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. eases rules for COVID-19 small business, tourism relief

30% loss of sales at time of application now qualifies

The B.C. government has reduced the loss requirement for its long-awaited relief grants for small business and tourism operations devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions.

Small businesses can qualify for grants up to $30,000 by showing 30 per cent loss of income at the time they apply, rather than 50 per cent, Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced Dec. 21. Newer businesses in operation for 18 months can now qualify, rather than the original program opened during the October election campaign that restricted assistance to businesses in operation for at least three years.

The new application form is posted at a government website, bcbusinessrecoverygrant.com. Businesses that have already applied do not have to reapply, and their applications will be considered with the new criteria, Kahlon said.

The original criteria required small businesses to show they lost at least 50 per cent of their revenue in each month of the pandemic restrictions, with only 1,400 applications received up to Dec. 10.

During the brief mid-December legislature sitting to approve further borrowing for COVID-19 relief and recovery, B.C. Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone called for changes to the program, which he termed a “red tape disaster.”

RELATED: B.C. tourism assistance coming soon, Horgan says

RELATED: Tourism industry calls for ‘bridge’ relief

Kahlon also announced that the additional grant for tourism-related businesses is increased from a maximum $10,000 to $15,000. The original budget of $300 million for the program has not been increased, however, meaning it will last until the fund runs out.

A government-appointed tourism industry task force released its report Dec. 9, calling for additional emergency aid as tourism business have been shutting down. Businesses that have closed or operate seasonally can also apply, Kahlon said.

Ian Tostenson, president of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, welcomed the additional access to relief funding for a group that represents nearly 14,000 businesses employing more than 190,000 people. About a quarter of employees are aged between 15 and 25, many of them women, and they are seeing their most difficult December ever, he said.

“Seasonal celebrations and Christmas parties and family dinners have basically come to an end in restaurants,” Tostenson said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

Sidney Pier was one of two sites in Sidney as the Netflix series Maid shot in Sidney in late 2020. The show starring Margaret Qualley was one of 38 productions shooting in Greater Victoria. (Bob Orchard/Submitted)
Head of Greater Victoria film commission warns of lost economic opportunity

Kathleen Gilbert said without full funding, region will not be able to attract productions

A senior official with Victoria International Airport says the airport is still researching COVID-19 testing regimes but predicts testing and screening will remain part of the aviation industry even after vaccines have rolled out. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria International Airport researching COVID-19 testing options

Senior official predicts ‘screening and testing will be around long after the vaccination rollout’

Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future. Black Press file photo.
Rethinking shopping for a more resilient future

The last year was a wake up call. The environmental crisis, systemic… Continue reading

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it”

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Drisht Preet (DP) Singh was excited to be opening the first Canco Supermarket in Saltair. (Photo by Emily Weeks)
Canco’s first supermarket opens in Saltair

Reasonable prices being matched with exceptional customer service

From left to right: Geena Haiyupis, Deborah Potter and Moira Barney stand beside the canoe. It will be painted by ADSS students in the new year. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Alberni high school students paddling forward together

Canoe artwork will hang above the school’s breakfast room

Cowichan Bay tennis player Grace Haugen takes part in an exhibition at the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club in 2019, which also included Canadian legends Frank Dancevic and Daniel Nestor. Haugen has committed to further her career at the University of Montana starting next fall. (Citizen file)
Vancouver Island tennis player prepares for next step in her journey

Cowichan Bay’s Grace Haugen commits to University of Montana

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

Most Read