BC business community wary of gaps in new COVID-19 financial support

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News of major changes to federal COVID-19 grants has raised suspicion in BC’s business community.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland on Thursday announced new measures that will replace the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CUS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Grant (SCRU), which expire on Saturday.

In their place will be the new Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program, which will offer a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent, and the Most Affected Business Recovery Program with a subsidy rate of up to 75 percent. up to 50 percent.

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But as is often the case with large government programs, the devil will be in the details, according to Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

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“There are details that we need to see first, as we are concerned that there are companies that fall through the cracks, and either will not be eligible for grants, or the scope will be so narrow that it will not be eligible for grants. ‘there won’t be enough support, ”she said. told Global News.

“We encourage the government to continue to listen, to understand if there are any companies that do not qualify here and to be open to change.

Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, hailed the new programs as essential to keeping many businesses afloat.


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BC Hospitality Industry Welcomes Capacity Changes and Calls for Clarity from Provincial Government


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But she said new, higher thresholds to qualify for the programs – especially for companies outside the tourism and hospitality industry – could leave some operators in the cold.

Businesses applying for the tourism subsidy will have to show monthly revenue losses of 40% on average, plus a 40% loss for the current month, while businesses applying for the other subsidy will have to show the same, but at 50%.

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“Think about your event industries, think about your gyms, bowling alleys, dance studios, these businesses have all been hit really hard and they’re likely to come out of that category (restaurant),” Jones said.

“So think about it, are you a restaurant and you’re down 35% and you’re not eligible for any help right now?” And for other businesses, you may be down 45% and not qualify for assistance, although there are still government restrictions in place that really affect your ability to make sales.

The federal government aims to extend the new programs until May 7, 2022, while seeking the possibility of further modifying them until July of next year.

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