October 9, 2020

Response to Federal Support for Businesses During COVID

Today’s federal announcements of additional supports brought some good news for the Alberta businesses including a revamped rent relief program, extension of the wage subsidy, and expansion of the emergency small business bank account. Also very important are targeted measures for areas experiencing outbreaks. Targeting further actions to specific areas that need them is key to living with COVID, which we will be doing for some time.

I am pleased to see some further detail on the continuation of the federal wage subsidy program at its current levels at least to the end of the year. This will provide some comfort to Albertans who rely on it for groceries, and stability and planning trajectory to the many Alberta businesses using this program.

We’ve provided feedback to the government for several months that the commercial rent program wasn’t working for businesses, and the new program appears more responsive, placing more emphasis on tenants, and providing targeted support based on the level of impact.

There are still missing elements, however. The LEEFF program still is not working to provide liquidity for larger employers and requires a rethink and revamp. And we’re still looking to see further targeted support for hard-hit industries such as airlines, tourism, hospitality, and energy.

Adam Legge
President, Business Council of Alberta

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