B.C. businesses ‘in need of life support’ due to coronavirus fallout

The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate businesses across B.C.

A recent poll found that in the last two weeks alone, approximately half of the 1,900 employers surveyed saw revenue decreases of 75 per cent or more, while two-thirds recorded declines of 50 per cent or more.

“There’s no doubt governments want to find the right solution for businesses, but our members are saying, ‘time is of the essence,’” said Val Litwin, CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce, which, along with BC Business Council and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, commissioned what is to be a series of bi-weekly “pulse checks” on the business community.

Nearly one-third of businesses are planning to cancel contracts, or have had contracts or tenders cancelled, the survey found.

“Each passing day represents a critical juncture for many employers, as they are making difficult decisions and waiting for government support to arrive,” Greater Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Bridgitte Anderson said.

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“We need a bridge to the other side of this crisis that will help to hasten the economic recovery when the public health emergency subsides.”

More than 50 per cent of the survey respondents said they’re worried they won’t be able to pay off debts or that they won’t financially be able to restart once the pandemic ends.

About a quarter of respondents said they’re looking at shifting to online, digital, or e-commerce options, or have moved there already.

In releasing the survey results, the business advocacy groups listed their top recommendations to government, including providing direct payments to affected businesses; an immediate reduction in rates for employment insurance, company taxes, personal tax, GST, other government imposed levies or charges; and a further reduction of tax rates and defer payments for both B.C. businesses and homes.

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