Business in Vancouver: Pandemic recovery measures may not save B.C.’s most vulnerable sectors, critics fear

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“We’re pleased that the government has taken some of our advice … and we’re encouraged by some of the short-term actions that they’ve announced today,” said Greg D’Avignon, CEO of the Business Council of BC (BCBC).

But he said the plan lacks non-monetary strategies for positioning B.C. for longer term recovery.

“There’s no talk about the non-monetary things they could be doing … around how do we get the big GDP [gross domestic product] drivers in the economy up and running,” D’Avignon said.

Missing from the plan, he said, is a strategy to “unshackle the balance sheets of the private sector and create investment certainty and regulatory efficiency going forward.”

Earlier this year the B.C. government approved $5 billion in emergency spending to support people and businesses affected by the pandemic lockdown. It included $1.5 billion set aside for economic recovery, the details of which were announced last week.

Recovery spending actually exceeds $1.5 billion, if you include an additional $500 million for a new high-tech strategic investment fund, and $660 million in foregone revenue from tax breaks and incentives.

But no amount of spending or tax relief will save certain hard-hit businesses, such as nightclubs, from going under if government restrictions on indoor public gatherings and cross-border travel remain in place much longer.

As published in Business in Vancouver.