NEW Pacific Blue Cross Travel Insurance Program

The BC Chamber of Commerce is delighted to establish a long-term partnership with Pacific Blue Cross, a trusted provider of emergency medical and trip protection insurance coverage around the world, to provide comprehensive, competitively priced travel insurance for employers, their employees and immediate family members.

Benefit for EMPLOYERS:

·    Boost the benefits package you offer to potential and existing employees, and help you attract and retain the star performers you need.

·    Complement any existing benefit plan coverage and provide extra protection where needed.

·    Provide an exclusive discount that will allow you to save money on travel insurance needs.

Looking for more information? View the Employer Flyer here.

Benefit for EMPLOYEES:

·    The most coverage on health conditions, so that you and your immediate family members can relax and enjoy your vacation time.

·    Trip protection options for cancellations, interruptions, delays or baggage issues.

·    An exclusive discount that will allow you to save money on travel insurance needs.

Looking for more information? View the Employee Flyer here.

Curious? Click here to get your exclusive BC Chamber of Commerce discount code and to learn more. Healthy travels!

Click here to access the Member Savings Program and exclusive discounts available to you. 

Questions? Please connect with Melissa Pace, Director, Member Experience at mpace@bcchamber.org!

1). Reminder: Critical Minerals Infrastructure Program

A webinar was scheduled last week from this funder, to review the current call for proposals. I have attached a PowerPoint deck from this session, as well as useful links for your review.
Note this fund has an accelerated timeframe. For this first call for proposals, applications will be accepted until February 29, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Who can apply

  • Legal entities validly incorporated or registered in Canada, including for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as companies and industry associations
  • Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and related organizations, including:
    • provincial Crown corporations
    • public utilities
    • ports established under a provincial or territorial statute or regulation
  • Indigenous groups, including:
    • Indigenous communities or governments
    • tribal councils or entities that fulfill a similar function (e.g., general council)
    • national and regional Indigenous councils and tribal organizations
    • Indigenous (majority-owned and -controlled by Indigenous Peoples) for-profit and not-for-profit organizations

Useful Links:

2).  Reminder: Upcoming intake for the First Nations Clean Energy for Business Fund

This fund has an intake opening in April.

The First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF) promotes increased Indigenous community participation in the clean energy sector within their asserted traditional territories and treaty areas.

Fund eligibility criteria restricts applicants to Indigenous communities in British Columbia falling into one of the following categories:

  • A First Nation “band” as defined by the Indian Act (Canada);
  • An Indigenous governing body, however organized and established by Indigenous peoples.
  • In addition, the proposed project must be located in British Columbia.

If you have an enquiries regarding this fund, the following contact as well as general inbox can assist you.


See link for more information: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-nations/first-nations-clean-energy-business-fund

3). Community Opportunity Readiness Program

The first intake for the CORP program opens March 1, 2024.  All funding is on-going until funds are exhausted.

The CORP provides project-based funding for First Nation and Inuit Communities for a range of activities to support communities' pursuit of economic opportunities. Where First Nation and Inuit communities, or their representative organizations, identify opportunities and lack the financial resources to pursue them, the CORP will allow them to submit proposals to seek additional funding.

The CORP is expected to increase economic development by providing proposal based financial support to First Nation and Inuit Communities to assist in their pursuit of, and participation in, economic opportunities. Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) assesses proposals based on their immediate or future ability to attract private sector funding and on their community economic impacts, and supports projects that will leverage the most from other funding sources, including the private sector, and that will have the greatest impact on their community.

Eligible recipients are:

  • First Nation and Inuit communities and their governments, including Tribal Councils
  • organizations and associations controlled by First Nation and Inuit communities, except for those with charitable or religious purposes
  • Non-Indigenous organizations and associations, except for those with charitable or religious purposes, who plan to provide economic development services for the benefit of First Nation and Inuit communities
  • The Province of Ontario, in relation to the Canada-Ontario Resource Development Agreement
  • The Minister may, in exceptional circumstances, make contributions with respect to Indigenous business development to other recipients for projects having a significant impact on First Nation and Inuit Business Development

Any non-Indigenous organization or association seeking financial assistance under the CORP will require approval from the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board (NAEBD) prior to ISC project approval.
For any program enquiries please contact the following:

Liam Aylen

Economic Development Officer, Lands and Economic Development, 🍁 BC Region
liam.aylen@sac-isc.gc.ca | Cel: 236-335-2941

See the program link for more information: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1100100033417/1613659339457

4). Reminder: Northern Development Initiative Trust

The NDIT’s Community Development Suite of programs are accepting applications until January 31st, 2024.
Check out their website for further information regarding these programs.

See the following links:

Eligible applicants: Local Governments, Registered First Nations Bands, Registered Not-for-Profits & Wholly Owned First Nation Development Corporations.

