Posted on May 12, 2020
NDP CALLS FOR DIRECT FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES REOPENING
EDMONTON -- The NDP are proposing multiple grants to help small businesses reopen in accordance with public health orders, as well as calling on the UCP to fix the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program.
As part of their Smart Relaunch Strategy, the NDP Official Opposition are calling on Premier Jason Kenney and his UCP government to provide direct financial support for small businesses in the form of grants and rent relief to protect jobs and provide much needed stimulus to the economy while keeping Albertans safe.
These new proposals are meant to supplement the previous call from the NDP for the UCP government to develop robust and evidenced based guidelines for businesses to reopen.
“We need to be smart about how to reopen our economy and do it in a way that is based on protects the health of all Albertans,” said Rachel Notley, NDP Official Opposition Leader. “That means financial support for businesses so they have the resources they need to stay afloat and clear guidelines to keep everyone safe. We need to get this right the first time. We simply can’t afford to get it wrong.”
The proposed grants include:
- $5,000 for physical business improvements to comply with public health orders
- $5,000 for startup related costs for the retail and services sector
- $10,000 for startup related costs for the hospitality sector
In addition, the NDP are calling on the UCP government to renegotiate the terms of CECRA with the federal government or provide rent relief for small businesses that are unable to participate in the program.
CECRA was developed in conjunction with the provinces, but has faced criticism regarding complicated eligibility requirements and landlords refusing to participate in the program.
“My landlord refuses to participate in the rent subsidy program and I’m powerless to take on a multi-billion dollar company. I am in phase three, so I was first to close and will be the last to open, and the months take a toll,” said Janis Isaman, owner of Body Couture in Calgary.
“Laser City is fundamentally in the business of bringing people physically together to celebrate or socialize, which, in the current Covid-19 pandemic, is obviously not a great thing to be doing - certainly not at the scale we did a couple of months ago,” said Brittany Anderson, co-founder of Laser City.
“While we've received some government support, the thing that would help us the most right now would be a working rent subsidy program. We've been closed for almost 2 months, and the proposed program isn't yet available. Plus, in its current form, our landlords wouldn't be allowed to use it. A program has to be available now, be available to those who need it and be backed by a commercial eviction ban.”
“Jason Kenney needs to get back to the table to renegotiate this failed program. Small businesses are falling through the cracks, putting their businesses and jobs in jeopardy. If the federal government won’t help, Jason Kenney needs to step in and provide relief,” said Notley.
The NDP are also calling for a 50 per cent reduction for insurance premiums until December 31, 2020, relief on utility bills that go beyond just deferrals, and a PPE acquisition plan led by the provincial government.
“Right now, I need accessible solutions, and those include help with rent for the months my business has been - and will continue to be - closed, plus mandated insurance rebates on my commercial insurance and grants to help restore inventory in order to restart my business,” said Isaman.
“We need the government to act now if we want to retain active, lively businesses that make up our urban landscapes, enhance local economies and employ Albertans.”