Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

B.C. VOTES 2020

Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Nearly half a million mail-in ballots are on their way back to home constituencies for B.C. election final count that’s expected to take until mid-November, but that’s not the end of the wait for people expecting promised B.C. government help to get through the COVID-19 pandemic winter.

Once B.C.’s election results are official, NDP leader John Horgan has to interview MLAs and choose a new cabinet, who then have to be sworn in by B.C. Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin and be briefed on the state of the provincial books. Only then can the cabinet and its treasury board go ahead with relief payments to individuals and businesses, and change any policies that aren’t working.

Horgan acknowledged the day after winning an apparent 55-seat NDP majority that his election promise of $1,000-per-family pandemic payments may not happen before Christmas as he hinted during the campaign. With a formula of pro-rated payments for household incomes up to $175,000, and no federal program to determine need, the $1.4 billion in electronic transfers using provincial income tax records isn’t likely to occur until early 2021.

It was mid-campaign before tourism and other small businesses were allowed to apply for the last segment of the NDP government’s $5 billion COVID-19 relief package, approved in March in a hastily arranged B.C. legislature session with MLAs of all parties supporting it. Some businesses don’t qualify, or are concerned it is too little, too late to keep them going.

RELATED: Horgan pressed on election delay for small business relief

RELATED: B.C. businesses folding as COVID-19 cuts off revenues

The $300 million small business aid program offers grants from $10,000 to $30,000 for qualifying businesses, with a four-stage application. Businesses have to have been going for at least three years, employ between two and 149 employees at least four months of the year, with payroll documents, tax returns and a regularly updated recovery plan. The grants can’t be used for fixed costs like mortgages or vehicle leases.

The day before the election, the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. (TIABC) advised members they should apply for the program even if they don’t qualify, as it tries to get changes made.

“While the options are being considered, and decisions will be made following the election, government has suggested that businesses complete as much of the application as possible (even if you don’t meet the criteria) to ensure that it is in the system, TIABC said in a bulletin to members Oct. 23. “Further details to come in the next couple of weeks.”

The website for the business recovery grant program indicates it will provide grants up to March 31 or when the allotted funds run out.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Just Posted

A proposed 29-storey highrise development in North Delta’s Townline neighbourhood is headed to a public hearing on June 8, 2021. (Penmat Mana JV (Delta) Ltd./City of Delta report image)
North Delta highrise proposal headed to public hearing

Council voted 4-3 Monday (May 10) to move the 29-storey project forward

Bucketheads – A Star Wars Story is being filmed near the 19000-block of 16 Avenue in South Surrey. (Mychaylo Prystupa photos)
Star Wars fan film ‘Bucketheads,’ shot in South Surrey, makes its debut

Volunteer initiative features new LED screen technology

Surrey RCMP detachment. (Contributed file photo)
RCMP investigating report of shots fired in South Surrey

Police say they have not yet found evidence to confirm incident

Darlene Bennett, right, speaking about her murdered husband Paul at a press conference in 2018. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Widow of Surrey murder victim seeking referendum vote on policing transition

Darlene Bennett files application with Elections BC seeking binding referendum vote

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

The Northern Spotted Owl Breeding Program welcomed a new chick in April 2021 after it was artificially incubated for 32 days while still in its egg, hand raised for a week and then returned to owl foster parents Sedin and Amore. Chick B is now settling in at the family nest, which the public can view live online. (Jasmine McCulligh/Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Baby owl welcomed at Langley’s Northern Spotted Owl breeding site

Facility has launched an Adopt-a-Chick fundraiser to help with expenses

Heavily armed police officers responded to a call on 203rd Street near Fraser Highway. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Update: Police swarm Langley dollar store after man with a gun reported

Weapon turned out to be an Airsoft pistol, RCMP said

Most Read