It’s expected that new start-up businesses in B.C. that began at the time when the COVID-pandemic began, including many of those in the Chemainus Public Market, will soon be eligible for provincial COVID funding programs for the first time. (File photo)

It’s expected that new start-up businesses in B.C. that began at the time when the COVID-pandemic began, including many of those in the Chemainus Public Market, will soon be eligible for provincial COVID funding programs for the first time. (File photo)

Help may be on the way for start-ups impacted by pandemic

Province heeds concerns raised by North Cowichan mayor

A recent conversation between municipal officials in North Cowichan and Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne appears to have potentially helped reap significant economic benefits for many new businesses in B.C.

At a council meeting on June 2, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said that in a virtual meeting between himself, CAO Ted Swabey and senior officials from Osborne’s office in late May, the officials informed them that the province is moving forward with plans to see that businesses that began operations near or at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic will qualify for financial compensation for the fist time from the government’s circuit-breaker restart program.

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Siebring told council last month that he had pointed out to Osborne during a meeting that businesses in B.C. that started in late 2019 or early 2020 and don’t have a full year’s income record, in terms of tax filing, for 2019 are not eligible for COVID-19 financial assistance in any form from either the province or Ottawa.

He specifically mentioned the new businesses that opened their doors in the new Chemainus Public Market, located in the old Chemainus Foods building, in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.

Most of them were new start-ups who don’t have tax records from 2019 because they didn’t exist in 2019, so they have not been eligible for help with rent or wage subsidies under the current government programs.

Osborne indicated to Siebring that she has the same issues with some start-ups in her constituency and that she’d flag the matter for the minister responsible for the file.

“It hasn’t been determined how the particulars will work out yet, but letters explaining the circuit-breaker restart program will be sent to the landlord at the Chemainus Public Market, and the business owners at the market,” Siebring told council on June 2.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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