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Alberta: COVID-19 relief measures for your business

We know that this is a difficult time, full of uncertainty. The information you need to run your business changes rapidly, and it can be hard to keep track and make sense of it all.  

In order to relieve some of the pressure on small businesses such as yours, we are gathering all the information you need about government services and supports in Alberta and putting them in this one location. We will continue working with governments to ensure additional relief measures become available for your business as the situation evolves.

Please check back regularly. We will update this page as more information becomes available. 

Business Closures & Restrictions

For information on the public health measures currently in place, please visit: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx

Supports for businesses

The Alberta government has announced measures to help small businesses maintain normal business operations.

  • Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit: The Alberta government has announced a new Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit available to small businesses that have seen a 60% revenue loss. Eligible businesses can receive a maximum of $10,000 under the new program. Businesses will be able to apply for the new program in April, and will be required to report the total amount of provincial and federal support received, to ensure no more than 80 per cent of revenue is covered. Find out more here
  • Alberta SME Relaunch Grant: the Alberta government is providing eligible small businesses and non-profits to access up to $20,000 to help with relaunch costs (Phase 1: $5,000, Phase 2: $15,000). Applications for the program are now open here. Applications will remain open until March 31, 2021.
  • Education property tax freeze: the Alberta government cancelled the decision made in Budget 2020 and will freeze education property taxes at last year's level (a savings of $32 million for businesses). In the 2021 Budget, the government made a commitment to freeze education property taxes for a second year.
  • Tourism levy deferral: Hotels and other lodging providers can keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.

Expired support programs. 

  • WCB premium deferral and relief: WCB premiums have been deferred until early 2021. Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit. For small and medium businesses, the government with cover 50% of the premium when it is due. Find out more here.
  • Commercial eviction protection: the Alberta government introduced legislation to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to COVID-19. Legislation expired on August 31, 2020. CFIB continues to advocate for an extension until the province is well into Stage 3 of its economic relaunch strategy. 
  • Corporate income tax changes: corporate income tax balances and installment payments were deferred until August 31, 2020. 
  • Education property tax deferral: the Alberta government deferred education property tax for businesses for six months.
  • Utility payment deferral: residents, agri-businesses and small businesses were able to defer electricity and natural gas bill payments until June 18, 2020 to ensure no one was cut off, regardless of the service provider. Learn more about utility payment deferral here.

For more detailed information, please visit the. Alberta government’s COVID-19 information page.

Employment Standards Changes
  • Increased the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 180 days
    • This change is retroactive for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17, 2020
  • Created a job-protected leave for employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19
    • The 90-day employment requirement is waived.
    • The leave length is flexible and linked to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer.
    • A medical note is not required.
    • Regular personal and family responsibility leave rules continue to apply for all other circumstances.
  • Removed the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes
  • Removed the requirement for 2 weeks notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement
  • Removed the employer requirement to provide group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated
    • Individual termination entitlements remain in effect.
    • Employers must still give group termination notices to the Minister of Labour and Immigration as soon as is practical.
    • Streamlined approvals for modifying employment standards (variances and exemptions) related to COVID-19

     

    Alberta Banks

    ATB Financial and Alberta credit unions announced assistance to customers impacted by COVID-19. 

    ATB Financial customers impacted by COVID-19

    • Customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to six months.
    • Small business customers, in addition to payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit, will be provided access to additional working capital.
    • For other business and agriculture customers, ATB will work with customers on a one-on-one basis and further solutions are being considered at this time.
    • For more information on ATB’s relief program, please visit their website.

    Alberta credit unions

    • Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.
    • Both individual and business members are encouraged to proactively contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.
    What is my municipality doing?

    Consult our guide to see what your municipality is doing to support businesses in your community.

    Support for employees

    Workers’ Compensation

    Information and updates on workers’ compensation issues related to COVID-19 can be found on the website and on the COVID-19 Fact Sheet. The fact sheet includes answers to questions such as:

    • When COVID-19 may be work related?
    • Do I report cases where one staff member caught COVID-19 from a co-worker?
    • When do I report a case of COVID-19 to WCB-Alberta?
    • What happens when I submit a COVID-19 claim?

    Emergency Isolation Support (expired program)

    Alberta had an Emergency Isolation Support program that offered paid leave for employees without access to EI for receiving benefits like vacation time or sick leave. This program was available for small business owners and the self-employed. The benefit was a one-time payment of $1,146 meant to bridge the gap until the Federal program (CERB) commences on April, 2020. To access the benefit, the following criteria had to be met: 

    • The person will be required to state they require a direct cash payment, or they won’t be able to self-isolate.
    • The person must meet Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation which includes persons who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate or have been directed by Alberta Health Services to self-isolate. 
    • Supporting documents (e.g. proof of salary) do not need to be submitted with the application but will need to be kept by the person to assist with auditing the programs effectiveness after the fact.
    • Note: applications for this program are now closed.
    Safety in the Workplace

    Alberta Health has updated their Non-healthcare Workplace Guidance During COVID-19 document. Find out more here.

    Looking for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

    Non-AHS facilities are encouraged to request PPE through the government’s one-stop email address at [email protected].

    Learn more about accessing PPE here.
     

    What is CFIB doing?

    With the emergence of COVID-19, our primary concern at CFIB is keeping you, your employees and your business safe. We will provide you with expert advice to guide you through this difficult time, as well as templates and policies that prevent viral transmission in the workplace. We will also continue putting pressure on governments to give your business greater relief—including direct income support.

    CFIB’s Alberta legislative team is working to make sure government officials know what your business needs are. We have asked the Alberta government to:

    • Expand eligibility requirements to Alberta's SME Relaunch Grant 
    • Extend eviction protection under Bill 23 - the Commercial Tenancies Protection Act, which expired on August 31, and suspend property seizures of shut down businesses
    • Recommended the government starts planning for potential business closures in the event of a second wave 
    • Ask the government to partake in CFIB #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign and encourage all Albertans to shop locally 
    • Encourage the government to support CFIB's calls to modify federal support programs such as CERB and CECRA

    FAQ on COVID-19

    We’re dedicated to supporting your business through this difficult time by compiling answers to the most common COVID-19 questions and keeping you up to date on the latest relief measures from the federal government. Visit our Small Business Help Center to learn more.