On June 5, the government of Alberta announced additional measures for small and medium business owners to continue to operate in response to COVID-19.
“From day one, our government has supported job creators,” said the Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Tourism Tanya Fir.
“Today’s announcement fills the number one ask that we have received from businesses and industry groups,” she added. “Particularly the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy and such a critical part of our communities.”
The government of Alberta is taking measures to prevent businesses from being evicted by landlords.
The Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program is in partnership with the federal government and will provide a repayable loan up to 50 per cent of monthly costs if landlords cut the rent for small business tenants by 75 per cent and promise not to evict them.
The Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program is available to landlords of small business tenants who have lost revenue of 70 per cent or more, and who pay less than $50,000 a month in rent.
“Small businesses have told us loud and clear that they need us to help fill a gap that has left some of them unable to get the support they need,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
“In many cases, commercial landlords are not signing up for this program, and not passing on the subsidy to businesses that have been heavily hit. In some cases, who are threatening to evict commercial tenants which we think is unacceptable during this unprecedented economic crisis,” he said.
Adding, “We’re listening to those employers, and we’ve got their backs. By taking measures that will address actions of commercial landlords who have failed to act responsibly and fairly by increasing rent or threatening eviction, we’ll address the shortcomings, and give temporary relief to job creators hardest hit.”
A second support was announced on June 5 and is aimed at those who have had their operations shut down or severely curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and public health orders.
The small and medium-sized businesses that have less than 500 employees and are struggling to reopen their doors are eligible for a one-time relaunch payment of up to 15 per cent of monthly sales revue to a maximum of $5,000.
To ensure businesses and not-for-profit organizations have access to the capital needed to reopen, the government of Alberta has committed up to 200 million to relaunch funding.
The allotment will be used to assist businesses with the cost of implementing enhanced measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, rent, employee wages, replacing inventory, and purchasing supplies.
“These measures are in addition to the many actions Alberta’s government has already taken in part of the economic recovery strategy to support job creators and get people back to work during the global crisis,” Kenney said.
“Businesses have demonstrated incredible resilience throughout this pandemic, as have Albertans generally. Many were chomping at the bit to get back to work, they have also shown tremendous social responsibility in implementing public health guidelines,” he said.
“At the end of the day, we’re not going to have a strong economy unless we have strong small and medium-sized businesses, they are the heart of the core of our economy,” he added.
The supports announced are meant for small and medium businesses that due to factors outside of their control saw a drastic or complete reduction of revenue through the COVID-19 pandemic and are now required to make changes to their businesses to ensure the safety of staffers and clients.
“Albertans did the right thing and deserve the credit for flattening the curve and limiting the spread of COVID-19, and we need to ensure that we continue to follow guidelines and physical distance,” Fir said.
“We are relaunching our economy because of the hard work and sacrifice of Albertans,” she added. “As a part of that, we need to ensure that small businesses are given the tools that they need to survive, we need to ensure they can keep the lights on, and their workers employed.”