Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is seen during a campaign stop at Larry's Market grocery store, in North Vancouver, on Oct. 4, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Businesses in B.C. will learn later this week if they can apply for pandemic relief under the province’s $300-million recovery grant program, the head of the public service promised Monday.

For weeks, business leaders have sought assurances that the province’s economic recovery package would be implemented despite the provincial election campaign now underway, which has left the government in caretaker mode.

On Monday, The Globe and Mail reported that financial aid is unlikely to be delivered until all the ballots in the Oct. 24 vote are counted, new ministers are appointed and applications for the programs are vetted – meaning most of the funds would not be disbursed until the end of the year. And that is only if the NDP wins re-election.

Story continues below advertisement

The report prompted a response from Don Wright, the top unelected official in government, who said in a statement that some parts of the package are being implemented already.

However, the three key programs that businesses are looking to for emergency cash flow are still in the works. A $50-million fund for tourism won’t be distributed until a task force makes recommendations at the end of the year. Applications for the $90-million Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP) will close after election day. Criteria and instructions on how to apply for the $300-million for small- and medium-business recovery grants will be posted later this week, and it is not yet clear when that cash will be available.

The grant program was a key feature of the $2-billion economic recovery package that was announced just days before Premier John Horgan called a snap election on Sept. 21. The province has already lost tens of thousands of jobs and the funding was designed to avert further losses by flowing money through to struggling employers.

When he announced the recovery plan, Mr. Horgan dismissed the suggestion that an election would lead to delay. “The monies are approved, ratified and they are going to be going out the door as quickly as possible," he said.

The package includes 55 different programs, and Mr. Wright said the public service is working on implementation. “The timing of this is not affected by the current election,” Mr. Wright said in a statement.

However, potential applicants have been told to expect delays. An Oct. 1 notice to stakeholders seeking access to CERIP, signed by the deputy minister for tourism, says it will be up to the new minister to approve grants.

Mr. Horgan, the NDP leader, is under fire for calling an election before the economic recovery funds were distributed.

Story continues below advertisement

Andrew Wilkinson, the Liberal Leader, noted that the relief funds were unanimously approved by the B.C. Legislature seven months ago. “In March, we decided as an opposition party it was time to fight the virus not fight each other, so we co-operated with the government on the pandemic response,” he said Monday.

“John Horgan then sat on it and came out with his alleged plan three days before calling an election, which means that it cannot be implemented until at least December, if he wins. So our unfortunate small-business community – especially tourism and hospitality – has been left completely high and dry after the worst summer of their lives.”

If the Liberals form the next government, Mr. Wilkinson said, he would want to rethink the funds. His party has already promised to suspend the provincial sales tax for one year – a move that would cost the treasury almost $7-billion.

“Obviously, there’ll be a regrouping if we’re fortunate enough to form government, and come out with a program that is along the lines of what we’ve already announced,” he said. “We need bold action now to revive our economy because it’s at great risk, as the second [pandemic] wave comes in.”

Sonia Furstenau, the BC Green Party Leader, said Mr. Horgan should have known that an election would make implementation of the funding programs challenging.

“This snap election undermines all of the excellent work that has been done in the legislature this year, in which all three parties very much rose above partisanship,” she said. “We recognized that during this global pandemic and economic downturn, we need to focus our efforts on ensuring that the people and the businesses in this province are able to survive through this period that we’re in.”

Story continues below advertisement

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Coronavirus information
Coronavirus information
The Zero Canada Project provides resources to help you manage your health, your finances and your family life as Canada reopens.
Visit the hub

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies