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

Ucluelet chamber of commerce searching for new executive director

“Lara did a phenomenal job and we will really miss her.”

Offleash dogs put shorebirds resting on Tofino beaches in jeopardy

“It’s a free-for-all. Most of the violators are locals, I believe, but there are visitors as well.”

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Tofino’s Race for the Blue fishing derby casts philanthropic net

‘Thankful Thursday’ garners over 7,200 cans of tuna for local food banks

Tofino General Hospital Foundation raising funds for new equipment

“The doctors and nurses are worked off their feet.”

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

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

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

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

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

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

Most Read