Updates and links from the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI), March 26

Employment Income and COVID-19

The outbreak of a novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is affecting Canadians in unprecedented ways. With the Government of BC declaring both a public health emergency and a  provincial state of emergency [https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0017-000511], our society and economy are experiencing dramatic shifts. As  businesses are reducing their services and closing their doors [https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/localcovid19/?region=BC] to help reduce the spread of the virus, many worker’s livelihoods are at risk.  Employment Insurance (EI) [https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html] is one of the tools the federal government is using to  support workers affected by COVID-19 [https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/corporate/notices/coronavirus.html].

Employment Insurance is an indicator tracked through the State of the Basin initiative to monitor well-being. When individuals lose their jobs through no fault of their own, such as a shortage of work or lay-offs, EI is one of the benefits available. The number of EI beneficiaries in a community or region can indicate differing economic opportunities and challenges. As there are a number of reasons a person may access income assistance programs, this indicator should not be viewed in isolation, but rather in consideration of other labour, economic, and social circumstances.  EI data [https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410032301] is available from Statistics Canada at the regional district level on a monthly basis. The following analysis includes data over one year, from 2018 to 2019.

The general trend in the number of EI beneficiaries across the Columbia Basin-Boundary region is an overall decrease of 0.1% from 2018 to 2019. As illustrated in the graph below, the Regional Districts of East Kootenay, Kootenay Boundary, Columbia-Shuswap, and Fraser-Fort George all experienced decreases in EI beneficiaries during this time, with some of these decreases being very minor. Central Kootenay is the only Regional District to experience an increase in EI beneficiaries from 2018 to 2019 of 3.6%, or 640 people. The relative stability in the number of EI recipients in Kootenay regional districts between 2018 and 2019 reflects  the same stability seen in other labour market indicators [https://www.central1.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ECON_EA_BC_202001.pdf] such as total employment and the unemployment rate. Economists have observed that while certain industries have experienced sizeable shifts over the past two years, the overall Kootenay labour market held steady due to  the re-distribution of jobs among sectors [https://www.bccpa.ca/news-events-publications/government-relations/regional-check-up/kootenay/].

On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Prime Minister Trudeau declared a  federal economic response plan [https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/canadas-covid-19-economic-response-plan-support-for-canadians-and-businesses.html] to support Canadians impacted by COVID-19, including measures to streamline EI claim processes and increase availability of funds. This has been passed through parliament as the  new Canada Emergency Response Benefit [https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2020/03/introduces-canada-emergency-response-benefit-to-help-workers-and-businesses.html] that expands the eligibility of EI and will be available to Canadians in the coming days.

An unprecedented number of Canadians applied for EI last week. Examining local EI data again after the influence of COVID-19 will be one way to measure the pandemic’s impact on the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.

See the  State of the Basin website [http://cbrdi.ca/Research/State-of-the-Basin] for more information on other indicators of regional well-being.

The team at the RDI wishes everyone good health during these unprecedented times.

RDCK taking further actions in response to COVID-19

RDCK taking further actions in response to COVID-19

March 20, 2020Nelson, BC: At its meeting on March 19, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) passed a number of resolutions to reduce overall RDCK taxation by more than $1.25 million. These changes are intended to assist residents and business owners who will be in the throes of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis when tax bills arrive.The RDCK is also taking further actions in an effort to protect the health and safety of employees and the public during the outbreak. These actions include the postponement of Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program and Affected Areas Program (CBT CIP/AAP) public engagement meetings, and the closure of administrative offices to the public, effective the end of business on Friday, March 20.BUDGET CHANGESThe budget resolutions include the deferral of capital projects representing a savings of $530,300; deferral of short-term loan payments of $121,200; a reduction of Director travel budgets for conferences and other travel in the amount of $121,000; the postponement of two planned new positions; and the deferral, reduction or postponement of a number of other projects and expenditures.CBT CIP/AAP PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT MEETINGS CANCELLEDEffective immediately, all Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives Program and Affected Areas Program (CBT CIP/AAP) public engagement meetings are cancelled. However, the grant process will move forward. Public engagement is an integral part of the CBT CIP/AAP process, and RDCK staff are working closely with the Columbia Basin Trust to explore an online engagement tool. More information will be available soon, and applicants will be notified by email. For the most up-to-date information, visit the website: http://rdck.ca/cip-aap.ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES TO BE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC All RDCK offices will be closed to the public as of end of day on Friday, March 20, until further notice. Many of our staff will work from home, however some will remain in the office to address public needs by phone. RDCK services will continue to operate to serve residents and businesses, including building inspection services and permit issuance. The application of health and safety protocols to effectively respond to COVID-19 may result in changes to our operations. Please visit the RDCK website: www.rdck.ca for up to date information regarding office hours and changes to our operations.QUOTES:Aimee Watson, Chair of the RDCK Board of Directors:

