The Parksville and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce hosted a virtual forum last week, to help businesses affected by COVID-19, with 60 people taking part.
Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce president Jeannie Maltesen said they’re currently working on putting together a regional business recovery plan and that information from the forum aims to give business owners and community members information on how to move forward, as well as a chance to share their concerns and experiences.
“As you all know, it’s a really difficult time for everybody and our first priority as a chamber is to make sure that we’re here for businesses in our community and to let you know that we’re working hard with other chambers and the government to lobby for supports that businesses need to survive,” she said.
Government officials in attendance were MP Gord Johns, MLA Michelle Stilwell, Parksville mayor Ed Mayne, Qualicum Beach Coun. Adam Walker and Qualicum Beach Coun. Scott Harrison.
One person asked the following in the chat: “Hello, as a senior that runs a café, from all the information that my wife and I have seen, we do not qualify for any of the funding available. We are small business and so far have been fortunate enough to still stay open. Our income is drastically cut. There are other seniors that run small business.”
“A lot of people are proprietors and they don’t put themselves on payroll, they look at what their profit is at the end of the year and they file like that or they get paid on dividends,” said Johns about the Canadian Emergency Business Account. “These are frustrating programs and we’re constantly bringing this to the attention of government.”
Provincial and federal supports have been created for businesses, but not everyone is eligible. The CEBA loan program provides $40,000 interest-free loans to businesses but you’re exempt if your payroll was less than $20,000 during the last fiscal year. The 75 per cent wage subsidy program doesn’t work for some businesses who have no revenue because of having to close down.