Bridge Grant extending deadline, adding more business categories

Henrietta Strickland
January 14, 2021

Pallister noted the province has committed approximately $420 million in COVID-19 supports to Manitoba businesses this fiscal year through programs such as the Manitoba Bridge Grant, Manitoba Gap Protection Plan, Back to Work in Manitoba Wage Subsidy and measures such as the elimination of the provincial sales tax (PST) on property insurance and Manitoba Public Insurance rebates.

The provincial government has expanded eligibility requirements for the Manitoba Bridge Grant Program to offer support to more small businesses.

Under its current plans to scale up vaccinations, based on the number of doses Manitoba expects to receive from the federal government, the province expects to average 1,563 doses per day through January, reaching 2,500 per day through February. "As expanded public health restrictions are necessary to protect Manitobans and reduce COVID-19 cases, we are extending the Manitoba Bridge Grant to help more businesses make it through this critical time and eases some of their financial pressures".

The program provides grants for small and medium-sized businesses, not-for-profits and charities to cover expenses and costs while health registrations force them to shut down.

When asked on Tuesday, Pallister said he would "never dismiss" the possibility of a third $5,000 payment going to businesses if needed, but said it is up to whether or not Manitobans follow health guidelines.

Those continue to be eligible for the second round, receiving a second payment of up to $5,000.

The premier said the reason for this was so no business would "slip through the cracks".

He cited Statistics Canada numbers show Manitoba has seen a 19 per cent reduction in new COVID-19 cases while most other provinces to the east and the west, aside from Atlantic Canada, are seeing double-digit increases in their daily case counts.

"This is not a victory lap", said Pallister, calling the fight to bend the COVID-19 curve "a marathon, not a sprint".

"We must keep in mind to do the right things here. You are making significant sacrifices and you are saving lives".

He added that any new businesses that have been added to the list through the eligibility expansion they could receive $5,000 plus more.

To date, Pallister said the province has a total of approximately $104 million in funding to roughly 10,000 businesses through both phases of the program.

The total includes close to $94 million to more than 9,400 storefront businesses that received two $5,000 up-front payments.

For more information see the province's website.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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