Alberta small businesses need additional support in the wake of new restrictions

Calgary, April 6, 2021 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on the Alberta government to increase financial supports for small businesses as additional restrictions come into effect.

The decision to suspend indoor dining and limit indoor fitness activities will again push the economic recovery of these industries further behind. Small businesses in the hospitality and fitness industries have been operating under some of the most strict and longest lasting public health orders for over a year. They are also at the most risk of closing and in desperate need of additional financial support.


Hospitality industry 

Arts and recreation industry  

Alberta average  

% with normal sales  




% fully open  




% full staffed  




% at risk of closure  




% need additional provincial support  




“Once again small businesses, especially those in the hospitality and fitness industries, are being closed to send a message to the public to stay home while little evidence is provided that dining with family or exercising is a real danger to public health,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director. “Furthermore, it is concerning we are over a year into this pandemic and over half of small businesses say the Alberta government has not been doing a good job supporting them.”

Last week the Alberta government turned off the taps to small business support by closing the Small-medium-sized Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) program. Meanwhile applications for the much narrower replacement program, the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit, are not even open yet while small businesses like restaurants and gyms are forced to close their doors again.

The Alberta government can support small businesses by broadening the following eligibility requirements of the new Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit and increase payments for the hardest hit industries:

  • Lower the revenue loss threshold from 60% to 30%, like the previous SMERG program;  
  • Remove the requirement for businesses to calculate whether the total of federal and provincial support programs received exceeds 80% coverage of their revenues; and
  • Reopen applications for the SMERG program until the entire economy is reopened if changes to the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit do not occur.   

“It is vital the Alberta government ensures there is sufficient support for small businesses while they are kept under mandatory operating restrictions. We strongly call on the Alberta government to broaden the eligibility and increase payments to the new grant program,” concluded Dormuth.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:

Annie Dormuth

Alberta provincial affairs director


Source for CFIB Data

Preliminary results for CFIB’s Your Voice – March 2021, online survey conducted March 4-31, 2021, n=4,881. 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.

About CFIB

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members (9,300 in Alberta) across every industry and region. 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