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

RCMP on scene yesterday at the altercation at the trailer park. (Submitted photo)
Violent altercation at Port Hardy trailer park

The suspect has been remanded in custody until their next court appearance on April 19.

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion spotted in bizarre area of remote Holberg Road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road Monday, April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Port Hardy Minor Hockey logo
Port Hardy Minor Hockey hands out year-end awards

The ‘Outstanding Parent Volunteer Award’ went to Kimberly Hunt and Blair Isaac.

Melissa Milligan is working to build a disc golf course in Port Hardy. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy’s disc golf survey results are in

138 people in total took the survey, with 94 per cent voting yes.

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations in Gold River area

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Two men filmed removing red dresses from trees on highway near Ladysmith

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Vancouver Island’s Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

John Albert Buchanan was found guilty of manslaughter in the 2017 death of Richard Sitar. Pictured here, Buchanan walking to the court in Nanaimo last year. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Six years including time served for Nanaimo man in bludgeoning death

John Albert Buchanan sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for death of Richard Sitar

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Defence counsel for the accused entered two not guilty pleas by phone to Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Jan. 12. File photo
B.C. seafood company owner fined $25K for eating receipt, obstructing DFO inspection

Richmond company Tenshi Seafood is facing $75,000 in fines as decided March 4 by a provincial court judge

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 2, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. NDP ministers defend ‘air tax,’ latest COVID-19 business aid

Empty home tax doesn’t apply to businesses, but space above them

Most Read