VANCOUVER (May 21, 2020) – Over a week since Official Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson called on the provincial government to help with funding to provide access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for small businesses, the BC Liberals are again pushing John Horgan for action.
“Last Tuesday I wrote to Premier Horgan hoping to get his support for funding PPE access for small businesses and non-profits looking to safely reopen but we have yet to see any action on this important requirement for safely restarting our economy,” said Wilkinson. “Without help to buy required PPE and safety upgrades, local businesses and organizations might be unable to reopen and many British Columbians could remain jobless.”
Since the request was sent to the Premier last week, other jurisdictions have adopted similar policies of helping secure PPE for businesses and are taking steps to prevent price gouging. Manitoba created B2B Manitoba, an online marketplace to connect non-medical grade personal protective equipment suppliers with businesses who may need PPE to open and operate safely.
“Last week we called attention to the over $2 billion surplus at WorkSafeBC, which businesses across the province have paid into for years and could now be utilized to reimburse employers for the cost of PPE and safety infrastructure upgrades,” added MLA John Martin, the BC Liberal Labour Critic. “With hundreds of thousands of people out of work and businesses on the edge of shutting down for good, this government needs to help small businesses secure PPE to protect the safety of workers and help rebuild our economy.”
Wilkinson’s May 12th letter also called for clarity on WorkSafeBC guidelines for the reopening of businesses and organizations as well as a retroactive rebate or credit on WorkSafeBC premiums and payroll taxes.