HAVE YOU APPLIED YET?! 
Please make sure to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

The LNG Canada Business Strengthening Rebate Program will provide small and medium-sized local and Indigenous businesses engaged in the provision of goods and services with a rebate of up to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum of $25,000 CAD towards business improvement projects including consulting services, software/system upgrades, and employee training. For more information download the information sheet attached including the application and budget worksheet.

 
SBBC is ready to fuel your business goals in 2024. Whether you’re launching or elevating your business, let's make this year a success together.

Explore our January business education, or sign up free for the first Build. Grow. Thrive. event of the year on Thursday, February 8, at the Victoria Conference Centre. Explore  

  
New Year, New Business? 
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to start a business in 2024? SBBC is here to help! Start with our dedicated Starting a Business page and access practical resources and valuable support.

We’re also thrilled to announce an exciting giveaway. You could win a free Business Plan Consulting and Review Service. All you need to do is enter our Instagram contest - good luck! Start Here  

  
Apply for the Workplace Accessibility Grant 
Is your business accessible to those with a disability? Get started on creating an inclusive work environment with direct funding from the Workplace Accessibility Grant.

Eligible businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000. These funds cover expenses related to approved projects aimed at improving workplace accessibility. Learn More  

  
We get it: too many inboxes, too little time. The good news: Thryv’s Command Center is here to help you put all your social, text, phone and email into one tidy inbox and comes with a free business phone number. What’s not to like? Use Command Center for Free
 On Our Radar

Event Details

Recognizing the increased costs to businesses due to property crime and vandalism in rural and urban communities across the province, the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation has launched its $10.5 million Securing Small Business Rebate Program, which will provide small businesses with funds for eligible commercial property crime and vandalism repairs, or to implement eligible preventative measures.

The BC Chamber of Commerce will administer the rebate program and leverage its provincial network of 100 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and its myriad industry partners, including Business Improvement Areas, to ensure businesses from every sector and region of the province are aware of the rebate.

Applications in respect of repairs and preventative measures undertaken in the period January 1, 2023-December 31, 2023, must be received by February 29, 2024.

Interested in making a rebate application? Join us on January 18, 11.00am-12.00pm, for a "How to Apply for a Rebate" webinar, designed to help small businesses prepare and submit a rebate application.

Agenda:

  • Overview of the program, including:
  • Types of rebate
  • Eligible expenses
  • Applicant criteria
  • How to prepare to make an application
  • How to submit an application via the online portal
  • Review of helpful resources
  • Questions/Answers

Read more: Securing Small Business Rebate Program

The BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund (MJF) will help manufacturing companies modernize, innovate, and grow by providing funding for capital projects in all regions in B.C., particularly in communities affected by economic impacts or downturns. 

The program welcomes applications from all manufacturing sectors. There will be a particular focus on helping the forestry sector retrofit and develop new, sustainable value-added business lines that reduce dependency on old growth logging and make innovative use of biomaterials.

Program Overview

This program reflects the Province's ongoing commitment to promote economic diversification and complements other supports for forestry workers and rural communities

MJF will invest up to $180 million in manufacturing projects throughout B.C.

The program will begin accepting proposals on February 28, 2023 and will remain open to proposals for approximately two years, or until all funds are allocated. 

Program Goals:

  • Invest in high-value, high-growth manufacturing sectors
  • Contribute to clean, inclusive growth and economic resilience and diversification, particularly in regional and Indigenous communities  
  • Support innovation and sustainability in the forestry value-added sector
  • Create and maintain long-term well-paying jobs
  • Help companies leverage other funding sources and bring investment into B.C. 
  • Boost productivity, strengthen supply chains and drive competitiveness in domestic and international markets

The Program Guide provides additional information about the program and application process. 

Read more: BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund

The 2023-24 REDIP intake was open from July 4, 2023 to October 30, 2023. Applications were accepted until October 30, 2023 at 11:59 PM PST.

The 2024-25 REDIP intake will run from July – October 2024.

To stay up to date on the program, please subscribe to receive email updates (see sidebar).

Program Details

The Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP) is a new grant launched by the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation (JEDI).

The Government of B.C. is investing up to $33 million this year to create the Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program, which will support projects that promote the following:

  • Economic diversification
  • Resilience
  • Clean growth opportunities
  • Infrastructure development

For full program details, including funding categories, eligibility, project types and timelines, please refer to the REDIP Program Guide.

Read more: Rural Economic Diversification and Infrastructure Program (REDIP)

Calling all employers! Young people (aged 15-30) with disabilities want to work, yet they remain an under-utilized part of the labour force.

In 2022, Can Assist at the University of Victoria issued a survey to 463 young people with disabilities from across BC. Respondents shared that the top barriers they faced during their job search were:

* Being intimidated by the job search process; and
* Not having enough information in a job posting to understand if an employer would accommodate their needs, or if the workplace is inclusive to people with disabilities.

