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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. 

Economic Relaunch Strategy

On April 30, 2020, the Alberta government released a phased approach to reopening Alberta’s economy while still following public health guidelines and some restrictions. Alberta’s economy will gradually reopen with Stage 1 expected to start as early as May 14. At this point there are no specific dates for Stage 2 or 3.

Read the provincial plan, Opening soon: Alberta’s relaunch strategy, here.

All businesses are expected to develop and implement policies and procedures to address COVID-19 prior to re-opening or continuing operations. The Alberta government has launched a Biz-connect webpage where you can find resources, guidance and sector specific guidelines for safely opening your business. Businesses have been strongly recommended to fill out this Relaunch Considerations Form and post it in their business or online.

Do you have questions about how to safely get back to business as Alberta's economy reopens?
As the province starts to lift restrictions and reopen the economy, CFIB has put together tools and resources to help you get back to business and keep your staff and customers safe:

Early Stage 1 - May 2

  • Golf courses can open with restrictions including keeping clubhouses and pro shops closed. On-site shops and restaurants can open in stage one (May 14), consistent with other businesses and retailers.

Early Stage 1 - May 4

  • Dental and other health-care workers, such as physiotherapists, speech language pathologists, respiratory therapists, audiologists, social workers, occupational therapists, dieticians and more, will be allowed to resume, as long as they are following approved guidelines set by their professional colleges.
  • Private and municipal campgrounds and parks can open with physical distancing restrictions, under their own local authority.

Stage 1 – May 14

  • Retail businesses, such as clothing, furniture and bookstores.
  • All vendors at farmers markets will also be able to operate with additional measures such as the requirement for barriers and the elimination of food sampling.
  • Some personal services like hairstyling and barber shops (May 25 for Calgary & Brooks)
  • Museums and art galleries
  • Daycares and out-of-school care with limits on occupancy.
  • Summer camps with limits on occupancy. This could include summer school.
  • Cafés, restaurants (minors allowed in liquor licensed establishments) with no bar service to reopen for public seating at 50 per cent capacity (May 25 for Calgary & Brooks).
  • Some additional outdoor recreation.
  • Post-secondary institutions will continue to deliver courses, however how programs are delivered – whether online, in-person, or a blend – will be dependent on what restrictions remain in place at each relaunch phase.
  • The use of masks will be strongly recommended in certain specific crowded public spaces, like mass transit, that do not allow for physical distancing (two metres apart).

Still not permitted in Phase I:

  • Gatherings of more than 15 people. (Gatherings of 15 people or fewer must follow personal distancing and other public health guidelines.)
  • Arts and culture festivals, major sporting events, and concerts, all of which involve close physical contact.
  • Movie theatres, theatres, pools, recreation centres, arenas, spas, gyms and nightclubs will remain closed.
  • Visitors to patients at health-care facilities will continue to be limited.
  • In-school classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students.
Supports for businesses

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

  • Corporate income tax changes: corporate income tax balances and installment payments will be deferred until August 31, 2020.
  • Utility payment deferral: residents, agri-businesses and small businesses can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments until June 18, 2020 to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider. Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a deferral on all payments. Learn more about utility payment deferral here.
  • Education property tax freeze: the Alberta government canceled the decision made in Budget 2020 and will freeze education property taxes at last year's level (a savings of $32 million for businesses).
  • Education property tax deferral: the Alberta government has deferred education property tax for businesses for the next six months.
  • 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.
  • Tourism levy deferral: Hotels and other lodging providers can keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

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

Employment Standards Changes
  • Creating 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.
  • Removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes
  • Removing the requirement for 2 weeks notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement
  • Removing 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.
  • Increasing the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 120 days
    • This change is retroactive for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17
  • Streamlining 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

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

  • Introduce an Emergency Relief Provision in the Alberta Employment Standards Code
  • Provide relief measures for rent and lease payments for small businesses
  • Have a small business hotline to help if business needs to temporary close or how to access/apply for provincial relief measures
  • Press pause on routine audits.

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.