A little more than six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, P.E.I. is looking at its support programs for business with an eye to adapting them.
The programs were moved out quickly in March, said Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay, and it's time to review them.
"Looking back the programs have certainly been a success," said MacKay.
"As time continues we're going to have to look at expanding them and improving them as long as we can financially do so."
One change has already been made, he said. The cap on the tourism interest relief fund has been increased to $400,000 from $250,000. MacKay said it is a $10 million fund, and only $3 million has been spent so far, so his department was confident it could raise the cap.
Some of these businesses weren't going to be able to make it. — Economic Growth Minister Matthew MacKay
All told, the province has loaned out about $33 million in the last six months, including through programs that were in place before the pandemic started.
MacKay said despite the extra risks in lending to businesses during the pandemic, he feels the loan portfolio is safe. There is a two per cent provision for defaulted loans, most of the loans have security, and the province has been selective.
"There has been loans come across my desk that we've had that conversation, that we just knew some of these businesses weren't going to be able to make it and we didn't approve those loans," said MacKay.
While some industries have suffered, in particular tourism, MacKay said others — construction, manufacturing, bioscience — have bounced back, and overall the economy is faring well compared to other jurisdictions.
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