COVID-19 support service launched for B.C. businesses

Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness

BC Government News Release

Thursday, April 16 2020

A new B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service will serve as a single point of contact for businesses throughout the province looking for information on resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service will be operated by Small Business BC (SBBC), a non-profit organization that is well known and respected by the business community. The service will act as a one-stop resource to answer questions about supports available to businesses from the provincial and federal governments, industry and community partners.

"We know that business owners are worried about paying their bills and covering their payrolls, and our government is doing everything we can to help," said Michelle Mungall, B.C.'s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness. "There are multiple programs available, including the B.C. government's COVID-19 Action Plan, to support businesses through these challenging times. I encourage people in the business community to reach out to Small Business BC to learn more."

Throughout B.C. there are over 500,000 small businesses that contribute significantly to B.C.'s communities and economy. To respond to the needs of these small businesses, and all other businesses around the province, SBBC will offer expanded services.

Starting on Thursday, April 16, 2020, advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1 833 254-4357. Inquiries can also be emailed to covid@smallbusinessbc.ca, or raised on the live-chat feature available on SBBC's dedicated website: https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca

 

* Small Business BC supports small business owners throughout B.C. to grow successful and sustainable businesses through expert advisors, educational services and easy-to-use free tools.

* Funding for the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service has been provided by the B.C. government ($250,000) and the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada ($100,000).

* This funding will be used to provide system and hardware updates and hire additional staff to help field inquiries.

* The service will be in place from April 16 to June 30, 2020.

* B.C.'s COVID-19 Action Plan builds on the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan and brings aid to British Columbians.

* The plan provides $5 billion that focuses on services to protect people's health and safety, bringing financial relief for people and businesses.

* It will also build B.C.'s plan for economic recovery in partnership with the business community.

* Under the COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada has announced multiple financial support measures for individuals and businesses.

* This includes making $10 billion available to small businesses through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada and working with the financial sector to increase lending capacity by $300 billion for small businesses across the country.

 

Support is available in multiple languages and a call-back feature will be in place to help manage high call volumes.

"The immediate impacts of COVID-19 are being felt by businesses across the province," said Tom Conway, CEO, Small Business BC. "This new support service will help businesses connect quickly with our existing programs and services, and also learn about the supports being provided by the federal and provincial governments."

SBBC's dedicated website will include announcements from industry and community partners, as well as a variety of resources, including webinars and practical tools. In addition, SBBC will continue to provide its usual service, like access to expert business advisors, educational services, and free resources in the context of COVID-19.

"We're working closely with businesses and workers across the country to assess and address the impact of COVID-19," said Melanie Joly, federal Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. "Our message to them is clear: we're here for you now with concrete measures, like the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service, we'll be here for you in the days and weeks to come and we'll get through this together."

Support for businesses and their employees is a top priority for both governments. The support service will provide employers with information on resources available that they can share with their staff.

"We know that B.C.'s usually thriving tourism industry has been hit hard by COVID-19," said Lisa Beare, B.C.'s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. "This support service will help B.C.'s tourism sector manage the impacts of this virus and be ready to welcome visitors back to our province, when it is safe to explore B.C. again."

The B.C. Business Covid-19 Support Service is supported by the B.C. government and the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada. As the situation evolves, both governments will continue to support businesses and take further action as needed.

For more information on the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service, including access to the dedicated website and resources area, visit: https://covid.smallbusinessbc.ca

For more information on Small Business BC's regular services, such as educational webinars, access to expert business advisors, and more small business resources, visit: https://smallbusinessbc.ca/

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twtter.

For provincial health officer's orders, notices and guidance, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/phoguidance

For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid-19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.

For more information on the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, visit: www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html(https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html)