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

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read