The government of Alberta announced a new financial relief program that will provide security for small and medium-sized business workers and their families.
Under the new Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit, up to $30,000 in support will be available to small and medium-sized businesses that have been the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing health restrictions.
“Small businesses are the beating heart of Alberta’s economy and Alberta’s government will always be there for them. We’ve heard the calls for more support and today we are providing even more funding for Alberta job creators to help them deal with the devastating impacts of COVID-19. We will continue to be there for Albertans, protecting lives and livelihoods with support measures just like this,” said Premier Jason Kenney.
Small and medium enterprises account for more than 99 per cent of all businesses and nearly 55 per cent of all employment.
The Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit will provide financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees.
Businesses that can demonstrate a revenue reduction of 60 per cent or more will be eligible to receive 15 per cent of their monthly revenue, up to a maximum of $10,000.
The additional payment can be used to offset costs associated with COVID-19, such as purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cleaning and disinfecting supplies, paying bills, or hiring staff.
The Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit is intended to provide additional support in cases where federal programs fall short.
Businesses are required to report the total amount of provincial and federal support received, to ensure no more than 80 per cent of revenue is covered.
Funds can be used to cover the costs of items that prevent the spread of COVID-19, pay rent, employee wages or replace inventory, or helping businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities to continue to serve customers.
“The challenges associated with COVID-19 are ongoing, and this additional payment will provide even more immediate relief to Alberta’s small businesses. We promised our job creators that we would be there to support them throughout this pandemic, and we will continue to evaluate the needs of Albertans while we engage with the federal government to address gaps in their long-term programs,” said the Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, Doug Schweitzer.
Payments under the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit will be available in April following the conclusion of the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program.
The funds received under this program do not need to be repaid.
Alberta’s government has provided support to job creators by deferring corporate income tax collection for six months, deferring education property taxes and freezing the rate at 2019 levels, deferring WCB premiums, and paying 50 per cent of them for small and medium businesses, providing a 90-day deferral for utility payments, and banning commercial evictions, rent increases and late fees for commercial tenants.