The Provincial Health Officer’s new restrictions, announced on the afternoon of March 29th, came out with very short notice and required action the same day in order to be in compliance for 12:00am March 30th. These new restrictions have hit the business community hard, with very real consequences - from suddenly unwinding employment contracts, group class cancellations, and contracts for food, alcohol and other products already placed in anticipation of a busy holiday long weekend, to the practical realities for many of losing their jobs again on Monday.
The future of many small and medium-sized businesses in already fragile industries has been again brought into question. The stress of these constant changes is an escalating concern and growing mental health crisis for many individuals, whether they are the owner or employee of the business.
Here at the Delta Chamber of Commerce, we have been actively engaging with our membership, local business community, and government to ensure that all Delta businesses have the support they need to access government financial programs; get introductions to local professional service providers and fellow Delta business owners; and that the Voice of Business in Delta is heard by decision-makers at all levels of government.
One of those opportunities includes the upcoming Fireside Chat that the Delta Chamber of Commerce is hosting with The Honorable Ravi Kahlon, Minister for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, and MLA for Delta-North. This event will be held Thursday, April 8, 10:30am. You can also join us to hear from the Leader of the Official Opposition, The Honorable Erin O’Toole. Mr. O’Toole will be joining us Thursday, April 16, 12pm. At any time between April 6th – 20th you can participate in the BCMindReader C-19 Pulse Survey #6 that will be issued on April 6th. The insights of this survey will be shared with government and inform future government programs, services and policy.
STATEMENT | Delta Chamber Pleased Delta is Ready To Welcome Ride-Hailing Services & Looks Forward to Service Expansion
On Thursday, January 23, 2020, the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) approved the Uber and Lyft applications to operate in the Lower Mainland and Whistler. While this approval covers operations across the Lower Mainland and in Whistler it will not immediately cover this entire area.
Lyft’s initial service area includes the Vancouver International Airport, the Pacific National Exhibition and the City of Vancouver core. Uber’s initial offering includes a core area surrounding Vancouver – including North Delta and Ladner, but excluding Tsawwassen, Tsawwassen First Nation, and the BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal. Uber riders are currently able to be dropped off in these locations, however the app will not allow for pick-ups.
The City of Delta has an existing business licensing process in place for ride-hailing companies, like Lyft and Uber, with a base annual business license fee of $110 plus $25 per car; with a cap per company of $1,500, which is consistent with the business license fees paid by taxis that operate in Delta. In December 2019 Delta’s Mayor, George Harvie, explained in a press release on the topic that the City has “established a simple and reasonable business licensing system for ride-hailing to ensure that we are treating ride-hailing companies and taxis fairly while allowing our residents to access improved transportation services. We look forward to ride-hailing companies operating in Delta as soon as the Province allows them to.”
STATEMENT | Delta Chamber Looks Forward to More Details on Upcoming Provincial Legislation for Interim Business Property Tax Relief
On January 17th the provincial government announced that it plans to introduce interim legislation during the 2020 Spring Session which would give municipalities the ability to exempt a portion of the value of a select number of commercial properties from the full effects of property taxation; easing the tax burden for their tenants responsible for property taxes through their commercial leases.
The current practice of assessing properties on their highest and best use for potential future redevelopment as designated in a municipality’s official community plan, versus their current use, and of assessing total potential future property at a business rate can create a challenging situation for independent property owners who do not have the available capital to re-develop their property to its highest and best use now; nor to wait out the often multi-year municipal development approval process.
news release | Delta businesses identify commute as top challenge to recruiting and retaining qualified workers in province-wide survey
According to a recent province-wide survey of 1,555 business leaders, conducted by the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the issue of commuting (defined as: “the ease by which workers can commute to your business”) was identified as a “big” or “very big” challenge in recruiting and retaining qualified employees for 71 percent of Delta businesses polled.
Additionally, “finding enough workers with the specific skill set you need” came in as a major concern for 49 percent of Delta businesses and “housing affordability” as a major concern for 60 percent of Delta respondents.