  • “The health and well-being of RDCK residents and the safety of our staff as they ensure continuity of essential services are our top priorities. We are also committed to doing what we can to reduce the taxation impact to our residents and businesses while keeping critical operations running during this difficult time.”
  • “The RDCK Board recognizes the importance of keeping CBT CIP/AAP grant funding flowing to organizations doing vital work in all of our communities, especially considering the economic uncertainty created by the COVID-19 situation. The RDCK will endeavor to award the grants with as little delay as possible while continuing to meet community expectations for input into the grant award process.”

Stuart Horn, Chief Administrative Officer, RDCK:

  • “On any given day, residents can count on RDCK staff to provide fire protection, accessible recreation opportunities, responsible community planning, emergency management, bylaw enforcement, drinking water, recycling facilities, and so much more. And during this crisis, they are responding with continued commitment, dedication, and care. My sincere thanks to the RDCK team—and to first responders, health-care professionals and everyone who is going above and beyond to protect their communities.”

Further updates will be shared as needed, and will be also posted on our website here: https://rdck.ca/EN/main/services/emergency-management/covid-19-updates.htmlFor more resources relating to COVID-19, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control website: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19Incorporated in 1965, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is a local government that serves 60,000 residents in 11 electoral areas and nine member municipalities. The RDCK provides more than 160 services, including community facilities, fire protection and emergency services, grants, planning and land use, regional parks, resource recovery and handling, transit, water services and much more. For more information about the RDCK, visit www.rdck.ca.

Letter of support from Aimee Watson

Good Morning Area D,

How is everyone doing? Are you getting the essentials you need to hunker down and enjoy the best staycation of your life? I am obviously trying to stay positive, I am grateful that we live in a natural setting for social distancing and one so beautiful, I am feeling odd rays of inspiration for what may come out of all of this. 

That being said, this will not be smooth and there are many impacts, most notably to the very core of how we all live- our economy. Whether we believe finances should rule or not, the reality is they do. 

One of the silver linings I am hoping for is that we will adjust our economy to be place based more then global, farming and food production is one of the best examples for this. 

In the process, however, many are facing tough choices and much insecurity when it comes to keeping the house warm and food on the table. Both the Federal and Provincial government are providing daily updates that include more supports being rolled out. Keeping track of them and knowing what specifically pertains to you is a challenge.

There are two sites that I have found to be particularly helpful in navigating all of the announcements, Community Futures of Central Kootenay and MLA Michelle Mungall’s website. 

Community Futures is for businesses and Michelle’s website provides all of the updates with new ones highlighted the day of. 

Please reach out to me (via email or phone, i do not use messenger) if there is anything I can help you with. The RDCK’s primary focus is ensuring your essential services are able to deliver. As your elected official, I will assist where I can in these challenging and unprecedented times. 

I am aware of community delivery services in Kaslo for those that are vulnerable or in quarantine. If Area D remote communities need support, I am happy to coordinate.

If i can make one request of all of you- please be kind to each other, we are moving through this with our own stories and our own needs. I ask you to have open hearts, willingness to listen, help when we can and be there for each other, this is what makes this place the amazing place it is. Stay true to that. and STAY HOME!



Food Hub March 25th updated service

Food Cupboard Service during COVID-19

Updated: March 25, 2020

New: An additional service time has been added for seniors and the immune-compromised for 30 minutes before our regular service hours. Those times are Tuesdays from 9:30am-10am and Thursdays from 4:30pm-5pm.

