Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions after two months of indoor dining and travel restrictions. (B.C. government)

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions after two months of indoor dining and travel restrictions. (B.C. government)

Full-time jobs rebound, part-timers set back in B.C. COVID-19 recovery

‘Circuit breaker’ restrictions hit younger workers in April, May

B.C.’s full-time employment rebounded by more than 21,000 in May, offset by a loss of more than 23,000 part-time jobs as the province emerged from its COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining and travel after the Victoria Day weekend.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced Friday that B.C.’s small and medium-sized business grant program is over-subscribed, and additional funds have been added to keep it open until July 2, to provide more support to pay or retain employees, build patios and gear up for the first phase of pandemic reopening.

B.C.’s “circuit breaker” grant program expired June 4, after offering up to $10,000 in one-time grants to compensate qualifying hospitality and accommodation businesses for the seven-week travel and indoor service ban. Originally budgeted at $50 million, the short-term relief program is expected to pay out $130 million once all applications are assessed, Kahlon said. One of the issues has been that 40 per cent of circuit breaker applicants did not provide the required banking information, many applying with personal bank accounts rather than business accounts, he said.

The business recovery grant program was launched during last fall’s provincial election campaign, and has been repeatedly altered since then as few businesses found they could qualify by the previous March 31 deadline. Originally businesses had to show a loss of 70 per cent of revenue, but that was lowered to 30 per cent after much of the initial $300 million budget was not allocated.

RELATED: Second overhaul of business program happened in March

RELATED: Circuit breaker restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

With the latest extension, the recovery grant program has committed $290 million to support pandemic-affected businesses, and by the new July 2 deadline it expects to pay out $430 million to more than 20,000 businesses, the ministry says.

Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey reported a net loss of 68,000 jobs across Canada in May, with the unemployment rate remaining at 8.2 per cent. B.C.’s unemployment rate for May is seven per cent. The labour force survey notes that with pandemic restrictions still in place in parts of the country, more people who wanted to work were discouraged from seeking work and showing up in the unemployed statistics.

Kahlon said he has heard from some employers that they are having difficulty finding people to return to work.

“We’re a week into the restart plan,” Kahlon said. “I think there are some workers who have been out of the workforce, and they’ll need a little time to be comfortable coming back.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Kelowna General Hospital. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna General Hospital declared over

Three people tested positive for the virus — two patients and one staff — one of whom died

A crash at the intersection of Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road on June 15. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Traffic stalled by Harvey Avenue crash in Kelowna

One lane is open as crews clean up after crash at Harvey Avenue and Leckie Road

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read