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HomeNewsPandemic supports process was too onerous for businesses: Chamber CEO

Pandemic supports process was too onerous for businesses: Chamber CEO

The province says more than $530 million went into the pockets of local business owners through COVID-19 supports.

However, Prince George Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Corrigall said those programs were incredibly undersubscribed.

“A lot of that money, we still are not sure where it has flowed to, and we are unaware of how quickly that money flowed out,” Corrigall said.

“Certainly here, we heard from business that applied multiple times for different grant programs from the provincial government who never even heard back or heard back a month later.”

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Corrigall added that some businesses found the process to applying was too onerous.

“The request for information were both challenging, but also required them to pay external sources to get that information,” he said.

“In one respect you don’t know if what you’re applying for will be received but you’re incurring costs in getting to that point. The programs themselves were designed in such a way that was so incredibly challenging for businesses to access at a time when ease would have been the right path.”

He said they heard from businesses that they started to undertake the process, and backed away when they saw how much was laid out in the process.

“I think there was certainly an opportunity to take a more proactive approach to helping businesses through the pandemic, and unfortunately, the review that was announced the other day is not going to take a lot of  that into account, because it’s specifically the policy, and the rate at which government would release new barriers or challenges to businesses, but then would take a week or weeks to release any reciprocal funding announcements with it, and it was only after they took enough public heat that they would look at those programs.”

 

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