COVID-19: Financial Relief Measures for Alberta Businesses

Peninsula Team

July 06 2020

Alberta recently announced a new recovery plan to boost its economy through the COVID-19 crisis. A key measure includes lowering corporate tax rate from 12% to 8%. As per Alberta government estimates, this will benefit over 100,000 businesses, of which 75% are small businesses.

More details about the Alberta Recovery Plan will be released in the coming weeks.  

Alongside this initiative, Alberta has also rolled out several financial relief measures to support small businesses: 

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant 

This program supports businesses and nonprofits that had to close or reduce services due to the pandemic.  

Applicants must show a revenue reduction of at least 50% in April and/or May 2020 due to public health orders. Eligible businesses can apply for 15% of their pre-pandemic revenue, up to a maximum of $5000.

Businesses may use the funds to even out relaunch costs, such as purchasing PPE, paying rent and wages, etc. 

The Alberta government has provided up to $200 million in funding for this Grant. This program opened for applications from June 29, 2020. It will remain open until August 31 or for 4 weeks following the start of Stage 3 of Alberta’s reopening. 

Workers Compensation Board premium payment deferrals

Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premiums until 2021. The government will pay 50% of the 2020 premium for small and medium businesses, when it's due in 2021. Businesses who’ve already paid their WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

Education property tax deferral

The government has fixed education property tax rates at last year’s level. Non-residential education property tax for businesses will not be collected for 6 months. Or, both the municipal and education property tax will be deferred for a shorter time that is of equal benefit.

Tourism levy deferral

Hotels and other lodging providers can keep tourism levy amounts gathered between March 1 and December 31, 2020. Alberta will refund businesses that have already paid amounts collected after March 1. 

However, unpaid amounts due on or after March 27, 2020, can only be deferred until August 31, 2020.  

Other measures

Legislation in the works to protect commercial tenants

Alberta has introduced Bill 23 to protect eligible commercial tenants. If passed, this legislation would help commercial tenants avoid evictions if they can’t pay rent due to the pandemic. It will also stop landlords from raising rent and charging late fees. 

These protections would be applicable from March 17, 2020 to August 31, 2020. But the legislation will not apply to evictions or lease terminations that occurred before it was tabled on June 16, 2020.

Support for ATB Financial small business customers

ATB Financial is Alberta’s largest financial institution and a crown corporation. It is offering payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months to its small business customers. They also have the opportunity to use additional working capital. 

Alberta has also deferred corporate income tax balances and instalments due between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020. These have now been deferred until August 31, 2020.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

To get advice on how to maintain your business during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1 (833) 247-3652.

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