Surrey Board of Trade helping businesses access COVID-19 programs

Surrey Board of Trade helping businesses access COVID-19 programs

‘So many businesses have either phoned or emailed not only myself but my staff in tears,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

The Surrey Board of Trade is working to keep its members connected and to help them access government help during the pandemic.

Anita Huberman, CEO for the board, said her organization has operated under “ground zero principles” as of March 17, re-deploying staff to not only strive to keep its business membership connected through email and social media “but also to phone each and every member” in order to keep in touch.

“We’ve been hearing from members, of course, by email on more specific questions they have for business support because, as you say, the information it changes so rapidly,” she said. “A lot of these measures are fluid and changing and we’re trying to update it best as we can but out ability to connect with different ministers, different government connections for more specific questions has been a value that we’ve been able to give.”

Huberman said she’s encouraged that the City of Surrey is having a weekly pandemic committee meeting every Friday afternoon “with the different business organizations, associations so they understand what is happening on the ground so that they can act. That is something we really advocated for and finally they agreed to it.”

The first was March 27. It’s an opportunity, Huberman said, to convey to the committee what businesses are saying in terms of how the pandemic impacts them.

“The last two weeks have been quite challenging, quite emotional,” she said. “So many businesses have either phoned or emailed not only myself but my staff in tears. Their dreams have been temporarily disabled and they’ve had to lay off workers, they’re trying to access government programming.”

READ ALSO: Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

READ ALSO: Pandemic causing havoc for Surrey businesses

“Business has really been feeling the pain since March 15,” Huberman noted. “These are really challenging times for businesses, not only small and medium-sized, but all businesses.”

While communication continues through a variety of mechanisms, she said, “We haven’t felt the value of in-person communication more than we do now.”

Huberman said all the meetings have been “virtual,” moderated by SBoT, “and the city manager has been absolutely great in listening and hearing our concerns, my concerns and responding to them in real time.

“In no time did we think we’d be facing this.”

She wouldn’t hazard a guess at how many Surrey businesses have closed, though.

“It’s too unwieldy. We’re sending out a survey, actually, through our provincial chamber which will be Surrey specific, but it is going toward the whole province so that we have good data on the ground, and that will be forthcoming.”

Huberman said Surrey Board of Trade members are concerned about government red tape in their quest for help, she said, and the board is helping them navigate through this.

“Absolutely the number one question that I get is ‘Where do I go – these links are too confusing,” she said, and “I don’t know who to talk to.

“Amongst the business community, they’re looking to talk to someone in person, but I do have to say that the government – the provincial and federal government – their civil service has been absolutely great in real response time to questions that I’ve had.”

“Both levels of government, even our local government, no one was prepared for this.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

CoronavirusSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In 2017, a member of the Disneyana Fan Club curated a small Community Treasures exhibit at the Museum of Surrey about the early days of Disney and the cartoonist Walt Disney. The museum is now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibition. (Photo: Submitted)
Museum of Surrey wants to spotlight local organizations and clubs

Museum now accepting applications for its 2022 Community Treasures exhibit

The cover of Golf 101 with Bob Dimpleton (left), an instructional book created by South Surrey golf pro Mark Kuhn (inset). Right, a page from the book detailing what to do if your ball lands on the cart path. (Contributed images)
South Surrey golf pro releases new edition of popular instructional book

Mark Kuhn’s Dimpleton family returns in updated Golf 101 e-book

Musician Dana Vande is seen in a screenshot from a music video on Youtube. Vande recently released a pro-lockdown track in response to an Eric Clapton and Van Morrison anti-lockdown track.
Cloverdale musician writes pandemic response song to Van Morrison and Eric Clapton

Dana Vande answers a Clapton-Morrison anti-lockdown track with a pro-lockdown track

Surrey RCMP Constable Mike Della-Paolera as seen in a cut-out used for the detachment’s Operation Double Take program. (File photo)
Surrey’s tall ‘Operation Double Take’ cop is on the move

Cut-out of Constable Mike Della-Paolera used in program to curb speeding and dangerous driving

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Delta Police dog retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Most Read