An Update on COVID-19’s Impact on BC’s Small Business Community

On March 13, alongside our partners at The BC Chamber of Commerce, BC Economic Development Association, and Community Futures BC, Small Business BC launched a survey to understand the specific impacts businesses in our province are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We were blown away by the response we received, with almost 8,000 businesses taking the time to share their feedback. We wanted to share with you some of the data points.


Small Businesses are Facing Big Impacts Immediately

The survey casts in stark light the immediate challenges faced by our small business community. Below are some of the key data points:

  • 90% of businesses are “currently being impacted by COVID-19” (with 75% seeing a significant negative impact)
  • Of those impacted, 83% are seeing a “drop in revenue, business, or deal flow”
  • 58% of respondents are seeing a “decrease in demand for products and services”
  • 91% anticipate a further “decrease in revenue in the near term”
  • 73% of businesses expect their revenues will drop by 50% or more (with nearly a quarter saying revenues will drop by 100%)
  • 64% of respondents expect to reduce their staff levels by over half (with a quarter saying they will be reducing their staff by 100%)

Recommendations to Government to Assist Businesses

Based on these survey results, SBBC and our survey partners have already made the following recommendations to government.

More Flexibility for Tax Remittance

  • Extend the April 30 tax deadline (for those who owe) to take pressure off the system and provide relief.
  • Provide a 6-12-month holiday on paying the EHT to put $950 million – $1.9 billion back in the hands of business, so they can stay open and keep workers employed.
  • Remove the PST for six months on every transaction, or at the very least, for select purchases.

Allow for Delayed Payment of Property Tax

Work with individual municipalities to allow businesses to defer property tax payments to free up cashflow to cover essentials.

Encourage Financial Institutions to Provide More Flexibility

Whether it’s zero interest loans, lines of credit, or deferred payment terms, we recommend government works with banks, credit unions and other lenders such as Community Futures to offer a range of credit options – with deferred payment terms – backed by government.

Enhanced EI Access and Wage Replacement Options

We are encouraged to see developments already taking place in this area. Plans have been detailed allowing for easier access to Employment Insurance for those out of work due to COVID-19.

Provide Funding for Businesses to Work Remotely

Create a provincial fund to help businesses operate remotely and in turn, avoid staffing reductions/layoffs. This is also a future-oriented opportunity—as we recover from COVID-19, some will continue working remotely, which will reduce congestion and help with GHG reduction targets going forward.

Small Business BC is Here to Help

It’s a challenging time for small businesses across British Columbia. Small Business BC is here to help in any way we can, and we’ve put together some useful resources to help navigate the new COVID economy.

A Message from Tom Conway,  CEO, Small Business BC

Small Business BC stands with our community of entrepreneurs and their employees during this difficult time. We will continue to advocate on their behalf to government and communities throughout British Columbia. Against the challenging backdrop of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to sustain their vital contribution to the provincial economy.

Small businesses form the backbone of our economy here in BC, representing 98 per cent of all businesses and employing 57 per cent of all private sector employees. We want this community to know we are here for them and we recommend they continue to refer to our website for up-to-date information, resources and support.


1. Stay Updated with our COVID-19 Resources Page

Updated daily, this page features the latest updates and practical resources for small business – including summaries of any relevant federal and provincial announcements for small business.

2. Download our Business Continuity Checklist

Help minimize the impact of COVID-19 on your employees and operations with this checklist.

3. Join our Digital Meetups

We believe now, more than ever, is a time for small businesses to come together to help each other overcome challenges and find solutions. We are pleased to share our new Digital Meetups, a community video call for small businesses during COVID-19. Join us each working day as we tackle one pressing small business issue relating to COVID-19.

4. Read our Article on Pivoting During a Time of Crisis

In this article, we provide practical ideas and inspiration to help manage your business in this uniquely challenging time.

5. How to Support Your Favourite Small Business During COVID-19

While certain sectors are suffering right now, things will get better. The support we show now can help small businesses weather this storm and emerge to continue serving our communities. This article features six ways you can show support to your favourite small business during COVID-19.

Need Advice? Our Team are Working Remotely to Assist

We want to reassure clients our services are all still available remotely via phone or email. Our staff are working remotely from home, and are standing by to assist in this challenging time. Should you have any questions about our services, please call us at 604-775-5525 or email [email protected]