COVID relief subsidies =can help this business survive

Budget 2021: COVID relief subsidies and benefits

In the fourth in a series of programs about Canada’s 2021 Budget, Rachel Blaney, MP for North Island Powell River talks about the temporary COVID Relief subsidies and benefits.

Rachel Blaney, MP For North Island – Powell River

COVID’s Economic impact

More than half a milion Canadians have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. 

According to the Canadian government, the vast majority were working poor.

Local people would have normally worked in the aquaculture sector, or the marine tourism, or places like Hollyhock were unemployed.

The Government’s Response

The Canadian government responded to this situation with a number of temporary COVID relief programs such as the recovery benefits, rent and other subsidies in which are currently in place until early next fall.

One of these programs, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep working. A significant number of them are on Cortes Island, Quadra Island and Campbell River. This subsidy was set to expired in June, but the new Federal Budget proposes to extend it until September 25, 2021.

The Uncertainty

“I am happy to see the extension for some of the programs that really support businesses, but it does only go to that date in September, The most stressful thing I hear from constituents, all the time, is we do not know when it is going to get better. We see it is extended, but this government has the flexibility to respond if things don’t get better,”  said Rachel Blaney.

She continued, “As for Canada Recovery Benefits for individuals, it is a little concerning. For those folks, it can be a lot concerning. Right now they qualify for $500 a week to support their families and the government is going to be cutting it down to $300 a week. That’s a big difference if that is what is keeping your lights on, your rent paid and again it is not knowing when it going to get better. Not knowing when you r area of work is going to get better.” 

She would like to see a more substantive support for tourism because they cannot invite people to take advantage of opportunities. 

“Hotels are literally calling people and saying you cannot come if you are from this area or that area. That’s BC jurisdiction, I understand that, but the impact on these places is going to be profound – especially for local tourism operators and hotels.” 

After the pandemic

“If we do not have these businesses here, able to pick up when the pandemic ends,  we are going to be in a lot of trouble. How do you rebuild? How do you get the economy moving if everybody is starting from scratch? We need these businesses here to get through the next part.” 

“They were viable to this, they will be viable after. We need to support them through this tough time.”  

Links of Interest

Top photo credit: An Orca seen near Campbell River during an expedition with BC Whale Tours – by synspectrum via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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