Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

The B.C. NDP government has announced a second overhaul of its struggling small business and tourism COVID-19 recovery grant program, and extended the deadline five months for a $300 million relief fund that is still less than half subscribed.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon has been under pressure to fix the program since he was appointed to cabinet after last October’s election. After the first overhaul in December, Kahlon reported Thursday that $55 million or more than one sixth of the fund has been granted, with a March 31 application deadline approaching. The program was launched during the election campaign, with few small and medium businesses qualified or able to apply for emergency funds of $30,000, with an extra $15,000 for qualified tourism businesses.

“From day one we’ve been really nimble with this program,” Kahlon told reporters March 4. “More than 50 per cent of the applications have been tourist-based businesses, so that shows it’s getting to the people who need it most.”

B.C. Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone said months of delays make the changes too late for some businesses.

“I’m glad the NDP government is making these changes which the B.C. Liberals have been advocating for since last year,” Stone said. “Unfortunately, this has taken so long that many small businesses have already closed down, and it might be too late for many others.”

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade applauded the latest changes, lowering the bar for qualifying to demonstrated revenue loss of 30 per cent at some point in the year-long pandemic. Previously, businesses had to show that they experienced at least a 70 per cent loss, and the program now includes funds to hire accountants to do the application paperwork.

Kahlon said the latest change to revenue loss requirements has allowed assistance for some businesses that have already applied and failed to qualify.

RELATED: Small businesses starting to get relief money, Kahlon says

RELATED: MPs urge Trudeau not to trigger election during pandemic

GVBOT president Bridgitte Anderson said the announcement is “welcome news,” referring to a recent survey where nearly half of surviving business owners expect pandemic revenue to extend for another three to six months.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and research has shown they have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic,” Anderson said. “Since this program was first announced our members have had difficulty accessing the program and meeting the eligibility criteria.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Teresa Hedley and a copy of her book, “What’s Not Allowed? A Family Journey with Autism.” Photo supplied
Comox Library recognizes Autism Awareness Month with presentation by local author

April is World Autism Awareness Month, an annual opportunity to increase understanding… Continue reading

A donated towel warms a merlin chick. Photo supplied
MARS Moment: 2021 shaping up to be a record-setting year for animal rescues

Submitted by Jane Sproull Thomson Special to Black Press With the pandemic,… Continue reading

Comox council will further look at a troublesome traffic area in the Point Holmes area of the town. Photo submitted
Comox council to look at speed calming measures at Point Holmes

“…We are waiting for a problem to happen if we don’t act.”

A 41-person air task force, including 12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox, seized more than $3 million CND worth of cocaine as part of Op Caribbe. Photo by Canadian Armed Forces Operations/Facebook
19 Wing Comox crew involved in three-tonne cocaine seizure worth more than $293 million

12 members from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron involved in Op Caribbe

File photo of Gord Johns during World Oceans Day.
Courtenay-Alberni MP outlines priorities for federal budget

Universal pharmacare, affordable housing and Pacific wild salmon are some of the… Continue reading

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Campbell River Gun Club outdoor range is located on Argonaut Road west of Campbell River. CRGC/Facebook photo
Campbell River Gun Club range shut down after complaints of stray bullets

Neighbour says bullets hit caretaker’s RV and shattered a glass panel on his deck

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s Green Point Campground saw an unprecedented flurry of reservations last week. (Pacific Rim National Park Reserve photo)
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve campground sees ‘unprecedented’ interest

Reservations being accepted as Green Point Campground scheduled to open May 1

Restaurant owners Oura and Kymon Giakoumakis visit the PQB News/VI Free Daily studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PODCAST: COVID-19 pandemic hits Island’s food service industry hard

Pair of Vancouver Island restaurant owners share thoughts and advice

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
1 in 3 young Canadians have given up on owning a home: poll

Data released Monday says 36% of adults younger than 40 have given up on home ownership entirely

A Nanaimo man will serve nine months in jail for the sexual assault of a young girl he admitted to having committed more than 40 years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo man sentenced for sexually abusing girl more than 40 years ago

Man, now 71, gets nine-month sentence for abuse of friend’s daughter

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. urges people to stay in their neighbourhoods, discourages out-of-household meet-ups

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there should be no travel, even to the next city over

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Most Canadians plan to get COVID-19 vaccine, but safety fears drive hesitancy: poll

This comes as confidence in governments is plummeting in provinces being hit hardest by the pandemic

Most Read