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New funding will help businesses with vandalism costs

Small businesses throughout British Columbia will soon have access to new funding to support increased costs due to crime and vandalism, and to prevent further crime.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our province and it’s vital we work together to keep our economy strong,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “We understand the frustration of business owners taking on the cost of vandalism on their own. We are taking action to support businesses with new funding to provide relief to cover these costs, and make sure we have a thriving business community.”

Starting in fall 2023, the Province will support small businesses in recovering expenses incurred after experiencing property damage due to crime and vandalism, and to recoup expenses after taking measures to prevent vandalism.

The new $10.5-million Securing Small Business Rebate Program will be available on an application basis and retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023. Businesses will be able to apply for as much as $2,000 per business for the cost of repairs due to vandalism, and up to $1,000 for vandalism prevention.

“As a business owner, I understand that the issues that face downtowns in Vancouver and in the rest of our province are complex,” said Carol Lee, owner, Chinatown BBQ. “We know there is work being done to address the root causes of crime, but providing new funding to help cover the costs of vandalism will go a long way for businesses like mine so we can keep serving our communities.”

Prevention measures eligible for funding could include security cameras or gates. The costs of broken glass and graffiti cleaning are eligible under the vandalism repairs criteria.

Information about how businesses can apply for funding is expected to be made available in the fall and communicated through local chambers of commerce, boards of trade and business improvement areas to ensure business owners can get funding as soon as possible.

“Recently, businesses of all types have seen an increase in costs to repair damage caused by vandalism, much of it due to the complex issues that communities across the province are facing,” said Fiona Famulak, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce. “Many business owners have invested in preventative measures to protect their assets and maintain a safe environment for staff and customers. The BC Chamber of Commerce welcomes today’s announcement to establish a program to help offset the costs businesses face as a result of property crime.”

The Securing Small Business rebate program builds on the work the Province is doing to build safe and healthy communities through the Safer Communities Action Plan by strengthening enforcement and leveraging mental-health and addiction services.

Support for businesses is part of StrongerBC Economic Plan, which is moving British Columbia forward by tackling the challenges of today, while growing an innovative economy that works for everyone.

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