‘We need it now’: some small businesses still waiting for BC government grants


VANCOUVER – COVID-19 has taken its toll on businesses, especially small businesses. The pandemic restrictions forced them to cut capacity, cut hours or even shut down entirely. Now, some companies are reporting a significant delay in the time it takes for the relief funds, promised by the provincial government, to end up in their bank accounts.

“We are very grateful that these grants exist,” said Dan Webster, co-owner of Container Brewing. “But we need them now, we basically needed them when they were announced.”

Container Brewing opened on Franklin Street in East Vancouver at the end of 2019 and only operated a few months before the pandemic hit.

Since then, it has been a roller coaster ride trying to comply with changing restrictions and pandemic protocols. Currently, it can accommodate people on the patio or sell beer to take away from the counter. He applied for both the Business Breaker Relief Grant and the Small Business Stimulus Grant offered by the provincial government, as soon as they were available. According to Webster, the company has been approved for both and is eligible for tens of thousands of dollars, but weeks later it is still waiting for the money.

“This doesn’t become a collection grant as much as it is a replacement for our bank account grant,” Webster said. “We are not alone in this case, I know there are a number of other breweries in our industry that have yet to receive a single penny, and it is not that we have waited, we applied that morning he was available to apply and saw nothing.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, only 37% of small businesses in British Columbia have normal sales for this time of year. That is why he is maintaining pressure on the provincial governments and Ottawa to speed up these payments.

“Small businesses really keep their doors open by accumulating debt, and subsidy programs at the provincial and federal levels just don’t scratch the surface,” said Annie Dormuth of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “We still hear from small businesses that there is some delay in receiving payments.”

According to the Department of Employment, Economic Recovery and Innovation, more than 11,200 companies have applied for the breaker relief grant and about 4,900 have been approved for nearly $ 50 million in combined grants. Over 16,600 businesses have applied for the Small and Medium Business Takeover Grant and over 8,800 businesses have been approved. This resulted in over $ 190 million in approved grants.

In a statement provided to CTV News, the ministry said, “On average, a circuit breaker grant takes about three weeks to process and a small and medium-sized business grant application takes around six weeks to process. These deadlines include filing. funds in the company’s account. A grant application may take longer if certain information is omitted or entered incorrectly during the application process. For example, if bank account numbers are entered incorrectly. incorrect or if the name of the bank account does not match the name of the requester, it may cause processing delays. “


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