As we welcome the new year, the challenges our industry continues to face are familiar. The ongoing uncertainty in our pandemic environment continues to create a difficult environment but one in which we’ve learned to pivot and frankly make the best of the hand we’ve been dealt.
We know that the Omicron variant will make its mark – the province advises businesses to expect many to be sick and prepare for the eventual impact on operations. Due to the growth of Omicron, communicable disease prevention plans revert to COVID-19 safety plans. We have updated our resources to reflect the most current information.
January 1st marked the start of the provincial sick leave program. All workers are now entitled to 5 days of paid sick leave. We’ve compiled a FAQ to help you understand this new provision.
As we hope for a short quick burst of this latest pandemic wave, our efforts continue to look forward towards recovery. We’re continuing to progress our labour recovery framework and are exploring various opportunities to support advancement.
We’re pleased that our ongoing partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA BC) continues to yield critical supports for the industry as mental health continues to be top of mind as our capacities continue to be tested and stretched. We are working to keep mental health supports on the forefront with relevant content, such as a series of videos created with CMHA BC to address some of the more commonplace mental health challenges accompanying the holiday season.
Our governments continue to respond to the changing nature of the pandemic and financial impacts on the industry, and we thank them for that. Most recently, the province created the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant and the federal government continues to offer rent and property expense support for businesses through several programs such as the Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, Hardest-Hit Business Recovery Program, and the Canada Recovery Hiring Program; all subsidies meant to cover part of a business’s wages as they hire new employees and increase existing employees’ wages or hours.