Chamber Newsletter / COVID-19 Update from April 17, 2020

Digital Economy Response Program (DER3)

By programs
Digital Economy Response Program (DER3)
If you are a small-medium sized business that is considering entering or expanding in the digital economy then this is the place for you.
Is your business closed or running at below normal capacity? Do you have alternative sales or other income that will help you weather this crisis? Are you currently doing business online, or would you like to do more? Is it time to consider a pivot or change to your business model? Let’s get to work!

The Digital Economy Response Program (DER3) is a free service supported by Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) and powered by Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA). The program is open to individuals or businesses living or working on Vancouver Island, north of the Malahat, on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 offers one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions. Please review the steps below and contact us with any questions.

  1. To make this work we need to learn more about you and your business; please complete this form.
    • All information collected will be considered strictly confidential and all program participants will be asked to acknowledge our privacy policy.
  2. After a review of your information one of our program managers will assess your business needs.
    • We will contact everyone who applies to the program to gain personal insights on specific challenges, requirements or opportunities and to assess various digital readiness factors.
    • We will provide various “how-to” solutions for challenges that can be solved quickly and for more in-depth requirements we will work with our Subject Matter Experts to provide businesses with a tailored Business Action Plan (BAP) on how to address the needs or challenges presented.
    • When needed we will match you with business/digital service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.
  3. After business action plans have been put to work program managers will conduct follow-up meetings to ensure that core objectives are in process, or have been realized.
    • Program participants will be required to report key metrics that will be used in aggregate to determine regional outcomes and overall efficacy of DER3.


#CowichanStrong COVID-19 Business Funding Resource!

By Resources

#CowichanStrong COVID-19 Business Resource Website is Now Live!

Cowichan businesses now have a new resource tool to support them in this time of economic crisis.

The #cowichanstrong initiative provides a one-stop source for the Cowichan business community to respond, adapt, and recover from COVID-19.

For the initial launch, Economic Development Cowichan has partnered with Community Futures Cowichan and the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce and your Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce has reached out and offered our assistance in any way that we can help.

Phase one of the website will act as a “toolkit” of emerging supports for business owners and entrepreneurs.  As we build our partners for this initiative and learn more about the challenges businesses are facing, we will shift our focus to provide valuable resources to support economic recovery, adaptation, and resilience in Cowichan.

Small businesses and entrepreneurs form the core of Cowichan’s economy.  These range from storefront businesses, manufacturing industries, agricultural, professional services and so much more.  If you operate a business or are self-employed, #cowichanstrong is here for you.

To learn more visit and subscribe for updates and participate in the ongoing dialogue.

To keep businesses informed and up-to-date Economic Development Cowichan has also compiled a Business Resource Directory with essential links here.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is actively monitoring the status of COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and will continue to take appropriate precautions as necessary.  For up-to-date information and resources please visit CVRD COVID-19 Reference Guide.

Please note links and information are changing frequently.  Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.

Qualifying for the 75% Wage Subsidy Clarification, Dividend Income is Okay for CERB Qualifying and $40k Loan Applications Available

By Resources, Uncategorized
Hi everyone,
Further to my email on the 75% wage subsidy program AKA Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”):
  • Government has reduced it’s threshold of a decrease in revenue for March 2020 compared to March 2019 to 15% to qualify for the CEWS (April and May remain at 30%).
  • There is an additional amount that can be claimed for the employer’s portion of the contribution for EI and CPP.
  • Businesses will also be able to compare their sales to the same month as last year or to January and February of 2020 for qualifying.
  • You must apply through the “My Business Account” portal with Canada Revenue Agency, if you do not have yours set up you should start this process today.
Note that the 10% wage subsidy originally announced is still available for those companies who do not qualify or do not want to apply for the CEWS.  Information regarding this program can be found here:
An excel spreadsheet to assist you with calculating this benefit was previously emailed out, if you would like it resent, please let me know.
Dividend Income Can Help Qualify you for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit ($2,000 per month benefit):
The government has also confirmed that dividends were acceptable income towards the $5,000 of income earned in 2019 to qualify for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”).  The dividends need to be non-eligible and from a Canadian Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC).  This is good news and we have been waiting for this clarification.  The CERB is the $2,000 per month benefit that individuals can apply for.  Each business owner should walk through that various scenario’s to determine if the CEWS or the CERB is better for them.
It appears that both the CERB and the 10% wage subsidy have the ability to be paid back or deducted from proceeds of the CEWS should a business owner determine that they need to change their strategy at a later date.  This is good news in these changing times, it means that if you have already applied for a previously announced benefit and later determine that the CEWS best suits your business you can still move to it with a reduction for monies already received under other programs.
$40K Small Business Loan Applications:
Finally, applications started last week for the $40,000 interest free (until Dec 31, 2021) small business loan.  In order to qualify, you need to have payroll between $50k to $1M.  You can contract your business bank for the application process.
I have been in contact with our local Member of Parliament (Paul Manley) in my position as President of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce to address some of the shortfalls that I have seen in the benefits being offered.  One was the wages versus dividends for the CERB and he had already identified that shortfall and brought it to the attention of the government and that clarification was provided qualifying those paying themselves dividends rather than wages. I have also reached out to him with regards to the $40,000 loan requiring $50,000 of wages minimum before a company will qualify.  Many of the small proprietorships and partnerships will not qualify for this loan and they among businesses who need it as much as any other.  I have not heard back to date but expect a response after the Easter weekend.  If there are any other shortfalls or concerns you have please let me know and I can bring them to his attention.
BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS) Program
For anyone interested in the Provincial rental supplement (“BC-TRS”) the application portal is now open and available here:
There are income limits within in the program as well as a requirement that at least 30% of the household income is paid towards rent each month, amongst other criteria.  It appears to be a very worthwhile program should you or someone you know qualify.
Still to come, provincially, is the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers which will be available to persons receiving EI or CERB, more details are still to come. See here for information available to date and to subscribe for notifications:
Stay tuned to learn more acronyms courtesy of your federal and provincial government.
Take care and stay safe,
Tammy Leslie, CPA, CGA, CA
Palmer Leslie, Chartered Professional Accountants

A Message from Chamber President Tammy Leslie and MP Paul Manly

Chamber Newsletter / COVID-19 Update, April 06

Introducing the COVID-19 Relief Fund for small businesses