Posted on Dec 22, 2020


EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP, the owners of new small businesses and sole proprietors are calling on the UCP Government to provide critical supports to help them survive the COVID-19 pandemic.


New small businesses that opened after February do not qualify for the Provincial Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant, or the Federal Canadian Rent Subsidy and Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy because they do not have past revenue statements to prove a drop in earnings. Any business that began operations in March or later are not eligible. 


“These small businesses have been operating for months without support” said NDP MLA Rod Loyola, who has been consulting with businesses as part of the initiative. “Jason Kenney’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 has caused them to be heavily restricted or even shut down. This government had months to develop supports for new businesses but they still have not received a penny.”


“Most of these new small businesses did not choose to open up during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Loyola continued. “These owners have been planning to open for months before COVID-19 hit Alberta. Now they are struggling to stay afloat and they haven’t even been given a chance to get out of the starting gate and succeed in Alberta.”


The Alberta NDP is calling on the UCP government to provide needed financial support for new small businesses by implementing the following: 

  • Immediately allow new businesses access to the full $20,000 dollars available through the Small and Medium Sized Business Relaunch Grant. 
  • Create rent subsidy and wage subsidy programs for new businesses who do not qualify for federal support because they do not have the past revenue requirements. 


Ghizlane Malki, co-owner owner of Amandine Cafe, said she and business partner Fatima Zaid had to personal guarantees to their landlord and our suppliers to stay in operation after opening in June. 


“We are now personally on the hook for thousands of dollars.” Malki said. “This is not fair. We pay taxes like other businesses, and we employ Albertans like other businesses. But we do not get the subsidies other businesses get and because of that, we are risking our future and our families’ finances.” 


Hairdresser Jesse Harisany started operating as a sole proprietor and opened Black Magic Collective in May 2020. She said people in her situation have been left out of the supports equation and there’s no explanation for why. 


“We are all trying to survive this pandemic,” she said, adding, “and those who have put in the extra work to build something positive during this horrifying time should not be quietly choked out and forced to close because of it.”


Scott Claypool, owner of The Dapper Beaver Coffee Co, opened his business in August and said he’s now the only employee, working 14-hour days.  


“Being included in the supports all other businesses receive, like the small business relaunch, would mean I can finally finish my renovations,” Claypool said. “Or being included in the wage subsidies would mean I would be able to afford to hire employees to not only alleviate some of my burden, but to expand and hire more.”