The provincial government says it expects to provide $560 million in relief to businesses under the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant and the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant.
On June 4, an extra $140 million was announced for the recovery grant. Grants have gone to 10,000 businesses so far and the government expects to help more than 20,000 BC businesses with 260,000 employees. About 40% of grants already approved are for businesses that serve the tourism sector.
Between $10,000 and $30,000 is available, with an additional $5,000 to $15,000 for tourism-related businesses.
The funds provide a boost to businesses making their way along the Recovery Runway as we wait for the economy to take off. However, The Chamber would like to see all relief extended to the vital non-profit sector. According to the Victoria Foundation, non-profits account for 63,000 full-time jobs and pay more than $300 million in taxes to our region’s municipalities.
“A lot of non-profits are in serious trouble and their services will be going away if they don’t get some support,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams told the Times Colonist.
The pandemic has increased demand on many non-profits providing critical services to the community. Many organizations are struggling to raise funds and having challenges finding and keeping staff.
Tourism and restaurants need support
The Chamber CEO also spoke to the Times Colonist about the ongoing challenges facing the hospitality and tourism sector.
“Everybody’s down obviously … some have been able to rebound and make up with take-out and delivery but a lot of them just haven’t been able to do that,” Williams said, noting that without office workers downtown, many restaurants and retailers have lost customers. Residents need to continue to support downtown by going there to to shop and eat.
The Chamber has also been actively advocating for the federal government to continue wage and rent relief for the tourism and hospitality sector into next spring.