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

COVID-19 support service launched for B.C. businesses
File photo.
Small businesses in BC will now have access to a one-stop-shop for information about resources during COVID-19

The provincial government is helping launch the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service, a one-stop-shop for businesses to access information on resources during the pandemic.

The new support service is operated by the non-profit Small Business BC (SBBC), and can answer questions about the various supports available to businesses from the provincial and federal governments, industry and community partners.

Michelle Mungall, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness, is encouraging people in the business community to reach out to SBBC for help.

“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 Mungall,  “There are multiple programs available, including the B.C. government’s COVID-19 Action Plan, to support businesses through these challenging times.”

This comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces the expansion of business loans to help small businesses with their rent.

SBBC is expanding its services to respond to meet the needs of more than 500,000 small  B.C. businesses, with extended hours and a live chat feature on their dedicated website.

“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.”

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

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 is continuing its usual service, like access to business advisors, educational services, and free resources regarding 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.”

SBBC says the support service will provide employers with resource information that they can pass on to 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.

For more information about SBBC and support for businesses during the pandemic, visit the COVID-19 dedicated website.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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