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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

A class is in isolation after a potential exposure at J.V. Humphries School in Kaslo. Photo: School District 8
Kaslo school’s class isolated due to possible COVID-19 exposure

A class at J.V. Humphries School is home for the week

Village council saw an application to build a seven foot fence around a 3rd Ave. property in Nakusp. (Jocelyn Doll-Revelstoke Review)
Village of Nakusp sees application for seven foot fence

Council raised concerns about curb appeal

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

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
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

Kimberley's Steve Tersmette has published Waterfall Hikes In Southern British Columbia, documenting 100 of the areas waterfalls.
Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read