Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions after two months of indoor dining and travel restrictions. (B.C. government)

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions after two months of indoor dining and travel restrictions. (B.C. government)

Full-time jobs rebound, part-timers set back in B.C. COVID-19 recovery

‘Circuit breaker’ restrictions hit younger workers in April, May

B.C.’s full-time employment rebounded by more than 21,000 in May, offset by a loss of more than 23,000 part-time jobs as the province emerged from its COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining and travel after the Victoria Day weekend.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced Friday that B.C.’s small and medium-sized business grant program is over-subscribed, and additional funds have been added to keep it open until July 2, to provide more support to pay or retain employees, build patios and gear up for the first phase of pandemic reopening.

B.C.’s “circuit breaker” grant program expired June 4, after offering up to $10,000 in one-time grants to compensate qualifying hospitality and accommodation businesses for the seven-week travel and indoor service ban. Originally budgeted at $50 million, the short-term relief program is expected to pay out $130 million once all applications are assessed, Kahlon said. One of the issues has been that 40 per cent of circuit breaker applicants did not provide the required banking information, many applying with personal bank accounts rather than business accounts, he said.

The business recovery grant program was launched during last fall’s provincial election campaign, and has been repeatedly altered since then as few businesses found they could qualify by the previous March 31 deadline. Originally businesses had to show a loss of 70 per cent of revenue, but that was lowered to 30 per cent after much of the initial $300 million budget was not allocated.

RELATED: Second overhaul of business program happened in March

RELATED: Circuit breaker restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

With the latest extension, the recovery grant program has committed $290 million to support pandemic-affected businesses, and by the new July 2 deadline it expects to pay out $430 million to more than 20,000 businesses, the ministry says.

Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey reported a net loss of 68,000 jobs across Canada in May, with the unemployment rate remaining at 8.2 per cent. B.C.’s unemployment rate for May is seven per cent. The labour force survey notes that with pandemic restrictions still in place in parts of the country, more people who wanted to work were discouraged from seeking work and showing up in the unemployed statistics.

Kahlon said he has heard from some employers that they are having difficulty finding people to return to work.

“We’re a week into the restart plan,” Kahlon said. “I think there are some workers who have been out of the workforce, and they’ll need a little time to be comfortable coming back.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read