B.C. businesses have used creativity and innovation to rethink and retool in the continually changing landscape of COVID-19. Government is here to support B.C. businesses who need it now and help all businesses move into a resilient future. B.C. businesses continue to have access to supports and services through Budget 2021, especially those hit hardest by COVID-19.
HELPING B.C. BUSINESSES THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
HELPING B.C. BUSINESSES THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
Budget 2021 funds ongoing business supports initiated through the StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan to help B.C. businesses through the pandemic and help them prepare for recovery. Ongoing business supports include:
- $150 million for the StrongerBC Increased Employment Incentive tax credit.
- $35 million to help B.C. farmers keep the temporary foreign workers supporting B.C.’s crop harvesting safe from COVID-19.
- $10 million to expand the Grow BC, Feed BC, Buy BC strategy to strengthen and expand the domestic market for B.C. products.
These investments build on the supports included in the Fall 2020 StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan:
- $44 million for Launch Online, connecting businesses with B.C. technology companies to create or improve their e-commerce and provide digital marketing training to help businesses boost their online sales.
- $10 million to increase value-added manufacturing in B.C. by supporting small- and medium-sized businesses to make their products more accessible to customers and an additional $6 million in grants for businesses to help strengthen B.C.’s supply chain.
- $7.5 million to support B.C.'s growing agri-tech industry.
- $7 million to expand B.C.’s food hub network and support farm innovation and food processing.
- An ongoing PST exemption on capital investments on select equipment and machinery to help businesses pivot or upgrade operations, with an anticipated 110,000 incorporated B.C. businesses eligible.
- An average 25% cut to commercial property taxes in 2020.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Assistance program, cost shared with the federal government, which supported businesses until the end of Summer 2020.
Supporting B.C.’s hardest hit sectors
Many different sectors have faced particular challenges over the course of the pandemic, and the Province has responded with supports that fit their unique needs. We will continue to support the sectors that have been hardest hit through the remainder of the pandemic and into recovery.
Tourism investments support the recovery of a sector in which groups that have been disproportionately affected represent a significant part of the workforce:
- In Fall 2020, the StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan included over $70 million in tourism relief and recovery measures, including investments to help municipalities build, adapt and diversify their tourism infrastructure and to help local Indigenous tourism businesses.
There is also $100 million of the Small- and Medium-sized Business Grant funding announced in the fall targeted at tourism operators.
To help the B.C. tourism sector prepare for a strong future, Budget 2021 will invest:
- $100 million to support tourism recovery, including support for major anchor attractions that help make British Columbia such a unique destination.
- An additional $20 million for community destination development grants that will help communities prepare for future visitors through new tourism infrastructure, like trails and airport improvements.
Arts and culture
Government has worked closely with leaders in B.C.’s arts and entertainment communities to develop targeted recovery funding and has already invested $22.5 million through AmplifyBC for B.C.’s music industry, and $35 million to support arts and culture organizations. Budget 2021 builds on these investments by doubling the budget for the Arts Infrastructure Program, which will provide $6 million to support arts and culture organization recovery.
Restaurants and hospitality
Restaurants and the hospitality industry have continually adapted to the changing landscape of the pandemic, often quickly with updated Provincial Health Officer orders. Government is supporting the restaurant and hospitality industry by:
- Supporting 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres with more than $50 million through Circuit Breaker Business Recovery Grants.
- Issuing a temporary cap on fees charged to restaurants by food deliver companies to 15%.
- Hiring hundreds of tourism and hospitality staff laid off through the pandemic to support with B.C.’s immunization plan as non-clinical staff.