Delight Indian Bistro general manager Aayush Arora spoke with Peace Arch News in early April about the challenges the new business is facing in accessing federal COVID-19 relief grant money. Last week, the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the federal government asking that eligibility for funding be extended to new and newly expanded businesses. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Delight Indian Bistro general manager Aayush Arora spoke with Peace Arch News in early April about the challenges the new business is facing in accessing federal COVID-19 relief grant money. Last week, the South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the federal government asking that eligibility for funding be extended to new and newly expanded businesses. (Aaron Hinks photo)

South Surrey, White Rock Chamber urges extension of Canada’s COVID relief to new businesses

Businesses that opened during the pandemic are struggling without federal support: letter

The South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to expand its COVID-19-related supports to include newly opened businesses along with those that existed before the start of the pandemic.

In a May 18 letter to Mary Ng, minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, the Chamber urges the Canadian government to extend its COVID-19 financial aid programs to businesses that have opened within the past 18 months and are not currently eligible for funding.

“We are hearing from many businesses that have tried to apply for different programs, only to be denied because they do not have comparable financials from 12 months prior,” reads the letter signed by Patricia Lapena, president of the board of directors, and Executive Director Ritu Khanna.

“As you can appreciate, opening a new business takes a considerable amount of planning, financial resources and perseverance in the best of times,” the letter continues. “To open a business in the midst of a global pandemic exponentially exacerbates all requirements.”

The letter makes reference to a number of new ventures in South Surrey and White Rock that are struggling to get off the ground, but singles out Delight Indian Bistro, which opened in June 2020 after its owners invested more than $1 million, as being “a prime example” of how the omission is affecting small businesses.

READ ALSO: Newly opened South Surrey restaurant excluded from federal financial support

READ ALSO: New provincial ‘circuit breaker’ grant wins praise from SSWR Chamber of Commerce

Delight’s general manager, Aayush Arora, spoke to the Peace Arch News in early April about the challenges the South Surrey restaurant has faced in trying to access grant money offered to other, similar businesses in Canada.

Since the business didn’t have a payroll in 2019, they were excluded from receiving the federal government wage subsidy program, rental support, and government loans, Arora said.

“It excludes people like us who opened their business right in the middle of the pandemic who probably need, if not the same amount, even more than what an existing business needs. You’re still trying to make a name out there,” Arora said.

On April 8, the same week Arora spoke with PAN, the provincial government announced $50 million in ‘circuit breaker’ grants to help B.C. businesses that opened by or before Feb. 1, 2021.

The one-time grants – of $20,000 each – were offered to help businesses pay fixed costs, including employee wages, rent and insurance, during the extended period of tightened COVID-19 restrictions, which ended on Tuesday (May 25).

In its request that the federal government expand its financial aid programs, the Chamber asks that eligibility be adjusted to include both new and newly expanded businesses that can demonstrate their project was non-reversible at the outset of the pandemic, and that it include adjusted back pay to March 15, 2020 of both CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) and CERS (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy).

“We appreciate how much time and funds the government has invested in supporting small businesses across the country,” the letter concludes.

“We ask that you support the entrepreneurs who should not be penalized due to timing of an ill-fated global pandemic.”

– files from Aaron Hinks



brenda.anderson@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BusinessCanadaCoronavirus

Just Posted

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
‘Stay-at-home mom’ works to raise $25K to help Options build housing in Surrey

Tammy Bourelle boosts ‘Women of Options’ fundraising campaign, which ends June 30

A new DPD team began targeting gang-related activity on May 15, including checking on individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions. (Delta Police Department photo)
15 arressted by Delta Police anti-gang team last week

Police seized a vehicle, debit/credit machine and 250 pre-packaged bags of various drugs June 9-12

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey ranks eighth in Top-10 list of cities of the future in the Americas

This is according to the Financial Times’ fDi Magazine, a bi-monthly publication out of London, England with a circulation of 15,488

Kaushal Parikh raised $2,840 for COVID-19 relief in India during his almost nine-hour run around the new North Delta Secondary School track on Sunday, June 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
North Delta ultramarathoner raises over $2,800 for COVID relief in India

Kaushal Parikh ran the 90-km virtual Comrades Marathon around the NDSS track in under nine hours

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Most Read