BC Chamber and partners asked businesses to offer feedback on COVID-19 impacts. (BC Chamber)

BC Chamber led survey shows businesses are in a ‘dire state’

Due to COVID-19, around a million people in Canada applied for EI last week

A BC Chamber-led survey paints a dire picture of what businesses are experiencing through the virus pandemic.

BC Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Small Business BC, the BC Economic Development Association, and Community Futures BC, launched a survey on March 13, to understand what businesses in BC were experiencing due to COVID-19 and to hear solutions.

In a March 19 release, the chamber shared statistics and responses provided by almost 8000 businesses. Final results can be found here.

90 percent of businesses are currently being impacted by the pandemic, the survey found.

Out of those impacted, 83 percent are seeing a ‘drop in revenue, business or deal flow’.

In the Nechako and North Coast region, 63 percent respondents to the survey said they were ‘having a significant economic impact on their businesses.’

Eighty-nine percent respondents in the same region said they ‘anticipate their business will be impacted in the near future’.

In terms of what the government can do, 52 percent said they should get more flexibility around timelines for tax remittances (eliminate late remittance penalties); 40 percent said they want the government to work with banks/lending institutions to offer zero interest loans, loan guarantees or lines of credit.

38 percent want government to enhance EI access or wage replacement for employees.

Here is the the full survey and recommendations per region.

In the March 19 release, BC Chamber of Commerce said that the survey revealed, “that self-employed and/or contract workers are gravely concerned, due to their ineligibility for Employment insurance.”

“One respondent says,’I am the only full-time employee, and I may need to close my business, potentially go bankrupt and lose $100,000 investment. I’ve paid into EI my entire life, except for the last year since starting my business. What services are available to me during this incredibly challenging time?’”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a new benefit on March 25, to streamline aid for Canadians who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils new $2,000 per month benefit to streamline COVID-19 aid

This aid will replace the two announced last week as part of the $82-billion funding package.

Canadians who have lost their jobs will receive $2,000 in aid, that will last four months and application for this will be available on April 6, Trudeau said.

Around one million people have applied for EI in the past week due to the crisis.

People who qualify for the money include workers who are sick, quarantined or have been laid off due to COVID-19, parents with sick family members, children or kids who must stay home because schools and daycares are closed, and who are self-employed and losing work or closing up shop due to the virus.

Trudeau said workers who still have jobs, but have seen their pay cut, will also qualify.

Are you a local business in Vanderhoof, Fort St. James or Fraser Lake, and want to share your concerns with the Omineca Express or Caledonia Courier, email the Editor at aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com.

With files from Katya Slepian.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express


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