What will provincial candidates in Nanaimo do for small business? That’s a question The Discourse heard after we asked what questions you have for provincial election candidates.
We sent the question to candidates in the Nanaimo riding. B.C. Liberal candidate Kathleen Jones did not respond to the request by the deadline. We will update this story if we receive a response.
The Discourse is offering pop-up election coverage in Nanaimo based on feedback from residents. Sign up to get our stories straight to your inbox. If enough people want us to continue in-depth coverage in Nanaimo, we’ll stick around.
Lia Versaevel, B.C. Green Party
The impact of the pandemic on small businesses has been catastrophic. Some have been able to re-tool or create virtual shops, but many have lost staff who may never return. We must build resiliency into small businesses, just as we do with infrastructure in other sectors of the economy. We must create a small business bank with a savings program much like the RRSP concept. SBSP – Small business Savings Plans. Small businesses could put aside income, and not be taxed on it, as a safety net for economic downturns. Chambers of Commerce and like organizations could monitor collective investments in this way, so that there is a co-operative resource created. Funds withdrawn would be subject to tax, but only when they are taken out. For months, hairdressers and estheticians, for example, were unable to operate. Had there been a co-operative, to get them through the many weeks of not being able to see clients, some of them could have survived. So many small businesses operate on a thin margin of profitability. Overhead including rents and equipment, phone lines and infrastructure, insurance and utilities, make many wonder why they are in business at all, aside from the fact that they love what they do, and are passionate about providing the services they offer. If local communities are not in a position to create these cooperatives, provincial resources can be established in cooperation with the Canada Revenue Agency federally, to encourage such savings programs.
Sheila Malcolmson, B.C. NDP
When COVID hit, our BC NDP government worked hard to keep people safe and get the help they needed. Relaxing patio rules and rent support helped, for example. Now we’re building a Stronger BC recovery, supporting small businesses and sustainable jobs by providing:
$300M in Small Business Recovery grant, protecting 200,000 jobs; $12M for businesses to boost e-commerce operations and increase digital marketing capacity; $21M for galleries and theatres; 15% refundable tax credit to help businesses grow and rehire employees; Temporary PST rebate on machinery and equipment to facilitate business investments in productivity; Targeted skills training in high-demand fields to support stable jobs; Hiring incentive, including for people with disabilities.
And I will keep learning from our Chamber, VIEA, Hospitality Association and TourismVI, advancing their ideas to Victoria, to keep moving BC forward for all of us. The ocean plastics cleanup I launched last month came from north coast tourism operators, just the kind of innovation we want to partner on more. There is still more to do and the BCNDP will support working people through the recovery and addressing the gaps the pandemic has exposed, so we emerge more resilient than before.