Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)

B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Not everyone is able to grab the helping hand extended by the B.C. government to businesses struggling during the pandemic.

Norm Scott, president of Prince Edward Branch # 91 of the Royal Canadian Legion in the Greater Victoria suburb of Langford, is dismayed that they will not receive any part of the $50 million announced April 8 in support of more than 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres.

“Legions are not eligible for any COVID relief so far,” Scott said. “We fall under the federal Legion Act as a non-profit, but we’re not registered with the province as a non-profit,” Scott explained. “That disallows us for being eligible for any funding from the province, but we do pay provincial taxes.”

RELATED: Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

“So for us to stay afloat, we’re struggling in the same boat as restaurants, bars, and small businesses that are struggling,” Scott noted. “The bills for hydro, gas, water and other expenses don’t stop coming in. We’re very disappointed we don’t qualify.”

Scott points out that the Legion in Langford has been around for more than 90 years and continues to make significant contributions to veterans, families and the community through support programs, scholarships, sponsoring sports teams, and other initiatives.

“We know the province values Royal Canadian Legions, but this does not reflect that value,” he said. “We want the government to take a deeper look at supporting non-profit organizations so we can continue to do the work we do for veterans and families in need in our community.”

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rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


 

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