COVID-19 Resources for the British Columbia Golf Industry

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Last Updated: October 9, 2020

The landscape in which the golf industry operates is changing and keeping up to date with the latest support, benefits, health orders, etc. can be daunting. For example, as of September 27th, the Government of Canada has ended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and is transitioning to a modified Employment Insurance (EI) program. The change, while significant, still provides enhanced eligibility and support available for individuals and businesses in Canada.
In addition to changes to support programs, the Provincial Health Officer is continually updating regulations and guidelines to provide accurate and effective control measures. The most recent update, detailed in the health orders section below, pertains to restaurants/bars, mass gatherings and other services the golf industry relies on throughout the winter months.

As the Golf Industry begins the transition to the off-season, it is a prime opportunity to review the resources available for British Columbia golf industry owners, managers, employees, and industry partners amidst the COVID-19 crisis. The Allied Golf Association of British Columbia (AGA-BC) is pleased to provide the following summary of resources.

Sections of Information in this Article:


GOLF AND TOURISM ASSOCIATION LINKS TO COVID-19 INFORMATION:

British Columbia Golf Updates

Canadian Society of Club Managers

Golf Canada Updates and Resource Page

National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA) 

PGA of Canada COVID-19 Member Resource Hub – member login required

Tourism Industry Association of BC

Destination BC


GOVERNMENT RESOURCES:

Federal Government of Canada:
COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Benefits and Services

Government of British Columbia: 
We are in Phase 3 of 4 – British Columbia’s Response to COVID-19
BC’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan
Tourism Industry Economic Recovery Fact Sheet – September 17, 2020

Ministerial Orders Relevant to the Golf Industry:
Ministerial Order of the Provincial Health Officer for Restaurants, Pubs, Bars and Nightclubs, October 9, 2020
Ministerial Order of the Provincial Health Officer for Gatherings and Events– October 9, 2020
Ministerial Order of the Provincial Health Officer for Workplace COVID-19 Safety Plans – May 14, 2020

Provincial Programs, Information, and Support:
BC’s Restart Plan
BC’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan
COVID-19 Supports for Businesses
COVID-19 Provincial Support and Information
Managing COVID 19 Stress, Anxiety and Depression
COVID-19 BC Support App and Self-Assessment Tool – Download on the App, Get it on Google Play or visit the Self-Assessment Website

WorkSafeBC:
COVID-19 Information and Resources
COVID-19 and Returning to Safe Operations – Phases 2&3
COVID-19 Returning to Safe Operations Frequently Asked Questions
COVID-19 Safety Plan* REQUIRED of every golf course in operation
Exposure Control Plan* REQUIRED of every golf course in operation
Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs: Protocols for Returning to Operations
Retail: Protocols for Returning to Operations
Office: Protocols for Returning to Operations


FOR GOLF INDUSTRY BUSINESS OWNERS:

If you are currently operating:

Best Practices for BC Golf Operations Amidst COVID-19
Updated October 9, 2020

WorkSafeBC’s Guide to What Employer’s Should Do

WorkSafeBC’s Guide Information and Resources

Support:

Government of Canada – Support and Programs for Businesses

Government of BC – COVID-19 Supports for Small Businesses in BC

BDC – How to cope with the effects of COVID-19 on your business

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (75% Subsidy)

On July 27 the Federal Government extended the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) through to November 21st with an option to extend as far as December 31 2020. (Information and How to Apply)

The CEWS program was also redesigned and additional information about eligibility, payment amounts – Information about the new program details can be found here: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Updates and Eligibility

The changes included in the Government’s updated legislation:

  • Extended the program, with redesigned program details, until November 21, 2020. (Application Guide
  • Allow for the extension of the CEWS until December 31, 2020.
  • Make the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers by including employers with a revenue decline of less than 30 percent and providing a gradually decreasing base subsidy to all qualifying employers. This would help many struggling employers with less than a 30-per-cent revenue loss get support to keep and bring back workers, while also ensuring those who have previously benefited could still qualify, even if their revenues recover and no longer meet the 30 percent revenue decline threshold.
  • Introduce a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25 percent for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. This would be particularly helpful to employers in industries that are recovering more slowly.
  • Address certain technical issues identified by stakeholders.