New: All clients are being encouraged to take a double ration intended to last for 2 weeks, to reduce the amount of times people physically come to the Food Cupboard.

New: We have stocked up and are stocking up on extra food and anticipate that people who have not normally accessed our food resources may need to due to the pandemic. We are here to help and have been given extra funds from the RDCK and CBT to stock up on food to distribute.

Regular Food Cupboard service will continue to be offered at the normal Food Cupboard hours:

Tuesdays 10am-1pm, Thursdays 5pm-7pm

  • Clients encouraged to phone ahead for appointment time to access food service. 250 353-7120
  • Drop-in’s will be given an appointment time when they arrive.
  • 3-people maximum allowed in Food Cupboard at one time to maintain social distancing.
  • Other clients please return at their appointment time.
  • Pre-made boxes of food will be available for clients to reduce wait time.
  • Home delivery is available, please call to arrange. (For clients who are self-isolating or concerned about coming to pick up food, this service is the best option. If you show any symptoms of colds or flu please do not come to the Food Cupboard, call and request delivery).

Food Cupboard contact information:

250-353-7120 or erincarr@nklcss.org

Kaslo & Area Chamber of Commerce shared updated COVID 19 resources.

#COVID_19 Bulletin: March 24, 2020
Information for Businesses

BCEDA #COVID19 Resources for BC Businesses Guide

All of these updates are now located in one document. This shareable, live guide is being continually updated with the most relevant information, tools and resources for the BC business community. Click here to view.

Newly Updated:

Information for Economic Developers and Local Leaders

BCEDA Webpage Update

The #COVID19 resources shared by BCEDA, have now been split into two categories: 

1. Resources for BC Businesses – we encourage you to share these resources with your business community. (These updates are at the top of this bulletin)
2. Resources for Economic Developers and Local Leaders – information for communities including templates and examples .

Around the Province: Examples of What BC Communities Are Doing

#StrongerTogether – Have you developed processes or resources that you would like to share with other communities? Please email to info@bceda.ca

COVID19: Indigenous Tourism Response
Today – March 24th at 4:00 PM PST​

Watch ITAC President, @KeithHenryMetisFacebook Live on March 24th at 4:00 PM PST. He will have Federal Minister of Economic Development, Hon. Mélanie Joly on to address measures the government is taking to help the Indigenous tourism industry during the COVID-19 crisis. Watch here: https://bit.ly/2WBdZRS

COVID-19: First Nations Community Guide on Accessing Additional Supports

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) is working closely with First Nation partners, the Public Health Agency of Canada, other departments such as Heath Canada, Public Safety as well as provincial and territorial counterparts to protect the health and safety of First Nations and support First Nations communities in responding to the public health crisis resulting from the novel COVID-19.

In order to support First Nations in preparing for and responding to COVID-19, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Government recently announced two funding tracks through which First Nations communities can access resources:

1. $100 million for areas of federal responsibility, including for First Nations, Inuit and Métis community public health needs. These funds will:

  • Respond to identified needs to update and/or activate pandemic plans;
  • Support an effective allocation of the limited public health and primary health care capacity to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak;
  • Align response efforts with scientific evidence as determined by a medical officer of health; and,
  • Address immediate needs in the short term.

2. $305 million for a new Indigenous Community Support Fund

  • This fund will be allocated on a distinctions-basis and will provide leadership with the ability to make choices that work for their communities.
  • It is anticipated that funding will be used to both proactively address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities. Communities will be able to proactively respond to emerging needs as they arise.
  • Funding will begin to flow in short order through existing mechanisms.
  • More information will be available soon.

Please note that the information outlined below is in regards to accessing support either through the $100M announced last week or other existing programs for which expenditures related to COVID-19 may be eligible. Additional information on the $305M Indigenous Community Support Fund will be available soon.

The Government of Canada has dedicated resources to respond to the urgent public health response including for Inuit communities.

We have also developed the COVID-19 First Nations Community Guide on Accessing Additional Supports

We will continue to receive feedback provide guidance information and support communities.

