As the expiration date for federal support programs looms in the distance, the federal minister of small business has promised to help Sea to Sky enterprises in their time of need.
However, in an interview with The Squamish Chief after she and West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country MP Patrick Weiler met with West Coast members of chambers of commerce by video conference on Jan. 19, Mary Ng provided little in the way of specifics on how the feds plan on helping further.
"We want to make sure that we provide that bridge to the other side of COVID-19," Ng said, adding that she recognizes the challenges that COVID-19 has forced upon the local economy.
"We are going to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to fight COVID-19, so I would encourage businesses to keep going. This is what the supports are about, and we are going to, of course, keep a very careful eye and attention to how the situation will take place," Ng said.
"We, of course, want to vaccinate Canadians. We, of course, want to flatten this curve, overcome the challenges of COVID-19, but, absolutely, we want to support our businesses in this, because we just know how important they are to the local communities."
Some businesses are starting to feel worried as a critical deadline approaches.
Federal supports are expected to end in June.
The federal wage subsidy and rent subsidy programs have been providing substantial aid to businesses, and some owners fear what may happen once those initiatives expire.
One example is that of Squamish's Platypus YMCA Childcare centre, which cited the end of federal subsidies as part of the reason why it decided to announce it would close in June.
"We have kept our ear to the ground with businesses," said Ng.
She added her office has been holding regular calls with small businesses across the country.
In the meantime, Ng said that judging from her discussions with members of chambers of commerce on Jan. 19, it seems like aid from the federal government is doing its job.
"The one thing I took away is that the programs are working as they are intended to," she said of her video conference meeting held Tuesday.