Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference at Rideau cottage in Ottawa, on Friday, March 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

At least 108 Surrey businesses have enrolled in wage subsidy benefit

In White Rock, at least 41 businesses are receiving federal support, number likely higher

More than 100 businesses in Surrey and at least 41 in White Rock have enrolled in the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program.

The benefit, created in response to the economic toll caused by COVID-19, offers to pay businesses up to 75 per cent of their staffing costs until March 31, 2021.

The subsidy, which received unanimous support in the House of Commons, has to date provided more than $54 billion in support to more than 368,000 businesses, non-profits and charities across the country, according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

This week, the CRA published an online registry that lists every business in Canada that’s currently enrolled in the program.

While the registry does not clarify where a business is located, a search indicates that at least 108 businesses in Surrey and another 41 in White Rock have enrolled in the program. The exact number of businesses is expected to be considerably higher, as only the word ‘Surrey’ or ‘White Rock’ in a business name gives an indication of its location.

A CRA representative was not able to provide PAN with the exact number of Surrey or White Rock businesses enrolled in the program.

South Surrey and White Rock Chamber of Commerce executive director Ritu Khanna said she not only knows of several businesses that have taken advantage of the program, but noted the chamber has, too.

“To be honest, even the chamber has had to use that program because a lot of people don’t realize that we’re just a small not-for-profit. I think we had the busiest year ever trying to support our local businesses with the stuff we were sending out and the stuff we were trying to do with our community town halls,” Khanna said Tuesday.

RELATED: South Surrey and White Rock Chamber to host virtual COVID-19 town hall

Khanna said she’s heard from other businesses that the wage subsidy has allowed them to keep people employed when they otherwise would not be able to do so.

“It has helped them tremendously.”

Some of the challenges facing small businesses, she said, are that business owners are having to work extra hours to fill in gaps. Another challenge spurred by the virus is reduced capacity, meaning they must ask people wait outside, no matter how unpleasant the weather might be at the time.

“It’s been a really huge pressure, especially for the small businesses. For those who took advantage of the program and were able to retain their employees, it was a big deal,” Khanna said.

The biggest expenses small businesses face, she added, are lease rates and wages or salaries.

“We haven’t really seen the full effects of COVID. I think a lot of businesses are still in survival mode and Christmas is supposed to be a peak shopping period and, hopefully, they’re seeing an increase in sales.”

In the meantime, Khanna said the chamber will continue to encourage residents to shop local.

RELATED: Chamber offers online holiday support for local businesses

White Rock Business Improvement Association executive director Alex Nixon said every business owner he’s talked to in the city has confirmed that they took advantage of the wage subsidy program.

“Every time I’ve asked the question, it’s always been a yes,” Nixon said.

“It was an extremely well-designed program and very helpful to businesses.”

Nixon noted that a requirement of the wage subsidy was based on loss of revenue.

“If you’re telling me (more than) 360,000 businesses have used it, the sheer number shows just how crucial this program has been in getting businesses through the pandemic,” he added. “It shows just how many businesses have lost significant portions of their revenue.”

The CEWS registry can be found here.

The City of Surrey currently has more than 18,000 businesses registered to operate in the city.



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

BusinessCoronavirusfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

teaser
Top-10 ‘Maxim’ magazine contest model got her start in Surrey

Kajal Kumar hopes to earn $25K cash prize and a cover photo shoot

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on B.C. highways – checkpoint at Manning Park

Four checkpoints are set up Thursday, May 6 around the province

A woman walks past a long lineup that snaked through the parking lot at the Cloverdale Rec. Centre April 27 after Fraser Health allowed people age 30 and over from “high-transmission neighbourhoods” to access the AstraZeneca shot. The temporary vaccination centre is located on the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale now considered a ‘high-transmission area’

Anyone 30 and over can now register for a vaccine

Semiahmoo Rotary Club has announced the winners of its 2021 Service Above Self Surrey Youth (SASSY) Awards. (Contributed image/screenshot)
Surrey/White Rock SASSY Award winners announced

Six youth receive $1,500 for ‘service above self,’ including $500 for charity

This year’s PNE Prize Home is to be built in-place, in South Surrey. (pneprizehome.ca)
PNE’s first-ever built-in-place grand prize home to be constructed in South Surrey

Pandemic-related touring options prompts break from tradition

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Rex, an elderly golden Labrador retriever, is surrounded by his rescuers in Golden Ears Provincial Park. (Special to The News)
VIDEO: Dog survives plunge over Gold Creek Lower Falls in Maple Ridge

Fire chief asks for visitors to be more cautious in Golden Ears Provincial Park

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Most Read