VICTORIA — The B.C. government has eased the eligibility requirements and extended the deadline for small and medium-sized businesses applying for funds under its $345-million pandemic recovery grant program.
Businesses with up to 149 employees must now show a 30% drop in revenue in any one month between March 2020 and the time of application compared with the same time period during the year before.
The grant program previously required businesses to show a 70% drop at some point during March or April last year, plus additional revenue losses of 30% to 50% from May 2020 until their application.
The deadline for businesses to apply has been pushed back from the end of this month to Aug. 31, or until all the money has been spent.
Ravi Kahlon, the minister of jobs and economic recovery, said Thursday the province has been “nimble” with the program and the changes directly follow feedback from the business community.
About $55 million has been distributed through the program so far and an influx of applications hasn’t slowed down, he said, though he couldn’t say how many more businesses may now apply given the latest changes.
“Certainly we have some businesses that have applied that weren’t able to get the funding because they didn’t meet (requirements), and now we’ll be able to call them and tell them that in fact they do have funding available.”
B.C. had previously eased the program’s eligibility rules last December, but a 70% revenue drop last March or April was still required at the time.
Businesses may apply for grants ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, with additional funds available to tourism-related businesses, which Kahlon said represent just over half of applicants to the program so far.
Applications received previously will be reviewed under the new criteria.
In a statement, Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone urged the NDP government to eliminate the requirement that businesses must be at least 18 months old.
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