December 9, 2020

Alberta’s government is expanding its relaunch grant to help small and medium-sized job creators impacted by new COVID-19 restrictions

by Justin Brattinga - Alberta's Recovery Plan

To support Alberta’s small businesses as they adapt to the realities of the ongoing public health crisis, the Alberta government is expanding and increasing the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant. With a new lower threshold and increased grant amount, up to 15,000 more businesses may be eligible for funding.

In November, the government announced that Alberta businesses impacted by recent public health orders were eligible to apply for a second payment through the program. This second payment will now be 15 per cent of pre-pandemic monthly revenues up to a maximum of $15,000 – for a total of $20,000 in potential funding available for each business, up from the original $5,000.

This second payment is available to businesses operating in areas on the provincial watch list where new health restrictions have been implemented. Applications for the second payment in areas under enhanced measures will open this month.

Additionally, the program is now expanding to include job creators who have experienced a 30 per cent revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This lowers the threshold from the existing requirement of 40 per cent revenue loss. The 30 per cent threshold will be available to impacted businesses retroactive to March.

“Our small businesses need additional supports, and they need them today – that’s why we’re taking action now to increase the funding available to our local job creators. We’ve tripled our support to get job creators the help they need so we can come out of this pandemic stronger than before. Alberta’s government is here for our small businesses while we protect the lives and livelihoods of all Albertans.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

“Our province’s job creators are barely surviving with nearly half reporting they are losing money every day they are open. We thank the Alberta government for recognizing the significant impacts new restrictions are having on small businesses and for providing this additional help through the expansion of the relaunch grant. The expansion of the grant will help businesses who desperately need direct cash support keep their lights on and make it through to the new year.”

Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“The Fitness Industry Council of Canada, and our member studios, gyms and recreation centres, look to work in partnership with the government to curate safe and effective exercise experiences for Albertans. There have been many added costs to running a facility, most notably those associated with cleaning and sanitization. For facilities that have been forced to close, expenses such as property taxes, loan payments and remaining rent expense still remain. We welcome this additional funding source for those businesses that have had to temporarily close and look forward to working alongside Alberta Health Services to ensure that our facilities are as safe as possible.”

Scott Wildeman, president, Industry Fitness Council of Canada

“Increasing restrictions are negatively impacting restaurant sales, with 65 per cent of restaurants recently reporting that they are operating at loss. Restaurants Canada appreciates the Alberta government’s expansion of its relaunch grant program and changes to the program’s criteria, as this will allow more hospitality businesses to access the working capital they critically need to survive the second wave of COVID-19.”

Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president for Western Canada, Restaurants Canada

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that faced restrictions or closures from public health orders.

Job creators that meet the program’s eligibility criteria can apply for 15 per cent of their pre-COVID-19 monthly revenue up to a maximum of $20,000 since the program launched.

Businesses can use the funding however they choose to offset the costs they must face as a result of the pandemic restrictions. This includes the costs of implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including PPE and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages, or replacing inventory. The funds can also be used to help businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities so that they can continue to serve customers.

The program launched at the end of June with a budget of up to $200 million. To ensure Alberta businesses have access to the supports they need, this budget was increased to $500 million.  More program details, including updated eligibility criteria and how to apply for the second payment, will be outlined on the program web page when finalized. Applications will be open until March 31, 2021, unless otherwise communicated.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.

Quick facts

  • On Nov. 23, small businesses located in areas on the provincial watch list were offered the ability to apply for a second payment under the relaunch program. The threshold for the grant was also reduced from 50 to 40 per cent.
  • Additional supports for businesses are available through the federal government.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses make up 99.8 per cent of Alberta businesses.
    • Businesses with fewer than 100 employees represent 98 per cent of Alberta businesses.

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