Bridgitte Anderson, president of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, speaks in a video about the great fire of 1886 that destroyed most of Vancouver and forced it to rebuild. (GVBOT)

Keep businesses going to outlast COVID-19, B.C. government told

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade releases recovery proposals

Long-term business recovery strategies like improved broadband internet and transit extensions can only work for businesses that are still around to use them, a B.C. business group has reminded the provincial government.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s recommendations come as the B.C. government prepares to deploy a $1.5 billion recovery fund that was borrowed this spring as part of the province’s $5 billion COVID-19 response. The report includes a province-wide survey of businesses this summer that found, of those that have survived the pandemic, 65 per cent are using some form of government support to keep operating.

Most of the federal and provincial spending in the pandemic has been direct support for individuals, while business has seen tax deferrals and limited wage subsidy programs.

“Helping businesses survive is critical, as we’ve seen a 12 per cent decline,” GVBOT president Bridgitte Anderson said in releasing the report Sept. 1. “Nearly 8,000 businesses have disappeared in Metro Vancouver alone. And once those businesses are gone, so are the jobs. It’s a ripple effect across the economy.”

To prevent a “second wave” of business closures as existing support programs wind down, the report urges the establishment of a working capital grant for small businesses to help them restart or retool, as well as training and child care support to get people back to the workforce. Statistics Canada estimates that the Greater Vancouver region has lost nearly 150,000 jobs since February.

GVBOT also recommends the province waive provincial sales tax on hotels and flights for B.C. residents to get in-province and in-country travel going again. For rural parts of B.C., it recommends expanded and better coordinated broadband development from internet service providers, the federal and provincial governments.

The business group says the recovery plan is also a chance to remove burdens on business that have multiplied since the NDP government took office.

RELATED: B.C. uses COVID-19 summer for recovery survey, analysis

RELATED: Tourism showing signs of recovery, finance minister says

“Before the pandemic, various taxes were layered onto businesses, making it difficult for them to thrive,” the report says. “Over the past two years, employers have seen costs increase with the new employer health payroll tax, in addition to an increasing carbon tax, general corporate tax, personal income tax and property tax among others.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

BC Supreme Court tosses out application to stop work on Highlands quarry

Highlands District Community Association will not suffer irreparable harm if work begins, says judge

Island Sexual Health expanding physical space and workforce

Island Health looking to hire more health care workers for centre once expansion complete

Victoria council pushes for December byelection

City staff concerned with timeframe and planning needs prior to byelection

Charity tackling ‘weekend hunger gap’ bracing for tripling of students in need

Backpack Buddies was serving 1,300 students per week in March, by June that number doubled

Pandemic reunites 2000s era Victoria rock band The Origin

Saanich musicians recording for first time since 2008

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports personnel aboard fishing vessel made the find

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Most Read