How to Apply

    • Eligible employers would be able to apply for CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application.  Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. 

Ensuring Compliance

    • Prime Minister Trudeau announced serious consequences for those who abuse the system with his funding announcement. 
    • In order to maintain the integrity of the program and to ensure that it helps Canadians keep their jobs, employers would be required to repay amounts paid under the CEWS if they do not meet the eligibility requirements.  Penalties may apply in cases of fraudulent claims and may include fines and imprisonment.

Canada Emergency Business Account

The new Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.

To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $50,000 to $1 million in total payroll in 2019.

Employment Termination / Lay-Off Resources:

  • Province of BC resources and information about terminations and layoffs
  • Employers must give notice and/or pay to end employment or temporarily lay off employees.
  • The amount of written notice and/or pay is based on how long an employee has been employed.
    • Employed for three months = one week of notice and/or pay
    • Employed for one year = two weeks of notice and/or pay
    • Employed for three or more years = three weeks of notice and/or pay, plus one week of notice/pay for each additional year of employment (to a maximum of eight weeks)
  • Temporary Lay-offs 
    • An employee is laid off when they’re given less work or no work – with the plan that the employee will return to a regular work schedule. If an employee’s hours are reduced, they are considered laid off as soon as they earn less than 50 percent of their weekly wages at the regular rate (averaged over the previous eight weeks
    • Temporary layoffs can only be up to 13 weeks in a period of 20 weeks. **However, if the layoff is due to COVID-19 the layoff can be extended to a maximum of 6 months or until December 30, 2020 for employees laid off between the period of March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, where the fixed date or fixed period specified in the written notice occurs before December 30, 2020
    • **After September 30, 2020, the temporary extension of lay-off periods will no longer apply.
    • They are only considered temporary if the layoff is part of an employment contract or the employee agrees to the layoff.  You must have them sign a voluntary temporary lay-off agreement.
    • You do not have to pay out vacation nor statutory severance.
    • If the temporary layoff is longer than 13 weeks (or applicable duration based on the date of lay-off and special extensions), it becomes a termination of employment. The start of the layoff is the termination date and the employer must give pay for length of service based on this date

Record of Employment:

  • How to Complete the Record of Employment Form
  • If your employees are directly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and they are no longer working, you must issue a Record of Employment (ROE).
  • When the employee is sick or quarantined, use code D (Illness or injury) as the reason for separation (block 16). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee is no longer working due to a shortage of work because the business has closed or decreased operations due to coronavirus (COVID-19), use code A (Shortage of work). Do not add comments.
  • When the employee refuses to come to work but is not sick or quarantined, use code E (Quit) or code N (Leave of absence), as appropriate. Avoid adding comments unless absolutely necessary.

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan – EI Top-Up:

Unpaid Job-Protected Leave:

Tax Changes:

Update October 5 – Province of British Columbia’s tax and tax-related changes, incentives and benefits

Provincial changes include:

  • Deferral of payments on the Employer Health Tax (EHT), municipal and regional district tax, tobacco tax, motor fuel tax, carbon tax, and PST
  • Tax incentives for Employment and Select Machine Purchases
  • The province is cutting the school tax by 50% for light- and major-industry property classes, expecting the tax cut to be passed on to business owners with triple-net leases.

