VANCOUVER, June 26, 2020 – The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating. As a result of necessary containment measures, B.C.’s unemployment rate hit 13.4 per cent in May and economic forecasts for the province predict a steep economic contraction in 2020. The damage incurred over the past three months will have a persisting impact on the long-term health of B.C.’s economy.
Therefore, the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) focused on economic recovery in its annual budget submission to the provincial government. CPABC recommended the B.C. government establish programs that would enhance the skills of workers and encourage business adoption of information and communications technology (ICT). These investments would improve business productivity in the short and long-term, and are critical for getting the province’s economy back on track.
“Our economy is beginning to reopen, and many displaced employees are returning to work,” said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC. “However, some may not be able to secure the same job they previously held, and we need to support those workers through reskilling and retooling by establishing a temporary COVID-19 Education Grant.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also shifted how businesses operate. When many businesses struggled during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption of ICT was critical in facilitating a shift to remote work, continued business operations, and online services.
“We have seen many of our familiar businesses pivot their operations during this pandemic. From selling meal kits and grocery items, offering curbside pickup and delivery, to hosting fitness classes online, it is amazing to see how quickly some businesses were able to embrace and adopt technology. But not all businesses were able to adapt as quickly. To set the province on the right path for full economic recovery, the government needs to encourage more technology adoption to help businesses improve productivity,” noted Mathison.
Small businesses make up over 98 per cent of B.C. businesses, but many face barriers investing in technology. It is critical for the B.C. government to encourage further adoption of ICT by providing input tax credits for investment into technology over the next three years.
It is also important to make technology more accessible. The B.C. government can build off the successful COVID-19 Support Service and create a permanent Technology Concierge Service. This service could help small businesses more easily identify and implement new ICT appropriate for their operation.
About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 37,000 CPA members and 5,500 CPA candidates and students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy.
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