BC Liberals: NDP’s new grant program no quick fix to current recovery grant mess

THE BC Liberals said on Wednesday that after failing to fix the restrictive and ineffective Small to Medium-Sized Business Grant Recovery Program, Premier John Horgan and the NDP have created a new grant program that’s one year too late.

“We have little confidence in the timely delivery of this program announced by the NDP today as they continue to bungle and botch support for small businesses,” said Todd Stone, B.C. Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Why launch a new program while the majority of funds for the existing Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program are still stuck in the NDP’s hands as the March 31 deadline to get them out the door approaches? This is just another example of the NDP scrambling to look like they have a plan when they don’t.”

The NDP has distributed only $12 million of the $300 million in grant money approved 11 months ago at the start of the pandemic. Many businesses still don’t qualify and have criticized it for its lack of flexibility.

“Instead of creating any further mess, John Horgan should fix the current program by easing the restrictive eligibility criteria and extending the application deadline beyond March 31, 2021, which we’ve been urging for months,” said Stone. “Businesses owners want relief now, not to be tangled up in more red tape. John Horgan could have announced this program when businesses most need it back in March 2020. What has he been doing for the whole year?”