Now that the BC Provincial Election has passed, your advocacy team is taking the government to task on implementing policies and support to help your business.
The elected NDP government campaigned on a SME Recovery Grant, a PST rebate on machinery and equipment, and ensuring critical supports remain available during the pandemic. Here's a summary on how we're urging them to take immediate action on these initiatives.
Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant
Eligibility requirements for this grant are very strict. Businesses must: (1) be currently operating; (2) been in operation for at least 3 years before March 10, 2020; (3) employ 2-149 people; (4) had a revenue loss of 70% during March and April 2020; and (5) had revenue losses of at least 50% since. Other restrictions on eligibility can be found on the provincial website.
We wrote a letter to the BC Finance Minister urging them to take immediate action to fix this grant. You can read the letter by clicking here. Many businesses, including your own, may be in need of this grant but ineligible. We are also raising the issue with media and journalists to raise awareness of the issue and put pressure on the government to take action.
PST Rebate on Machinery and Equipment
Your advocacy team has been pushing for PST to be phased out entirely on machinery and equipment. This promise is a step in the right direction. Starting April 1, 2021, your business will be able to apply for the rebate on machinery and equipment purchases made between September 17, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
We are urging the government to extend the benefit to sole proprietors, who are unable to take advantage of this program as currently structured.
We will also continue to urge the province to develop a plan to phase-out PST on machinery and equipment entirely for businesses. PST on hydro and electricity was entirely phased-out as of April 1, 2019 thanks for CFIB advocacy and pressure to take action. This set precedent for the same to happen for machinery and equipment, and we will continue to advocate for this change.
COVID-19 support for businesses
In their 2020 Election Platform, the NDP government committed to ensuring critical supports remain available through the duration of the pandemic. They also promised they would not hesitate to expand or enhance them as needed.
Back in September, the BC Government and Provincial Health Officer ordered banquet halls and nightclubs to close. They also put additional restrictions on businesses with liquor licenses. Other provinces like Ontario and Quebec have issued even stricter closures of certain commercial sectors. The possibility for that to happen in BC exists. That's why your advocacy team is pushing the government to take action now. This means creating support measures for businesses now to ensure applications can be accepted the same day businesses are ordered closed, if that happens. It would provide greater certainty for your business that help is available and ready to go.
Where does the government and official opposition stand on business priorities?
In advance of the provincial election, your advocacy team reached out to each party with a Leaders' Survey. The 5 key issues the Leaders' Survey focuses on were:
- Implementing recommendations from the 2018 Small Business Tax Force (like minimizing the impact of the Employer Health Tax on small business and revising the PST)
- How will they support businesses if they are forced to close again due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- What will they do to lower the property tax burden and address skyrocketing bills
- Their plan to eventually get back to a balanced budget
- How they will reduce red tape and make it easier to do business in BC
Click on the links below to read each Party's response to our survey. You can also find the documents linked on the right-hand bar of this webpage.