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

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read