With the ongoing public health emergency, we wanted to provide a list of resources to make use of during this challenging time. See an overview of federal, provincial, and municipal support services and find the information you need when it comes to COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global public health emergency, many things about our day-to-day lives have had to change drastically almost overnight. Rapid change is difficult to adjust to, even temporarily. Some people have lost their jobs, others have had to close down their small business, and many are trying to adjust to a new normal as they find a balance between living both their work life and personal life all under one roof at home.
During this uncertainty, government at all levels has created response plans to ensure Canadians are able to access the information, support, and resources they need.
The federal government has create a response plan to address the comprehensive aspects of this crisis. It includes travel measures, support for Canadians abroad, monitoring of supplies, and economic and financial support for those who need it. Whether you’re an individual or a business, there are services available to help you weather this storm. The Business Development Bank of Canada is offering support for entrepreneurs too.
The provincial government also has created additional resources, including financial support services for individuals and businesses. Information about the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers, tax credits and relief, and tenancy agreements, student loans, and other monthly bills are covered on the website.
In this unprecedented collective experience, connecting with the local community becomes more important than ever. Checking in with family, friends, and neighbours and looking out for one another will help us all get through this strange and scary time together. Many local organizations have come together to provide help and support where they can, often on a volunteer basis. Here are a few to take a look at as an individual or small business owner in Victoria.
The city has gathered a number of useful resources for the various neighbourhoods around Victoria. This is where you’ll be able to find access to information, support, and hyper-local groups to lean on if you find yourself needing help to get errands or groceries done because of COVID-19.
There are also a few job boards to explore if you’re in search of something new or something to supplement your income. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce job board has opportunities across industries. VIATEC’s job board focuses mainly on the tech sector. A province-wide job board for local government opportunities can also be found via Civic Info BC. Work BC also has postings for jobs around the province and many other job search sites (like Indeed.ca) will offer more results to search through.
Also note that BC Transit has updated their service to provide free transportation to those who need it. Passengers that are able to can enter and exit the bus using the back doors and are asked to maintain social distancing principles with regard to other passengers and the driver.
For small businesses:
A number of groups and organizations are offering services and support at this time, often heavily discounted or even for free! A few of these groups in our local community include the South Island Prosperity Partnership (offering a plethora of resources and information, including how to adjust to working from home), YYJ Locals for Locals (offering pro-bono tech and marketing help to businesses that need to get online or update their online presence quickly as operations shift), the Tiny Victoria Small Business Fund (offering small 0% non-recourse loans to local small businesses).
On the provincial scale, Small Business BC has created a list of resources for small business owners to make use of during this time. The organization also has webinars, checklists, digital meetups, access to business advisors, and other adjusted services to support those who need it.
If you’re able to work from home and your financial situation hasn’t been impacted too much, the time to support local is now. Whether you want to get take-out or delivery from your favourite restaurant, brewery, or distillery, you’re able to volunteer your time to a worthy cause, or you’re in a position to donate funds to a local organization, here are a few ways to keep the local economy going in this tough time.
Order in from your favourite place or broaden your horizons and try a new spot! Islandist and Tasting Victoria both provide a list of restaurants offering delivery or pickup. (If the place you had in mind isn’t on these lists, give them a shout via their social media channels or call them up to see if they’ve adjusted their services!) Lots of craft breweries, distilleries, and private liquor stores have also started offering delivery to keep your fridge or bar well-stocked while you’re at home.
Buy a gift certificate to give or use later. Support Local YYJ has a comprehensive list of local businesses that have gift certificates available for purchase. Times Colonist also has a database of local businesses that are still open and operating, as does Things That Are Open.
Want to put your money towards helping the city’s most vulnerable people? You can donate to your favourite local non-profit or consider giving to the Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund, the Mustard Seed food bank, Our Place Society, or campaigns like Boxes of Hope (providing warm, healthy meals those who need them) and joni’s DO GOOD BOX (providing period products to local transition homes, shelters, and food banks).
It’s a scary time for many of us and we’re all going through this unexpected transition at our own pace. Stay informed as the situation evolves to keep you and your loved ones safe. Help where you can if you are able to, whether it’s picking up groceries for your elderly neighbour, supporting a local small business, or donating your time or money to a non-profit. And keep well at home with a regular routine, virtual socializing with friends and family, a dedicated work-space, and some quiet time to process and reflect too.
In this strange time, we can find solace in our local communities and Victoria is a wonderful community full of resilience and collective support. Patience, kindness, and compassion with one another will get us through this difficult time so we can go back to enjoying our beautiful city soon. Until then, stay safe and hopeful at home.