19 February 2021
Hon. Arlene Dunn
Minister, Aboriginal Affairs
Minister Responsible, Opportunities NB, Immigration, Economic Development and Small Business
Departmental Building, West Block
P. O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Minister Dunn:
Re: NB Recovery Grant Eligibility
Thank you for participating in the pre-show interviews at the recent State of the Province Address. I am writing today to follow up on comments that Premier Higgs made during the Q & A portion of that event and seeking clarity about the NB Recovery Grant.
When I asked Premier Higgs about supporting retail business through the NB Recovery Grant, his response was: “Yes, yes we are… they’re part of the… they should be applying for that and we will consider that.” You can listen to this exchange starting at the 1:55:50 mark of the event recording (https://www.frederictonchamber.ca/insight/2021/02/12/2021-state-of-the-province-address/).
Are retail-sector businesses eligible for the grant as the premier suggested? If not, given the premier’s comments, the better-than-expected deficit projects and the significant need of some retail businesses, will your government change its policy to allow any sector that needs assistant to apply for and receive the grant?
As you know, the retail sector has been hit hard during the pandemic. Multinational online options, changes in consumer behaviour, and messages from government encouraging people to stay home have hurt operations – despite maintaining the ability to stay open during the current Orange and Red phases of the NB Recovery Plan. Additionally, we expect the financial effects of the pandemic to continue for quite some time – well beyond the point where most of the population is vaccinated.
We know you value our small business retailers and other businesses, and we ask your government to be prepared to take the steps necessary to support these key parts of our economy as needed.
Krista Ross, CEO,
Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
cc: Hon. Blaine Higgs, Premier, Province of New Brunswick
cc: Sadie Perron, CEO, Opportunities New Brunswick
cc: Jim Cormier, Director, Government Relations (Atlantic), Retail Council of Canada