WEST SHORE – Like many other chambers and businesses in the province, we welcomed the news that the provincial government had increased the funding and expanded the eligibility of the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant. The $50 million grant program originally opened on April 12th to support restaurants, cafes, pubs and fitness businesses impacted by the Public Health Orders of March 31st.
After the implementation of travel restrictions on April 24th and the continuation of the PHOs until May 25th, $75 million was added to the fund and the eligibility was expanded to include accommodation providers.
This is great news if you are an impacted business. It is not great news if you are an impacted non-profit.
Non-profits are not eligible to apply for the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant. WestShore Chamber non-profit members impacted by PHOs but ineligible for funding include the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 91 (Langford), West Shore Parks and Recreation and YMCA-YWCA Westhills.
Non-profits are also not eligible to apply for the provincial Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant, which provides grants of $10,000-$30,000 to impacted businesses, with an additional $5,000-$15,000 available for eligible tourism-related businesses.
Non-profits are significant employers and contributors to the economy, to say nothing of their community contribution. According to Statistics Canada, “economic activity in the non-profit sector totalled $169.2 billion in 2017, representing 8.5% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).” Getting back to a healthy economy post-COVID means supporting all sectors of our economy now.
I am writing this article at the end of April, and nothing would delight me more than to learn before publication that what I’ve written is redundant because the province has introduced support for non-profits. In the meantime, the chamber network will continue to advocate in all areas where we see needs or gaps.
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Julie Lawlor is Executive Director at the WestShore Chamber of Commerce.