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

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

Today is the first day of fall

Rain forecast for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows into October

Tight race for Maple Ridge-Mission during last election

Liberals, Greens have yet to pick their candidates for Oct. 24

Mobile mental health team coming to Maple Ridge

City one of six locations in B.C. getting a new ACT team

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Most Read