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Small Business Grants BC: An Employer’s Guide


To navigate the financial setbacks and challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the BC government has launched several relief programs for small and medium businesses.

This blog provides information on the current BC government grants for small businesses.

BC Employer Training Grant Program

This program provides skills training to fill the gaps in the provincial labour market. It is funded by the Federal government and delivered by the Province of British Columbia through the Workforce Development Agreement (WDA).

How does the program work?

The Employer Training Grant Program (ETGP) accepts applications under five streams. These are:

Stream 1: C19 Impacted Worker Training Stream

Stream 2: Workforce Training Stream

Stream 3: Technical Training Stream

Stream 4: Foundational Training Stream

Stream 5: Persons with Disabilities Training Stream

While considering applications, priority is given to first-time applicants, small businesses, applicants from disadvantaged regions, and applicants from sectors facing acute challenges in finding skilled workers.

How to apply for ETGP?

Employers interested in the program can apply online through the Skills Training Grants System. They would need a Business BCeID account to be able to do so. Third parties cannot apply on behalf of employers.

Participants are also required to submit their own Participant Information Forms before an application is submitted. Employers can’t do so on behalf of an employee.

If their application is approved, employers will pay for all costs in full. Participants are not supposed to pay for training or any training-related expenses. After training starts, employers can submit a reimbursement claim. Depending on the training stream reimbursement received may vary between 60% and 100%.

Those self-employed are eligible to apply for training under the Workforce and Technical Training streams.

For more details refer to the BC Employer Training Grant Program web page here.

Food delivery fee cap

The provincial government has extended the food delivery service fee cap until December 31st, 2022, under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act. The food delivery fee cap limits the total fees delivery companies can charge food establishments, such as restaurants and bars.

The cap limits fees charged by food delivery companies to restaurants at 15%. An additional cap of 5% has been extended for other service-related fees, such as online ordering and processing fees. This measure is intended to prevent food delivery companies from shifting delivery costs on to other fees.

The new measure also restricts food delivery companies from decreasing compensation for their drivers or retaining staff gratuity, so that their employees continue to receive their regular wages.

Small-delivery service businesses that serve less than 500 restaurants are exempt from this temporary cap measure.

Alacrity Digital Marketing Bootcamp

The Alacrity Digital Marketing Bootcamp is an online skills-training program. Its goal is to help businesses acquire the skills needed to expand their operations in the digital space. The Program is funded by the BC government and delivered by Alacrity Canada.

The Alacrity Digital Marketing Bootcamp is currently open for registration.

Is enrollment free for BC residents?

The BC government will cover the tuition for BC business owners and employees who meet the eligibility criteria.

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the Alacrity Digital Marketing Bootcamp, applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  • The business is owned by a BC resident
  • The primary business operations are located in BC
  • The business is registered in BC and is currently operating
  • The business employs less than 149 BC residents

COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant

* Please note that the intake for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant closed on February 28, 2022.

This program offers fully funded grants to businesses that had to close operations due to the December 22, 2021, Provincial Health Officer (PHO) orders. Intake of applications will continue until February 28th at 11:59 pm or until funds are fully committed.

What funds can businesses receive under this BC government grant?

Eligible for-profit businesses can receive grants of $1,000 to $10,000. The funds do not have to be paid back unless the business is not following PHO orders or is misusing the funds. The COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant can be used for expenses like:

  • Employee salaries
  • Rent and utilities
  • Maintenance
  • Insurance

Businesses that receive funding may be contacted for information about their application and how they put their grant to use.

What’s the eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant?

To be eligible for the grant, businesses must meet the following requirements:

  • The business should have been in operation and registered in BC as of November 1, 2021
  • The business location had to fully close to follow with the December 22, 2021, Provincial Health Officer orders. Examples of businesses ordered to closed include:
  • Bars, nightclubs, and lounges that don’t serve full meals
  • Pilates and yoga studios
  • Barre, spin, and adult dance studios
  • Gyms that offer indoor high or low intensity group exercise classes
  • Event venues that can no longer hold events due to cancellations

Businesses that had to shut multiple locations due to PHO orders are also eligible for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant. Each business location is eligible to receive a grant. But applicants will be required to submit a new application for each location separately. They will also have to state the total number of locations they are applying for.

Please note that not-for-profit organizations and businesses that provide services for closed businesses are not eligible for the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant.

Do you need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employee management advice you may need. To learn more about how our services can benefit your business, call an expert today at (1) 833 247-3652.