Other Initiatives: 


FOR GOLF INDUSTRY EMPLOYEES

Working within the COVID-19 Pandemic:

Financial Assistance:

  • Employment Insurance (EI) Regular Benefits
    • Apply for EI here
    • How much you could receive – We cannot tell you exactly how much you will receive before we process your application. For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. As of January 1, 2020, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $54,200. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $573 per week.
  • Canada Response Benefit
    From the Government fo Canada Website: “The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. The CRB is administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). If you are eligible for the CRB, you can receive $1,000 ($900 after taxes withheld) for a 2-week period.”
  • Working While on EI vs Working on CRB
    • If you work while receiving regular EI benefits and have served your waiting period, you will be able to keep 50 cents of your EI benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of the weekly insurable earnings used to calculate your EI benefit amount. This 90 percent amount is called the earnings threshold. If you earn any money above this threshold, we will deduct it dollar for dollar from your benefits.
    • If you are receiving CRB Benefits you may not earn more than $38,000 in the calendar year – if your net income is more than $38,000, You will have to reimburse $0.50 of the benefit for every dollar of net income that you earned above $38,000
    • For either Regular Benefits or CRB, when you work and receive benefits at the same time, you must report your work earnings and hours for each week you work, in the week in which the work occurred.
    • For more information, visit the Working While on Claim and/or CRB FAQ.
  • Family Caregiver Benefits – As of September 27, 2020, additional allowances and access to EI Benefits have been added where individuals are required to provide care to a family member.

Additional Assistance:

The recent changes to the benefit programs and support measures create multiple options for employees who find themselves without work due to COVID-19. For more information about programs and eligibility you are encouraged to connect directly with government representatives to learn more about which options apply to your situation:

Government of Canada

Province of British Columbia

Allied Golf Association of British Columbia: Message From the President

While the recent resignation of the NGCOA and PGA of BC from AGA-BC has resulted in fewer people and organizations involved in helping move the British Columbia Golf Industry forward as one group, we remain strongly committed to advancement by proactively and thoughtfully addressing the issues and challenges we face.

Over the past 10 years, AGA-BC has developed remarkable government relations with both governing and opposition parties. For golf to continue building these relationships, remaining member groups feel it’s critically important we continue without immediate support from the NGCOA and the PGA of BC. Hopefully the situation is temporary as the original vision in creating an allied group was to have all golf industry sectors at the table, working together for our collective betterment.

Government has always been very candid with us in how they choose to be involved with interest groups. Their preference is to hear from one voice as it provides simplicity facilitating industry issues concerning both bureaucrats and politicians. The goal of AGA-BC in terms of lobbying, is to provide structure for the BC golf industry as a whole, to challenge provincial golf industry issues while communicating with respective memberships the value of that work.

More than advocating single issues, AGA-BC works with the provincial government to increase golf awareness, promote the health, environmental and economic benefits of golf and grow the game. Through the British Columbia Golf Marketing Alliance (BCGMA), a member group that falls under the umbrella of AGA-BC as a legal entity, $250k in annual shared golf marketing dollars is generated via government partnership.

There is a lot of lobby work however and I hope you continue reading about the current hot topic, proposed regulations put forward by WorkSafe BC requiring rollover protection (ROPS) and seatbelts on all golf cars driven by workers and the AGA-BC Position on Proposed WorksafeBC Rollover Protection and Seatbelts (ROPS) Regulations.

In addition to this project, we have completed and vetted all but 2 pages of the Integrated Pest Management Manual, a valuable tool for turf management of golf courses and funded entirely by the BC Ministry of Environment. It will be ready to run past the Board for approval first week of November, after which it will be made available from our website as an open-source (free) resource.

To close, we would like to congratulate Trisha Larsen, Exec. Director of the BCGMA and her Advisory Council, for a new all-time sales record for golf packages through the BCGMA central reservations office with sales of $1,019,624 to September 22, surpassing 2018’s total with an increase of 9.2%, 34% from 2017 and dispersing revenue through nine different golf areas of the province.

“Golf is good for our health, our environment,
and the economy of British Columbia.”

Sincerely,
Trevor Smith
President, AGA-BC
Tel: 250-320-6411
Email: president@aga-bc.org