Open Letter on Accessibility of BDC Funding for Small Businesses

March 19, 2020

Sent to:
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair
Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Open Letter re: Accessibility of Business of Development Bank of Canada Funding

Deputy Prime Minister Freeland,

This letter is regarding the accessibility of the recently announced Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) funding to support business owners who have currently closed their businesses due to the COVID-19 virus, specifically those in the food and beverage sector. This is understandably an incredibly difficult time for many businesses, who are complying with government recommendations to close their doors to ensure that adequate social distancing is maintained to prevent further spread of this virus. This loss of business has created obvious financial and emotional stress for business owners and they are in desperate need of the Governments support.

The Government announced on Friday, March 13th that an additional $10 Billion of funding will be provided through BDC and Export Development Canada (EDC). This is commendable action from the government, and an important step in protecting the well-being and financial security of business owners. However, the accessibility of this funding is limited in scope. Particularly, businesses in the food and beverage section are having a difficult time in meeting the current requirements for this funding. As it stands, businesses are prohibited from applying if their historic liquor sales represent more than 50% of the business actual sales. For many restaurants, this is not surprisingly the case. In MP Kwan’s riding of Vancouver East there have been cases of 10 + restaurants that are currently facing this barrier when applying for the BDC funding, and there are likely many more across the country. This leaves these business owners in a state of insecurity, and unsure where they are supposed to turn for assistance. These businesses all expect and are eager to re-open when the spread of the COVID-19 virus is under control, but until then they need more concrete support from the Government.

The current restrictions punish these business owners in the food and beverage sector who surpass the alcohol sales threshold. However, these businesses pay full price to the B.C Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) for the liquor and collect and pay to the Ministry of Finance 10% Liquor Sales Tax (LST) on the sale of the liquor. Earning more than 50% of ones revenue from the sale of liquor should not result in one being penalized. Businesses who do earn more than 50% of their revenue from the sale of liquor provide a significant amount of revenue for the BCLDB and the Ministry of Finance. Access to this funding should not be based on this specification.

MP Kwan’s office was in contact with BDC representatives on Wednesday March.18th and it was confirmed that this eligibility requirement remains the same and that they are proceeding with requirements in a “business as usual” manner. This current situation facing these business owners and all Canadians is anything but usual. We cannot continue with business as usual, and I am sure the Government can recognize this.

The increase of funding is a promising start; however without proper accessibility this will fall short to help these business owners. I am therefore requesting the Government changes this policy requirement so that all of those in the food and beverage section are able to apply for BDC funding, regardless of the percentage of their liquor sales. This policy needs to change to allow access to this essential funding. This is a very reasonable request considering the current circumstances, and we urge the Government to act accordingly.

We thank you in advance for your attention to these concerns and will look forward to your response.


Jenny Kwan

MP, Vancouver East


Gord Johns

MP, Courtenay-Alberni


Cc: The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Vice-Chair)
The Hon. Navdeep Singh Bains
The Hon. William Sterling Blair
The Hon. Patricia Hajdu
The Hon. Mélanie Joly
The Hon. William Francis Morneau
The Hon. Carla Qualtrough
The Hon. Kirsty Duncan
The Hon. Bill Morneau

Latest posts

Urgent Action Needed on Strathcona Park and other Homeless Encampments - A Joint Call for Action

Urgent action is needed to address the growing homelessness crisis, yet the federal government continues to drag their feet on this issue.

Numbers don’t lie. BC only got 0.5% of funds from finalized agreements through the National Housing Co-Investment Fund. Only two applications were finalized. It was absolutely shocking to see the numbers. The truth is, though, we already suspected that BC was not getting the kind of resources that we need to support and address our homelessness crisis.

Alberta and Quebec have been shut out of the fund altogether, while Ontario has received 94% of the nearly $1.5 billion so far.

To learn more about these figures, please read Dan Fumano's recent coverage of this important story in the Vancouver Sun.

Applying Biometrics Exemptions during COVID-19 Pandemic

August 7, 2020

Sent to:

Ms. Catrina Tapley
Deputy Minister, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada



Dear Deputy Minister Catrina Tapley,

Following the emergency Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) meeting, I am writing to follow up with the issue of delays for individuals to complete their biometrics due to COVID-19. I raised this question directly to your attention during the June 17, 2020 emergency meeting of the CIMM Committee and have also raised this in writing to the Minister.

My office has received a significant amount of email from Vancouver East constituents and from people across the country whose immigration applications have been impeded because they have been unable to complete their biometrics. Given the ongoing impact of COVID-
19, there simply is no timeline or certainty as to when an individual would be able to have their biometrics completed. While I am appreciative of the fact that IRCC has extended the deadline to give biometrics and that IRCC will not close or refuse any application in progress, however, it remains that those unable to obtain their biometrics are in effect simply stuck in the system. This in turn means that their lives are effectively held in limbo.

Cost-sharing Plan with B.C. Provincial and Municipal Government Urgently Needed to Address Homelessness Crisis

July 29, 2020

Sent to: 

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development



Minister Hussen,

I am writing urgently with regard to the need for the federal government to commit to working with the non-profits, provincial and municipal governments to address the housing and homelessness crisis, especially in light of a pandemic that has gripped the country and devastated the livelihoods of many Canadians.

The homelessness crisis is not only an affront to human rights, but also poses an enormous national public health risk. This puts the individuals and the communities they live in at risk. Despite the indisputable importance of housing, I am deeply concerned that your government’s National Housing Strategy (NHS) is woefully inadequate.

Based on the response to my order paper question submitted February 4th, 2020, it seems the largest component of the NHS, the National Housing Co-investment Fund (NHCF), has fallen short of expectations. I was shocked to learn that only 23 of 432 of submissions have finalized funding agreements. Even more troubling was the lack of funding outside of Ontario. Among these applications, over 50% of the finalized agreements were from Ontario and over 91% of the $1.47 billion in these agreements went to a single application in the City of Toronto.

Are you ready to take action?

Constituent Resources
Mobile Offices
Contact Jenny

Sign up for updates