B.C. eases requirements for struggling businesses applying for support
Temporarily closed or seasonal businesses are now also eligible for recovery grant
Changes to the eligibility requirements to the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant Program will allow more small businesses and tourism operations devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for funding.
Ravi Kahlon, the minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, announced Monday that businesses must now show a revenue drop of 30 per cent instead of 50 per cent since March as part of the criteria to qualify for grants from $10,000 to $30,000.
He said tourism businesses will now be eligible for up to $45,000 in non-repayable grant funding, and the tourism minister will announce more supports for the sector on Tuesday.
Kahlon said businesses previously had to be operating for three years in order to get funding, but that requirement has been reduced to 18 months. He said that means businesses only need to have been in operation for nine months before the pandemic to apply for a grant.
Applications can now be made online, and businesses that already applied for the original recovery grant program that was introduced in October will be considered under the new criteria.
"To own a business during these uncertain times brings challenges that no one could ever have imagined.'' Kahlon said on Monday.
The government has also dropped the requirement for businesses to list some information in the application, including registration numbers for the GST, the provincial sales tax and WorkSafeBC, to make the process easier.
Businesses that are temporarily closed or seasonal are now also eligible for the grant program.
Ian Tostenson, president of the B.C. Restaurant Foodservices and Association, said small and medium-sized employers have struggled to keep their doors open, adding that many of the sector's 193,000 employees are women aged 15 to 25.
The grant program is meant for businesses that employ between two and 149 residents of B.C.