Since launching BC’s Small- and Medium- Sized Recovery Grant program in October, we have heard from the small business community that the program could be enhanced to help more businesses. Our government listened to that feedback, and I am happy to tell you that we have made a number of changes to the program that will help more businesses get help more quickly.
Overall, the changes have simplified the application process and streamline criteria. Businesses that have already submitted applications do not have to reapply, and their applications will be reviewed under the revised criteria. Key changes include:
- Lowering the requirement for the amount of time a business had to have been in operation from three years to 18 months.
- Removing the requirement to list a number of remittance accounts such as GST, PST, and WorkSafeBC registration numbers.
- Extended the grants to sole proprietors with fixed costs.
- Expanding the revenue requirements to include businesses that continue to earn 30 percent or less in revenue.
- Streamlining the required recovery plan to a two-page form.
- Increasing the total amount of funding to $345M from $300M, which includes a $100M envelope for the tourism sector and a top up of up to $15,000 for tourism businesses.
The program is already providing targeted financial support for some of the hardest hit businesses in BC. The program runs until August 31st, 2021, or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much are the grants under this program?
A $10,000 to $30,000 grant is available to eligible small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses.
Do businesses need to pay back these grants?
No these grants are non repayable. The purpose of these grants is to provide businesses with financial relief from the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.
How do I know if my business is eligible?
A business must meet all eligibility criteria to receive a base grant:
- Majority share of the business is owned by one or more B.C. residents
- Business has been operating in B.C. for at least 18 months as of the date of application
- Business’s sole or primary operations are located and conducted in B.C., is registered in B.C., is current and pays taxes in B.C.
- Business is currently operating (seasonal or temporarily closed businesses are also eligible)
- Business employs up to 149 people in B.C. for at least four months of the calendar year
> Includes businesses that had employees or contracted staff prior to February 1, 2020
> Businesses such as sole proprietorships and partnerships that do not have staff must have fixed costs related to tangible assets: property, plant or equipment
- Business had positive cash flow for the last financial statement, prior to February 1, 2020
- Business experienced revenue losses compared to the same period of 2019 of:
>At least 70% at some point during March or April 2020 and
>At least 30% at some point during May 2020 to present
**As of March 3rd The previous requirement for a business to have experienced at least a 70% revenue loss at some point in March or April 2020 has been adjusted. Now, a business is required to demonstrate only a 30% revenue loss in any one month between March 2020 to the point of application**
- Business’s ownership has not prepared the business for closure, dissolution or for sale following February 1, 2020
To receive the tourism grant top-up, a business must meet all base grant eligibility criteria and declare that a majority (50% or more) of their business is tourism-related as defined in the eligibility criteria.
Tourism-related businesses are those that cater to persons travelling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure business and other purposes.
A list of eligible tourism sector and accommodation businesses is online.
Businesses may determine their eligibility and find out what they need to apply online here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant
How does the program work?
Step 1: Apply Businesses apply for funding online.
Step 2: Develop a plan If eligible, a business must develop a recovery plan. Professional service providers are available to help businesses plan for their recovery as needed.
Step 3: Receive funding Once a recovery plan is submitted and approved, funding is provided to implement plan.
Step 4: Report Businesses may be asked to submit to an audit of their recovery efforts and spending supported by the grant funding
I am worried about the work/cost involved in developing a recovery plan
If you applied and it is determined that you’re eligible, you’ll be asked to develop a recovery plan. Professional service providers are available to help businesses with the recovery plan as needed. You also have the option to use your own service provider
Once your recovery plan is submitted and reviewed, approved businesses will receive grant funding for their plan- including up to $2000 for the costs associated with developing the plan.
What documents are needed to apply for this grant?
- Shareholder register or Certificate of Incorporation which must specifically include city where shareholders are located. Include one of the following:
- Central Securities Register
- T2-Schedule 50 Shareholder Information
- T1-T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities
- Payroll documents from September 1, 2019 to now. Documents must demonstrate the number of B.C. residents employed or subcontracted including initials, city, wage, and deductions for each employee, if applicable. Include one of the following:
- T4 Statement of Remuneration Paid
- PD7A Payroll filing documents
- Payroll or cheque run
Include the following documents:
- Current year plus the two preceding years’ financial statements including:
- Balance sheet
- Income statement
- Statement of cash flows (if available)
- Past 24 months actual monthly revenue (18 months for businesses operating less than 24 months)
- Business tax returns from the last two reporting years 2018 (if applicable) and 2019, specifically:
- Notices of Assessment
- For incorporated businesses, the first section of the T2 return
- For unincorporated businesses, the first section of the owners’ T1 return (Form 5010-R) and T2125 Statement of Business or Professional Activities
Please note, seasonal businesses should provide information relevant to their specific business cycle.
What can I use this grant for?
Funding can be used to implement the actions identified in your recovery plan. For example, you might propose to:
- Provide new services to your customers
- Modify your physical business location
- Install new outdoor patio with social distancing barriers
- Support your business moving online
- Hire an online marketing service
Funds can be used to support fixed costs such as rent/lease or other overhead costs.
Who can I contact for further support?
Start your online application here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant