Small businesses struggling to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic will see some monetary relief from the provincial government through a one-time relaunch payment.
Premier Jason Kenney announced the new financial supports at a news conference on Friday morning.
He said the payment will account for up to 15 per cent of a business’s monthly sales revenue and will be provided to organizations with less than 500 employees that were forced to close or were deeply affected by the pandemic.
“The goal is really to help them with a portion of their fixed costs,” Kenney said.
“These are extraordinary times and these businesses are not struggling because of anything they did… They had to shut their doors because of government-mandated policies to keep us safe.”
Eligible businesses will receive a one-time payment of up to $5,000 to help reopen their doors as the province moves forward with its relaunch strategy. Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Minister Tanya Fir said where they spend that money won’t be overly regulated.
“It’s intended for things like inventory, supplies, wages, rent and putting in protective measures,” Fir said.
“We know the small businesses know best where to spend that money.”
Kenney also announced additional help for businesses struggling to pay rent amid the pandemic.
“We’re taking measures to prevent businesses from being evicted by landlords,” he said.
Kenney said the province is planning further measures, including legislation, to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the public health emergency.
Kenney also announced that the province will work to address shortcomings of the Canada Emergency Comercial Rent Assistance Program to help provide temporary relief to businesses that have been hit the hardest by the ongoing pandemic.
“We are contributing at least $67 million to provide a repayable loan for up to 50 per cent of monthly costs, if landlords cut the rent for a small business tenant by 75 per cent and if they promise not to evict them,” Kenney said.
The program is available to landlords whose business tenants have lost 70 per cent or more of their revenue and pay less than $50,000 a month in rent, Kenney noted.
Kenney’s announcement comes hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered $14 billion to provinces to support economic recovery during the pandemic. How the money will be distributed to each province is yet to be decided.View link »