Support for Businesses

Support for businesses 

The Downtown Business Association is engaging with federal and provincial governments and the City of Edmonton to ensure the concerns of Downtown businesses are addressed as part of evolving responses to COVID-19. Below is a summary of current relief measures available to business owners.

covid businesses businesses

ATB BoostR program

If you’re a small business or entrepreneur who has lost revenue due to COVID-19, a crowdfunding project could be your answer to cash-flow. In light of COVID-19, ATB BoostR has relaxed some of its criteria for its crowd-funding program. Learn more 

Government of Canada

The federal government’s Resources for Canadian Business page provides one-stop info for business and employees.  Read more here. 

Corporate Income Tax
• The Alberta government has deferred corporate income tax balances and installment payments from March 19 until August 31, 2020. Read more here. 

Utility Bills
• The Alberta government has provided support measures to allow commercial customers to defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days, regardless of service provider. Read more here. 

Rent Relief
• On April 16, the federal government introduced the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. The program will seek to provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership between the federal government and provincial and territorial governments, which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.

• On May 20 the federal government announced that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) application documents and updated criteria for small businesses are now available and that the program will be opened for applications beginning on May 25. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2020. 

Business Loans, Credit and Working Capital

The federal government launched the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). This $25 billion program will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced, due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

On April 16, the federal government announced the expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to allow a business that paid between $20,000 and $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022, will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).

On May 19, the federal government announced the expansion of the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses with a payroll lower than $20,000 in 2019. 

Small businesses and not-for-profits should contact their financial institution to apply for these loans. Learn more here.


• The federal government has announced that they will increase the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. A new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. Read more here.

•The federal government announced that the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) will lower the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25% of risk-weighted assets, effective immediately. This action will allow Canada’s large banks to inject $300 billion of additional lending in to the economy. 

• ATB Financial small business customers can apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months.
• ATB Financial small business customers can access additional working capital.
• ATB Financial agriculture and other business customers can access support on a one-on-one basis. Read more here. 
• Customers of other banks should check with their bank provider, as Canada’s large banks have confirmed support, but have not yet released details. Read more here.

Business Tax
• The City of Edmonton is examining business tax relief measures.

BIA Levy
• On March 30, The City of Edmonton announced the deferral of Business Improvement Area (BIA) Tax Levy payments until August 31, 2020.

Non-profits
• The Alberta government has said that charitable and non-profit groups will immediately receive an additional $60 million to support seniors and other vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Wage Subsidies
• The federal government through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will cover 75 percent of salaries for qualifying businesses, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Read more here. 

• The federal government has introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to support workers and help businesses keep their employees, providing $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers and entrepreneurs who are not receiving a paycheque as a result of COVID-19. Read more here.

Property Tax

When Alberta businesses are operating, they employ Albertans who can support themselves, their families and help keep the economy running. Effective immediately, the government will defer education property tax for businesses for six months.

• In the next six months, $458 million in cash will remain with employers to help them pay employees and continue operations.
• The government expects municipalities to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection. Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.
• The government encourages commercial landlords to pass on these savings to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments. This will help employers continue to manage their debts, pay their employees and stay in business.
• Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are strongly encouraged to do so. This will assist the province in being able to support Albertans through this pandemic.

WCB Premiums

Private sector employers can save money on their WCB premium payments at a time 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 will have immediate financial relief by deferring WCB premiums until early 2021, effectively for one year.
• Employers who have already paid their WCB premium payment for 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.
• For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the premium when it is due.
• Large employers will also receive a break by 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.

Other employment standards
• The Alberta government is working to streamline the process for approvals related to modifying employment standards so employers and workers can respond quicker to changing conditions at the workplace due to the public health emergency.
• The Alberta government announced on April 6 that it is improving scheduling flexibility by removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes, and the two weeks’ notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
• The Alberta government announced on April 6 that it is removing the requirement to provide the group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.

Summer Jobs Program
The federal government will be changing the Summer Jobs Program this year to subsidize 100% of student salaries. The timeframe for job placement has also been extended until winter. 

Free online programs
Innovate Edmonton is happy to announce free access to Business Model 101 and Preflight for local startup founders and companies. All programs will be offered virtually, and program materials will be delivered to registered participants, as supplies allow. Read more here.