B.C. government adds funds to recovery grant program for small and medium B.C. businesses

The B.C. government has announced an infusion of millions of dollars in additional funding to help small and medium businesses stay afloat until step three of the province’s reopening plan.

Officials say the money will fund the Small- and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant until July 1.

“We built this grant program for the business community,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s minister of jobs, in a news release.

The government says the grant program has helped 10,000 B.C. businesses, with more than 41 per cent of the money going to tourism-related businesses.

“This additional support was a call to action from the Tourism Task Force to provide relief to people and businesses that were struggling,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, in the same release.

Mark is encouraging tourism-related businesses to see if they’re eligible for the grant money.

The province says its business recovery grant program, combined with its circuit breaker fund, has committed $560 million to help B.C. businesses affected by the pandemic. The latter program closed to applications on Friday.

“The grant money I received not only benefits my business, it has a ripple effect on the community and makes people optimistic that the local economy is starting to rebuild,” said Leanna Carlson, a pottery store owner in Prince George, according to the government release.

Owners of businesses that employ up to 149 B.C. residents are eligible to apply for the small- and medium-sized business grant. Applications close on July 2.

Step three of the province’s reopening plan includes a return to normal indoor and outdoor personal gatherings, a resumption of indoor fitness classes and a return to Canada-wide travel for non-essential purposes.