Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, calls on residents to shop local this Christmas season. (Black Press file)

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, calls on residents to shop local this Christmas season. (Black Press file)

Small businesses hurt by federal COVID-19 response: North Okanagan-Shuswap MP

Mel Arnold calls for more accessible programming for businesses; supports local holiday shopping

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses hard and North-Okanagan Shuswap MP Mel Arnold said the government had failed them in its response.

On the heels of a round table with business owners from across the region, Arnold told the House of Commons Dec. 3 one business owner he spoke with waited on hold for three hours to speak with CRA and still couldn’t access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

“And she’s not the only one,” Arnold said. “Small businesses do not need the government’s ‘please hold’ messages or the mounting debt. They need programs and services that they can actually access.

“We know the government listens to Bay Street,” he said. “But it is time it started to listen to Main Street.”

Echoing the holiday messaging from local chambers of commerce and business organizations, Arnold told the House he hopes this holiday season, Canadians choose to shop local.

“During this giving season and, indeed, all year long, we can give back to our local small businesses by choosing to shop local,” Arnold said.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s Vote Vernon initiative, presented by VantageOne Credit Union, encourages residents to do just that as every dollar spent in Vernon is a vote for the community to succeed, chamber general manager Dan Proulx said.

“Vernon needs your vote. When you vote for Vernon, amazing things happen,” he said. “It’s a vote for that money to be recirculated through Vernon. That’s more money to fund local non-profits or the local tax base, which is used to keep Vernon beautiful by upgrading roads and maintaining parks.”

The chamber is spotlighting local business that provides online shopping options on its website at vernonchamber.ca/vote-vernon. The page also includes information to assist shoppers in making informed, local shopping decisions.

READ MORE: Case of COVID-19 at Vernon high school

READ MORE: Second wave, twice the anxiety: Okanagan paramedics reflect on pandemic


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