CanAssist is developing resources, specifically for employers, to help them address the barriers and tap into this large pool of eager job seekers. CanAssist needs employers’ help to determine which resources would be most valuable.

At the BC Chamber of Commerce, we strongly advocate for creating a more inclusive workplace. Please join us and take 3-5 minutes to complete this 10-question survey that runs from November 27, 2023, to December 8, 2023, at 4.00pm (PT).  Take the survey (3-5 mins)

Regards,
The BC Chamber of Commerce Team

The BC Chamber of Commerce is grateful to operate on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Policy experts from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have reviewed the 2023 Fall Economic Statement (FES). Their perspective on its implications for Canadian business can be found below.

On November 21, 2023, the Government of Canada released its 2023 Fall Economic Statement (FES).

Policy experts from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce have reviewed the FES in detail, and their perspective on its implications for Canadian business can be found below.

General

Today’s Fall Economic Statement (FES) signals that the government heard the business community on issues such as addressing our housing needs and the importance of ensuring workers can work in any community where and when their skills are needed most. We all agree on the need for measures that will help build our homes, support businesses in finding the right talent, and ease the burden of doing business in Canada.

But more needs to be done, and Canada needs to move quickly. We applaud the intent of the government’s “delivery timeline” for investment tax credits for major decarbonization projects, but time has already been lost. We need to see carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects moving ahead, and the government still needs to deliver on the plans it first announced in 2021 and in subsequent Budgets and statements. Business urgently needs to be able to work with government to invest jointly in these projects so we can fuel green economic growth, achieve our net-zero ambitions, and catalyze the private sector investment that will help pay for the services and social programs Canadians need.

There were also some concerning developments – including that the speed with which the Government is trying to push through changes to our competition laws does not leave enough time to predict or understand their full effects. If enacted, these changes to the Competition Act would apply to all Canadian businesses and could have significant unintended consequences, including reduced investment and the punishing of pro-competitive business conduct. We’re calling for the government to consult meaningfully with stakeholders on the proposed changes to the Competition Act.

Canada still urgently needs a plan for growth. Next year’s budget must address a number of key measures that weren’t included in the Fall Economic Statement or the 2023 budget, including long overdue measures to modernize the tax and regulatory system, investments in trade-enabling infrastructure that will strengthen supply chains, and initiatives to foster an innovative economy, maintain our leadership in Artificial Intelligence, ensure widespread adoption of cybersecurity, and advance digital health.Matthew Holmes, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Housing

The focus on housing in today’s Fall Economic Statement is welcome, as our economic future depends on Canadians having a home they can afford. Leveraging federal infrastructure funding to tackle regional barriers, while speeding up approvals, making more financing available, and addressing labour shortages will help create much-needed housing supply. We hope to see more ambition and bold action in the months to come.Pascal Chan, Senior Director, Transportation, Infrastructure & Construction

Investment Tax Credits 

We are delighted to see that legislation will be introduced this fall for the implementation of the Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage Investment Tax Credit (CCUS Tax Credit) and the Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit (CTI Tax Credit). These crucial incentives are essential for stimulating investments in decarbonization, facilitating the transition to low-carbon energy across all sectors of the economy, and aiding Canada in achieving its ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. However, despite a head start, Canada now finds itself trailing behind the United States and other jurisdictions in incentivizing clean technology and energy initiatives. It is imperative that the government swiftly introduces and passes legislation for the remaining three Investment Tax Credit (ITC) Programs. This proactive approach is necessary to prevent Canada from further lagging in the global competition for capital and investments in pivotal decarbonization projects.Bryan N. Detchou, Senior Director, Natural Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Competition Policy

We are concerned that the speed with which the Government is trying to push through changes to our competition laws in Bill C-56 does not leave enough time for stakeholders to adequately evaluate and understand their effects. If enacted, these changes to the Competition Act, which applies to all Canadian businesses, could have significant unintended consequences, such as reduced investment and the punishing of pro-competitive business conduct. It is critical that the government properly consult with stakeholders on all proposed changes to the Competition Act.Liam MacDonald, Policy Advisor

Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program

Recognizing that the journey toward achieving net-zero emissions is inextricably linked to Indigenous rights and participation, we welcome the government’s initiative to launch a new Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program. By fostering financial independence, these funds will amplify opportunities for Indigenous communities to engage, invest, and benefit from various commercial projects. As the program’s final intricacies take shape ahead of Budget 2024, we strongly advocate for its coverage across a spectrum of business opportunities, encompassing sectors such as mining, oil, and natural gas. This approach ensures that the benefits of economic empowerment extend broadly, fostering sustainable development and growth within Indigenous communities. Bryan N. Detchou, Senior Director, Natural Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Carbon Contracts for Difference

