Whistler Chamber Supports First Steps in Province’s Economic Recovery Plan

September 21, 2020


“We appreciate that government sees this as the next step, not the final step, in the road to recovery.” says Dan Baxter, Director of Policy and Government Relations.

Last week, the provincial government shared details of its Economic Recovery Plan, Stronger BC. In addition to broad consultation and recommendations, the Stronger BC Plan took into consideration the BC Chamber of Commerce Economic Recovery Submission, which urged big thinking needed to keep BC competitive, innovative, and inclusive. The Whistler Chamber also submitted a letter in support of this submission.

“We’re pleased to see the Stronger BC Plan address some of the BC Chamber’s key recommendations.” says Dan Baxter, Director of Policy Development and Government & Stakeholder Relations at the BC Chamber of Commerce. “PST on machinery & equipment was on our members’ minds, so this is a significant win for our network to help boost productivity, and the SME recovery grant, if targeted right, does help by recognizing that small business needs relief not more debt. We appreciate that government sees this as the next step, not the final step, in the road to recovery.”

Key wins for the BC Chamber Network include:

  • 100 per cent PST rebate to buy machines and equipment. The list of equipment means many businesses could qualify, reaching almost every sector of the economy.
  • Further investments in the Connecting British Columbia Program. Enhancing connectivity along major routes and for rural communities is a way BC can continue to be prosperous.
  • Small and medium sized business recovery grant. Businesses cannot take on more debt, and initiatives like this grant will help support businesses to keep the lights on. SME’s need a viable path forward, and for those who qualify, this is a step in the right direction.

Other Stronger BC wins include:

  • Helping B.C. businesses adapt. Supporting businesses in moving to online shops and e-commerce operations will be instrumental in helping them address this crisis and future downturns.
  • Tax incentives to hire more workers. BC needs to bring back good jobs and hire more workers. The 15 per cent tax credit will be an incentive to encourage this.

“As Whistler’s economy is primarily based on tourism, we were pleased to hear that the government is recognizing the significance of BC’s tourism sector,” says Melissa Pace, CEO of the Whistler Chamber. “We were also pleased to see that the first steps in the province’s Economic Recovery Plan include recovery grants and tax credits, which will put money back in the pockets of our business community.  We are still going to need significant long term support, and we look forward to continuing to work with government to find the necessary solutions to get our community through this.”

More support is still critical for tourism, and while these measures support the province’s resource businesses – with some targeted supports for forestry – ensuring a strong resource economy is still a big piece of the overall economic recovery. With the Stronger BC plan widely covering programs and industries across the province, a historic response will be pivotal in keeping our economy moving.

“As the province looks to move forward with existing and new recovery initiatives, the BC Chamber Network remains hopeful that it will also provide our province an opportunity to become more competitive,” says Baxter. “Bold action is required – we need to collectively persevere towards a BC built-to-compete and we can do that by improving as we build back.”