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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Corridor Foundation says this year’s Holiday Train will be even more brightly lighted when it makes stops to collect donations for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive. (Photo submitted)
Island Corridor Foundation all aboard with Holiday Train supporting toy drive

Charity event supporting Great Nanaimo Toy Drive takes place at two locations Dec. 10

A widened pathway, lighting and other improvements promise to convert a trail through Bowen Park into an urban cycling commuter link as part of a sewerage upgrade project to be carried out in 2021. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo sewer upgrade project will transform trail through Bowen Park

City asking for input into project’s design

Lantzville District Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lantzville moving forward with 7.6-per cent property tax increase

District council passes three readings of financial plan bylaw

War and evil aren’t God-made, they are human-made, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Human choices, not God’s will, cause war

God gave us free will and unfortunately we do not always make good decisions, says letter writer

A Nanaimo driver was sentenced Monday for fatally striking a high school student with his vehicle in 2019. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo driver sentenced after motor vehicle incident that killed teen last year

Brandon Geoffrey Murdoch fined and prohibited from driving for two years

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

Firefighters try to put out a structure fire on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay early Saturday morning. (Nanoose Bay Volunteer Fire Department photo)
Horses in nearby stable saved as building burns down in Nanoose Bay

Firefighters called out in the early-morning hours Saturday

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

Brian McFadden, vice-president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum, shows elements of a new exhibit there that examines some of the horrors and hardships for women and children in prison camps during First and Second World Wars. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Women in prison camps persevered

Letter writer shares her mother’s recollections of prison camp in Java during Second World War

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Most Read