Posted on May 20, 2021
NDP CALLS ON THE UCP TO GET FUNDING FOR SMALL BUSINESSES OUT THE DOOR, ADD OTHER SUPPORTS
CALGARY - Alberta’s NDP is calling for the UCP to do whatever is needed to get the latest round of Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant out the door and into the hands of small businesses so they can make through the most recent round of restrictions.
The Alberta NDP has talked to over 100 small businesses and none of them have reported that they have received any funding from the third round of the Small and Medium sized Enterprise Relaunch Grant - some are still waiting for their second payment, dating as far back as November. It is clear that the latest support is delayed and not making it to the small businesses that are in desperate need.
“This round of additional support was announced on Feb. 17th — over three months ago” said NDP Leader Rachel Notley. “Today, all the business owners we have talked to are still waiting for their funding - and many have been told they will wait eight more weeks because Jason Kenney has failed to hire enough staff to process the applications.”
Amanda Weightman, Owner of GOAT Lifestyle Shop in Calgary, said she is still waiting for her second round of the Relaunch Grant, which she applied for in December.. She’s since applied for the third round of funding as well.
“We actually don't have a lot of confidence in receiving that money since we haven't even received our second payment which we applied for last December during our second closure,” she said. “While this grant money would make a tremendous difference for us, the real value would be to have the money now.”
Nicole Pernsky, part owner at the Black Magic Collective in Lethbridge, said as a business that followed the rules, she expected to be able to easily access government support. She’s learned that her third round of funding may not flow until July, if ever. Pernsky said it’s been really tough to make ends meet, especially while taking care of three children.
“Businesses need this support now — I need support now,” she said. “Since I am a new business I do not qualify for the rent support or any of the other federal programs, so for the months I have been forced to close I will only receive 933 dollars. Each time we have been asked to close our doors, we have been endlessly promised support and security, but neither has been the case for myself and so many others. We did our part but now we can only sit and wait for what we were promised”
The latest support of $10,000 dollars was initially announced back on Feb. 17. Since then, small businesses have been hit hard by the third wave and additional public health restrictions. The current amount is not nearly enough to help many small businesses make it through.
Rob Bowatzke, Owner of the Evolution Wonderlounge in Edmonton, has not been able to operate over the past 14 months, since he was closed during the first wave.
“The promised additional grant for hard-hit hospitality was rolled into this third SMERG, and even though we immediately applied for it, we are still waiting for that money,” he said. “We need it. We need it fast. We need it now. Frankly, we need much more.
“We need the government to step up to keep us above water until that safe reopening is possible.”
Kieth Carlson, owner of Roy’s Place in Claresholm, is worried about the impact on small communities if businesses like his cannot keep their doors open.
“Without organized grant dispersal and timely review of businesses with high cash turnover and perishable goods we fall closer to the edge of non recovery,” he said. “For every business like ours that doesn’t make it means 30 jobs that do not come back to small communities. That means 15 year’s worth of time and earnings returned into the betterment of a business lost. With half measures and cyclical shutdowns, it leaves businesses in the hospitality and service sector fiscally and emotionally depleted.”
Alberta's NDP is also renewing our call to increase the most recent round of support from $10,000 to $25,000, and bring back the previous payment calculator so businesses will qualify for a larger portion of this critical grant.
As stated the Alberta NDP has consulted with over 100 businesses and not one has stated that they have received any funding from the 3rd round of Small and Medium sized Enterprise Relaunch Grant. The following are some of those businesses:
Pazzo Pazzo Restaurant
Photos With Finesse
GOAT Shop Hair Services
Tavern On Whyte
Photos With Finesse
No More Excuses Fitness
Escoba Bistro & Wine Bar
Petro Canada North Edmonton
remedy Café - 124st
remedy Café - University
remedy Café - Downtown
remedy Café - Whyte Avenue
Roy's Place Restaurant
Aradia Fitness - Whyte Ave
Aradia Fitness - St. Albert
Aradia Fitness - Kingsway
Aradia Fitness - Sherwood Park
Black Magic Collective
Petro Canada South Edmonton