More resources are available at https://bceda.ca/coronavirus.php



For the first time in the community’s history our community hall will be locked, and closed until further notice due to the Corona virus epidemic.

This includes the Argenta Library, the Soup Kitchen and until further notice all other public events.

The Argenta Post Office is still open Mon-Wed-Friday with its usual hours but with revised measures for social distancing.

If you have questions please send them to: argentaboard@gmail.com

North Kootenay Lake Vet, Pat Haegedorn, call ahead service

Please be aware that we are trying to implement social distancing measures by controlling traffic flow in the clinic. If you are feeling unwell please call and cancel your appointment – we will gladly rebook you at a later date. If you feel you cannot delay your appointment, please consider asking a friend to bring your animal instead to respect our staff’s health by limiting their risk.

call 250 353 7125

Small Business BC support in services and networking.

Find out what we are doing to help small business owners during this challenging time.


More than ever – we are here to help you

We believe this is a time for the small business community to come together to help each other overcome challenges and find solutions.

At Small Business BC we’ve been working hard to provide you relevant resources to help you navigate the current business landscape. We recommend following our Twitter account for the latest updates.

1. Stay updated with our COVID-19 resources page (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/resources-for-small-businesses-affected-by-coronavirus-covid-19/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=covid-resources)  – access the latest practical resources for small businesses – including summaries of any relevant federal and provincial announcements for small business.

2. Download our business continuity checklist (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/small-business-resource.pdf)  – help minimize the impacts of COVID-19 to your employees and operations with this checklist.

Join our Digital Meetups for community support (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/join-small-business-bcs-digital-meetups/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=digital-meetup)  – a webinar for the small business community during COVID-19 – an opportunity for businesses to help share their challenges and solutions.

Read our article about pivoting during a time of crisis (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/covid-19-managing-and-pivoting-during-a-time-of-crisis/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=pivot-article)  – practical ideas to help you manage your business in this uniquely challenging time.

5. Need advice? Although our office is closed, our team is working from home and available to help (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/contact-us/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=contact-us)  – while we don’t have all the answers, we are staying up-to-date and will provide you the best answers we can
MORE FROM SBBC (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=home)
Results of our survey – how business has been impacted by COVID-19

As some of you may have seen, we shared a survey – asking businesses the impact of COVID-19 so far – with our partners BC Chamber, Community Futures and BCEDA.

Here is a summary of the results:
* 90% of businesses are “currently being impacted by COVID-19”
* Of those impacted, 83% are seeing a “drop in revenue, business, or deal flow”
* 91% anticipate a further “decrease in revenue in the near-term” [sic]
* 73% of businesses expect their revenues will drop by 50% or more (with nearly a quarter saying revenues will drop by 100%)
* Half of the respondents say they will be “temporarily shutting down” their offices.
* 64% of respondents expect to reduce their staff by over half (with a quarter saying they will be reducing their staff by 100%)

Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey, although the situation is constantly changing, it enables us to share these insights with both the federal and provincial government – and the intelligence you shared with us is helping shape how government reacts to this pandemic crisis in real time.

We encourage you to continue to take part in these surveys, and to share your updates with us, so we relay your messages as best we can.
FIND OUT MORE (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/an-update-on-covid-19s-impact-on-bcs-small-business-community/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=survey)
On Our Radar
* Register for our first Digital Meetup: how to pivot your business and adapt at 11am today ( March 20 (https://zoom.us/webinar/register/2015846382604/WN_klHeJ2BlSSaihZx0HqmpkQ) )

* Canada’s six biggest banks take action to help customers impacted by COVID-19 (https://cba.ca/canada-six-biggest-banks-take-decisive-action-to-help-customers-impacted-by-covid-19?l=en-us)

* Read ways to support small business during COVID-19 (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/article/how-to-support-your-favourite-small-business-during-covid-19/?utm_campaign=march20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=ways-to-help-small-businesses)  💗

* The small business continuity checklist is also available in Korean, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese (https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/small-business/resources)

* Share this article with family, friends and colleagues on dealing with anxiety during COVID-19 (https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/covid-19-and-anxiety)