Mr. Chair, many owners of small businesses in northwest B.C. are hurting as a result of the pandemic. It includes those in tourism, retail and the restaurant sector. I am talking about small local businesses, lots of them family-run, and many of them with only one or two employees. There is a real risk that some of these won't survive the pandemic. For some, it's already too late.
Despite the dire outlook, I've seen local business people respond with resilience, resourcefulness and optimism. With the help of local chambers of commerce and groups like Community Futures, they're finding ways to weather the storm. This government needs to have their back. That means fixing the commercial rent relief program, starting with a moratorium on business evictions. It means targeted support for tourism operators. It means keeping programs like the wage subsidy around long enough to help businesses get back on their feet.
Our small towns depend on local businesses, their owners and their employees. We must do more to help them survive.