Additional support will come too late to give Alberta small businesses a fighting chance of survival

7 in 10 Alberta small businesses agree support measures are critical to their survival and are worried about the survival of their business 

Calgary, February 17, 2021 – CFIB is disappointed to learn the hardest hit small businesses will have to wait until April 1 to apply for additional relief through the Alberta government’s new Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit. While we appreciate the government providing up to $10,000 in additional support, it is funding that is needed now, not in April. There are also concerns about the government turning off the taps to the current SME Relaunch Grant with applications closing at the end of March. 

“It’s mind boggling why the Alberta government is asking the hardest hit small businesses to wait until April for additional support when an existing program is in place to roll out funding now,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director. “This move makes no sense, and does not reflect the realities of small businesses, many of which are barely hanging on. Small businesses are not in a position to wait for additional funding or have provincial or federal support programs turned off.” 

The recovery rates and number of small businesses at risk of closure in the hospitality (restaurants, hotels, caterers) and arts and recreation (gyms, venues, arcades) industries show the need for additional support now, not in April:  


Hospitality industry

Arts and recreation industry 

Alberta average 

% fully open  



% full staffed  



% with normal sales  


% at risk of closure  




% need additional provincial support 




“Although the government has established a reopening plan, it is dependent on many factors that could prolong when businesses can either reopen or operate under greater capacity. Until we are well past the reopening phase and back to a position when small businesses can operate without social distancing measures, the government needs to ensure supports are in place,” concluded Dormuth.

Source for CFIB data on support measures:  
CFIB, preliminary results for the Your Voice – January 2021 survey, results from January 12 to 18, 2021, n = 4,701. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-1.4%, 19 times out of 20.

Source for CFIB data on recovery:  
CFIB, preliminary results for the Your Voice – February 2021 survey, results from February 4 to 8, 2021, n = 3,554. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-1.6%, 19 times out of 20.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Annie Dormuth
Alberta provincial affairs director 

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region, including 10,000 in Alberta. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at