We are delighted to gain additional insights into the issuance of Carbon Contracts for Difference (CCfDs), a pivotal initiative that holds the potential to drive Canada’s transition towards a more sustainable energy sector. CCfDs play a crucial role in facilitating the decarbonization process by mitigating risks associated with climate investments, providing investors with the assurance of a stable future price for carbon credits. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce applauds this forward-thinking approach, recognizing it as a strategic solution that harmonizes economic growth with a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship. Bryan N. Detchou, Senior Director, Natural Resources, Environment and Sustainability

Supply Chains

A positive step has been taken by the federal government in the Fall Economic Statement to consider reciprocity to protect our supply chains with our allies. However, our supply chains remain fragile due to lingering effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing geopolitical challenges, and recent strikes. The federal government needs to introduce more robust measures to build new trade infrastructure, create new business investment, and help Canadian businesses navigate uncertain economic times.Alex Greco, Senior Director, Manufacturing & Value Chains

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In the coming months, we hope to see the government further engage firms operating in Canada to help leverage the great potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase productivity and compete on the global stage. There is a great need for further investment in the adoption and commercialization of AI in the marketplace to strengthen Canada’s economy in a time of fierce international competition.Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Senior Director, Digital Economy, Technology & Innovation

Digital Services Tax

We remain deeply troubled by the move towards a unilateral and discriminatory digital services tax. This decision contradicts the majority stance of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework and may breach Canada’s commitments under the USMCA and WTO. The proposed tax, targeting U.S. companies, has sparked bipartisan calls for retaliation in Congress and warnings from the Biden administration. The Chamber urges Canada to reverse its course, abandon unilateral actions, and re-engage in the OECD/G20-led multilateral process, including the extended DST moratorium.Alex Gray, Senior Director, Fiscal and Financial Services Policy

Innovation/Research and Development

In recent years, the federal government has taken some steps to address gaps that exist in research and innovation. However, the Fall Economic Statement did not offer new details to reform research and development (R&D) programs and introduce new measures to help companies innovate and commercialize made-in-Canada products. Canada’s business community needs access to capital and reforms in R&D programs so that companies can invest in advanced technologies to improve productivity within their business operations.Alex Greco, Senior Director, Manufacturing & Value Chains

Agriculture

The government needs to take action to support the agri-food sector, which is a key driver of Canada’s economic growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, the Fall Economic Statement does not include any much-needed progress on key files such as the Sustainable Agriculture Strategy, regulatory modernization, or the Grain Act Review. Properly investing in Canadian agriculture is a value-adding investment that can grow the economy.Liam MacDonald, Policy Advisor

Labour

We are pleased to see the inclusion of the commitment to further remove barriers to internal labour mobility. Particularly, in sectors that face persistent labour supply challenges such as construction and healthcare. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for a number of years for increased collaboration with provinces and territories to foster flexible labour markets and policies easing potential barriers to mobility.Diana Palmerin-Velasco, Senior Director, Future of Work

International

Noteworthy is the absence of commitments related to Canada’s international engagements, such as those related to global trade measures or national defense. For example, Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy isn’t mentioned. Additionally, in the current international context of heightened geopolitical tensions and threats, the absence of concrete measures to help Canadian businesses and our economy withstand global shocks is somewhat surprising.Gaphel Kongtsa, Director, International Policy 

Read More: 2023 fall economic statement – our policy experts’ insights. Canadian Chamber of Commerce. (2023, November 28). https://chamber.ca/news/2023-fall-economic-statement-our-policy-experts-insights/

 Application portal now open! image 
To provide small businesses with funds for eligible commercial property crime and vandalism repairs, or to implement eligible preventative measures, the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation has launched its $10.5 million Securing Small Business Rebate Program.
 
The BC Chamber of Commerce will administer the rebate program and leverage its provincial network of 100 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and its myriad industry partners, including Business Improvement Areas, to ensure businesses from every sector and region of the province are aware of, and can apply for the rebate.
 
Rebate details:
There are two types of rebates, each retroactive to January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2024.
·    Reparative - Provides relief for costs not covered by insurance or the insurance deductibles for those costs. Available as a one-time rebate of up to $2,000 for each of 2023 and 2024.
·    Preventative - Provides relief for costs incurred to prevent damage to commercial property. Available as a one-time rebate of up to $1,000 for either 2023 or 2024.
Timeline:
The application portal is now open and will remain open until January 31, 2025.
 
For more details and to access the application portal, please visit the program webpage here. If you have questions, please contact the BC Chamber of Commerce at ssbr@bcchamber.org
 
Regards,
The BC Chamber of Commerce Team
 
The BC Chamber of Commerce gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation.

Read more: https://bcchamber.org/securing-small-business-rebate
phone-handsetcrossmenu