On June 5, 2020, the Alberta government announced new measures aimed at supporting small and medium-sized businesses.
The government committed to assisting businesses that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in two main ways:
- By introducing further measures, including legislation, to ensure that commercial tenants do not face rent increases or face eviction for non-payment during the public health emergency; and
- By providing small and medium-size businesses that are struggling to reopen with a one time relaunch payment of up to 15% of monthly revenue to a maximum of $5,000.
The relaunch payment will be aimed at assisting small and medium-sized businesses with less than 500 employees that have had their operations shut down or severely curtailed. The government is committing up to $200 million to assist these businesses with costs of reopening, including costs associated with implementing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and comply with provincial health regulations. Examples of ways the relaunch payment can be used include measures such as physical barriers, personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies), rent, employee wages or replacement of inventory.
The program’s online application is expected to be available in the coming weeks. Program details, including eligibility, are being confirmed.
Legislative Changes Aimed at Protecting Commercial Tenants
In his address, Premier Jason Kenney also cited a need to address the concern of commercial tenant eviction which has arisen due to gaps in the federal programs, such as the Canada Commercial Rent Assistance Program. Kenney stated that in many cases the program is not being used to its full extent by commercial landlords or not being passed down to commercial tenants. Legislative changes will be aimed at ensuring that commercial landlords who “fail to act reasonably” are not able to increase rent or evict tenants for non-payment of rent.
Additional details are expected to be finalized during the current summer session.
Businesses beginning to reopen will likely have many questions and may encounter many challenging circumstances in doing so, and we are here to help you navigate these challenges. If you have questions relating to your organization’s specific circumstances, please reach out to MLT Aikins for assistance.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.