New grants will ease relaunch costs faced by businesses
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profits in Alberta have shutdown, either completely or partially, leading to severely limited sales. As they begin to reopen, the increased cost to operate under public health requirements are causing further stress among business owners and non-profits.
To ease the impacts of new measures, businesses and non-profits need support to reopen. Government is committing up to $200 million in funding for eligible businesses and non-profits to access up to $5,000 to offset a portion of their relaunch costs. These funds can be used for implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, (such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacement of inventory.
The program’s online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks. Program details, including eligibility, are being confirmed.
Ending the fear of commercial tenant eviction
Many Alberta businesses are facing challenges paying their rent during the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to feel the economic pressure even as their businesses reopen.
To help ease the economic pinch, government is planning further measures including legislation to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new measures will help address shortfalls in the current Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, and will give eligible business owners piece of mind as they reopen and help with the provincial economic recovery.
Additional details are expected to be finalized during the current summer session.
WCB premiums deferral for private sector businesses and support for small and medium businesses
As announced in March, government is committed to easing the economic burden on businesses by deferring WCB premiums. Private sector employers are saving money on their WCB premium payments now, when they need it most. These actions ensure the sustainability of the workers’ compensation system and that injured workers continue to receive the benefits and supports they need to return to work.
- Private sector employers have immediate financial relief, with WCB premiums deferred for one year, until early 2021.
- Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020-21 are eligible for a rebate or credit.
- For small and medium businesses, the government is covering 50 percent of the premium when it is due.
- The average small business is expected to save about $1,000 this year.
- The average medium business is expected to save about $20,000 this year.
- Large employers are receiving a break having their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
- Paying 50 per cent of small and medium private sector WCB premiums for 2020 will cost government approximately $350 million.