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

Saanich explores options for adding shelters to parks

Covered areas would encourage safe outdoor socializing during rainy season

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

Netflix, Warner Bros filming 10-part series in Colwood

Filming takes place now until March 2021

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

Most Read