Latest on COVID-19

Keep up-to-date on the latest information and resources.



Taken from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Vaccine Resource Hub:

As employers and providers of goods and services to the general public, businesses have a critical role to play in getting Canadians vaccinated, which will ultimately create the conditions for the relaxation of public health restrictions currently in place.

Given the overwhelming volume of information available on vaccines, this resource hub provides companies of all sizes with a single focal point for the information they need to know as employers and the resources they can use to reassure and encourage their employees to get vaccinated.

Vaccines are very safe, but as with all medicines, there is the potential for side effects after administration. Possible side effects for COVID-19 vaccines are very minor and may include redness, soreness or swelling on the arm that received the shot, tiredness, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills and mild fever.

Read more about vaccine safety and possible side effects.

There are active ways employers can help their workforce get vaccinated since it is ultimately the collection of individual and company-level decisions that make a difference. Depending on your company’s financial capacity, there are several practical things your company can do to help your employees get vaccinated:

  • Offer paid time off to any employee to get vaccinated. Potentially as much as four to six hours depending where vaccine clinics are located.
  • Provide a transportation voucher (i.e. Uber/Lyft gift card, bus pass) to help cover your employees’ transportation costs to and from a vaccine site.
  • Reimburse the employees’ childcare expenses during their vaccine appointments up to a certain amount.
  • Offer internet access or language support services to help employees schedule their appointment when it becomes available.
  • Provide information to your employees on the local public health or provincial vaccine timelines via email or printouts on a staff board in a common area.
  • Offer paid leave of one to two days if needed after vaccination.

Companies should also start thinking about how to appropriately collect vaccine KPIs amongst their workforce while respecting the privacy of their employees. One option could be undertaking voluntary surveys to understand whether their workforce has received one or two doses of the vaccine, if they intend to receive the vaccine or if they prefer to not disclose.

It is also critical to manage expectations for those who get vaccinated with their first or second dose. You should ensure your employees can expect public health guidance to continue to focus on handwashing, masks and physical distancing. This will help manage expectations and reduce any issues with workplace tension between those who are vaccinated and those who are not.

Whether by staff meetings, emails or casual 1:1 conversations, employers have countless touchpoints every day to speak with their employees about vaccines. The choice to get vaccinated is ultimately with the individual, but the conversations you have will affect not only your employees but also the information they share with their friends and family about vaccines.

These are the top tips for talking to your employees, which have been adapted from the Health Action Alliance:

  • Listening Is Key: You need to have a conversation with your staff rather than a debate. Their decision to get vaccinated is theirs to make, which should always be acknowledged. Focus on being inviting and respectful and encourage them to look at information from respected sources.
  • Lead with Empathy: It is important to acknowledge people’s concerns given it has been a difficult time for Canadians during the pandemic. It is okay for people — even you — to have questions about vaccines given the rate at which news changes and the wide number of voices in media and social media. Do not be condescending. Instead, support your staff taking time off for their vaccination or helping their family members.
  • Facts about Safety Matter: Speak in plain language with people. Provide facts from reputable sources but don’t make up what you don’t know or use information from unreputable sources, particularly on social media. You also cannot provide medical advice to people’s unique health circumstances.
  • Be Authentic: Share why you have decided to get vaccinated and why it is important for you and your family.

To download a one-page Talking to Your Employees about Vaccines Guide, click here.

Doing Business Safely

Fraser Health – Resources for Businesses 

Click on the link above for all of the updated information regarding changes to business practices and operation in the Fraser Health Region. There are also resources available for print and in a variety of different languages.


New Federal Government Support – November 2020

The measures adopted as part of the Federal Government’s Bill C-9 are:

1. The New Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy: to provide direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020.

The new Lockdown Support, which will provide an additional 25% through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.

The government also reaffirms its intention to introduce legislation to formalize rent payable as an eligible expense, for purposes of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, as of September 27, 2020.  Qualifying organizations will be able to take advantage of the rent subsidy on this basis as soon as the application portal is launched.

2. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Extension until June 2021: to help protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire workers. The wage subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.

3. Update on the Canada-US Border:
Border measures extended until December 21st.


5. For any questions, contact:
YOUR BUSINESS SUPPORT TEAM: For assistance at any time, please reach out to your choice of a Surrey Board of Trade Team member below:
Anita Huberman, CEO –
Indra Bhan, COO – (speaks Hindi)
Moiez Babar, Business Development & Member Relations – (speaks Hindi)
Jasroop Gosal, Policy Coordinator –   (speaks Punjabi)
John Lim, Business Development Coordinator – (speaks Korean)
Melissa Peel, Business & International Trade Manager – (speaks French)
Heather Booth, Events & Communications Manager –
Rhona Doria, Events & Sponsorship Coordinator – (speaks Tagalog)
Mirdula Babu, Administrative Specialist – (speaks Hindi)

Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grants – October 2020

The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program will invest up to $300 million in targeted financial support for some of the hardest hit businesses in B.C. that employ between two and 149 B.C. residents and have experienced declines in revenue since March 10, 2020. Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available. An additional $5,000 to $10,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses that have been hit especially hard by COVID-19. The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

The program happens in 5 steps:

Step 1: Businesses apply for funding and provide information to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Step 2: A business that meets the eligibility criteria is matched with a professional services provider who will help develop a recovery plan or assess the business’s current plan (a value up to $2,000 in professional services, in addition to the grant amount).

Step 3: Once a recovery plan is developed, submitted and approved, funding is provided to the business to implement the actions outlined in their recovery plan.

Step 4: Businesses must provide regular updates that account for the spending and status of their recovery efforts supported by the grant funding.

Step 5: All businesses must agree to participate in a third-party audit at the end of the program.


BC’s Restart Plan and Go Forward Strategy – ON PAUSE (November 18th, 2020)

Preparing Your Business for a COVID-19 Outbreak

The Fleetwood BIA has created the following document as guide for what you can do if someone in your place of business contracts the COVID-19 virus, and how you can minimize the risk of spread, as well as proactive measures to further protect yourself and your employees.

Preparing Your Business for a COVID-19 Outbreak PDF

Click on the photos to enlarge. 

Support from the City of Surrey

Visit the Invest Surrey website to get the latest up-to-date information on COVID-19 and how it relates to your community and business.

Employment Insurance

Due to the impact on our local businesses, many employees are seeing decreased hours, and in some cases are being layed off. As business owners, it is imperative to provide the necessary resources to employees who are directly affected by COVID-19. See below a link to the Government of Canada website.


For more information on support initiatives for Surrey businesses, visit

Continue to check back with us for the latest updates. Please contact us for any further questions, or for direct support that you may need.

Click the photo below to enlarge.

Click the photo below to enlarge.