Posted on Jun 5, 2020


EDMONTON – More support is needed to help small businesses struggling to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Today’s light-on-details announcement by the Premier means that small businesses struggling to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic will have to wait even longer for support, as Jason Kenney and the UCP once again drag their feet for weeks and still fall short of the mark. Kenney did not announce any measures to offset insurance premiums, utility costs or plans for paid sick leave.


“While we are glad to see Jason Kenney finally take some action to support small businesses, it comes too little, too late. Entrepreneurs have been asking for help for weeks, many scared they would open their doors only to find themselves locked out,” said Thomas Dang, MLA for Edmonton-South. 


Small businesses have been asking the UCP government for additional support managing increasing costs, including support with commercial rent, for weeks. The Alberta NDP Caucus has repeatedly called on the Premier to support small business, receiving only excuses and deflections in return.


“It’s shameful that he waited until the 11th hour to step up, especially when our caucus offered to help implement these measures weeks ago. At this point, we have to assume that Jason Kenney waits to take action on principle, as though taking advice from the Official Opposition is so offensive, he would rather let businesses be evicted before admitting he hasn’t done enough,” said Dang.


The Alberta NDP Caucus first called on the government to introduce $5,000 grants for small businesses—a support already in place in other jurisdictions—on April 9. It took Jason Kenney 57 days to announce $5,000 grants for small businesses struggling due to the pandemic.


On May 21, the Alberta NDP Caucus called for a ban on commercial evictions. Nova Scotia has had a ban in place for weeks, and British Columbia implemented a ban earlier this week. Today, Jason Kenney announced “measures to prevent businesses from being evicted by landlords who fail to act responsibility in their dealings with commercial tenants” but refused to implement a full ban. 


“We are concerned that the Premier is not talking about an outright ban and that businesses, who have been waiting weeks for support, are now forced to wait even longer for this government to announce any actual details. We offered to pass legislation to ban evictions in a single sitting day when the legislature was recalled this week. Instead, businesses are waiting even longer for protection,” said Dang.


The Alberta NDP Caucus would like to remind the Premier that $7.5 billion dollars of his so-called “biggest relief package in Canada” is going to a single company, in a secret deal hidden from the Alberta public.