NDP failing to adequately support B.C. businesses through pandemic response: BC Liberals

A recent survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows the NDP government is ​failing to properly support businesses through the pandemic, jeopardizing people’s livelihoods and B.C.’s future economic recovery, say the BC Liberals.

“We know that people and businesses have been hit incredibly hard in this pandemic, and the latest surveys show that 15 per cent of B.C. businesses are actively considering declaring bankruptcy or closing their doors because they just can’t afford to stay open,” said Mike Bernier, BC Liberal Critic for Finance, on Friday. “This is not just about the businesses themselves, but also the people who depend on them for their livelihoods and the communities that will be dramatically impacted by their closure. The simple truth is that if government does not step up to provide better supports to struggling businesses, they are putting people at risk, in addition to threatening our economic future.”

The BC Liberals said that the same report from CFIB shows that 48 per cent of businesses have struggled to find the rapid tests needed to keep their businesses going​, and 58 per cent are understaffed. Additionally, just 33 per cent of B.C. businesses are making normal or better sales compared with pre-pandemic periods and 90 ​per cent of businesses have Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans ​of up to $60,000, raising concerns that this debt could hamper their recovery.

“Employers and workers have been stressed to their limits over the last two years and they should ​have confidence that government has their back — unfortunately, that is just not the case with the NDP,” said Todd Stone, BC Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Today, more than a month after the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant was announced, applications only recently opened and not a cent has actually flowed out to business​es in need. People should not have to wait months to see the promised relief ​funds in their accounts, and they should not have to worry that they do not qualify for aid because of unreasonably strict criteria. British Columbians who operate and depend on small businesses deserve far better from their government.”