More COVID recovery aid for Alberta’s small businesses
Alberta’s government is expanding the small business relaunch grant to put more money in the hands of job creators when they need it to survive the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alberta government is offering small businesses affected by the most recent public health orders another payment of up to $10,000 from the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.
Alberta businesses affected by the latest public health orders will be eligible to apply for another payment in the second half of April. This additional payment will also be available to new businesses that began operating between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, as well as hotels, taxis and ride-sharing services.
“Small businesses have borne the brunt of pandemic restrictions, and have made real sacrifices to protect our health-care system and save lives. That’s why Alberta’s government has already committed over $500 million in support through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant, and it’s why we are expanding that support today.”
Jason Kenney, Premier
“We’ll continue to be there to support small businesses that we’ve asked to make sacrifices to help keep us safe during this pandemic. Alberta’s economy relies on the successful recovery of small businesses and we’ll be there to support them to get to the other side of this pandemic.”
Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation
“We know how difficult this past year has been for small businesses, and this program will provide some much-needed capital to these businesses.”
Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for Small Business and Tourism
“Today’s announcement is welcome news. It is vital for small business survival that proper supports are in place until the economy can fully reopen.”
Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
“Not being able to qualify for relief programs was a major frustration we heard from operators who started ventures during the early days of the pandemic. This is a much-needed program to provide some assistance for SMEs that are doing their part to stem the tide of our current pandemic.”
Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce
“Alberta businesses face ongoing uncertainty and require flexible and accessible supports. Extending the relaunch grant provides critical support for businesses, giving them confidence that they can recover and emerge stronger.”
Murray Sigler, interim CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
“This increased funding can’t come soon enough. Businesses have already faced over a year of tremendous revenue shortfalls and they will need continued help.”
Janet M. Riopel, president & CEO, Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
The relaunch grant program has already had nearly 50,000 applicants, with total program costs of more than $500 million. With this latest expansion, small businesses that have qualified for all three rounds will have received as much as $30,000.
The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent.
Funds can be used to:
Cover costs of items that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
Pay rent, employee wages or replace inventory.
Help businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities so that they can continue to serve customers.
The program is scheduled to be open for applications until May 31 and is capped at $350 million.
The updated SMERG program will replace the previously announced Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit and will provide funding to more businesses facing increased public health measures as announced on April 6.
Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.
Applications for the additional $10,000 payment will open in the second half of April for any organization that meets the eligibility criteria.
Applications received before the previous program closure on March 31 will continue to be processed.
Companies that did not apply under the first run of SMERG will not be able to apply for the initial payments – only the new $10,000 payment.
Money received under SMERG does not need to be repaid.
Small and medium enterprises are an important part of Alberta’s economy, accounting for more than 99 per cent of all businesses and nearly 55 per cent of all employment.
As of April 6, Alberta’s government has provided more than $451 million to more than 39,000 small businesses through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.
Alberta’s government has provided billions of dollars in supports to job creators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
Deferring corporate income tax collection for six months, providing $1.5 billion in relief.
Deferring education property taxes and freezing the rate at 2019 levels.
Deferring WCB premiums and paying 50 per cent of them for small and medium businesses, saving them $350 million.
Providing a 90-day deferral for utility payments last spring.
Banning commercial evictions, rent increases and late fees for commercial tenants.
Additional supports for businesses are available through the federal government.