locate information on the Business Relief program we have implemented.

It has been the primary focus for all of our Small Business and Commercial Account Managers to reach out to our clients these past two weeks either by phone or email. If your members have not been contacted or are not aligned with an Account Manager, please ask them to follow one of the links I’ve added above to obtain more information, call 1-800- ROYAL-20, or even give me a call. I am happy to learn more about who they are, what they need, and who I can connect them with to assist.

govt of canada

Government of Canada Increases Wage Subsidy 

March 27, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a major increase to the wage subsidy for small- and medium-sized businesses, boosting it to 75 per cent, up from the 10 per cent previously promised, backdated to March 15

The federal government is launching a special emergency business account for small businesses that will see banks offer $40,000 government-guaranteed loans interest-free for the first year. If certain conditions are met, the first $10,000 will be forgiven.

As well, an additional $12.5 billion is being made available through federal programs, to help with “operational cash flow requirements,” and HST and GST payments are being deferred until June,

ON March 27 the Government of Canada had not posted information on their website.  This information was taken from CTV News.  More information is available here.

March 30,2020  update from the Government of Canada website

Providing small business with wage subsidies

“We announced an up to 75 per cent wage subsidy for qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. This will help businesses to keep and return workers to the payroll.

More details on eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales, and will be shared before the end of the month.”

WorkSafeBC Logo

WorkSafeBC is postponing the payment deadline for Q1 2020

In light of the uncertainty and challenges many employers are facing during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak WorkSafeBC announced a postponed deadline for payment for Q1 2020.  Details are available on the WorkSafeBC website.

Links Shared by Affiliates

Throughout the industry organizations are working hard for their members and sharing the results of their work.  Below are some of the resources put together by provincial and state associations and affiliated organizations.

AgSafe: Emergency Planning Resources

BCAC: COVID-19 Update

California Landscape Contractors Association: COVID-19 Information for Green Industry Professionals

CNLA: CAP Programs for Garden Centre Retailers

Landscape Ontario: LO COVID-19 Resource Hub

NALP: Financial Strategies for Dealing with COVID-19

Ohio Landscape Association: Regarding COVID-19

Vertical Bridge HR: Special Bulletin Update Managing COVID 19 in the Workplace

Webinars

HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR CONTRACTING BUSINESS THROUGH A CORONA VIRUS ECONOMY

Presented by Danny Kerr, Break Though Academy

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Time: 11:00 a, PDT

Free

Register here

Strategic Planning for the COVID Economy 

Presented by Warren Coughlin

Previously recorded and available here.

How to Survive the COVID-19 Downturn

Presented by Kevin Kehoe

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Time: 10 am PDT

Free

Register here