Authors: Adam Merrick, Jean Torrens, Kaitlin Ward
On June 29, 2020, the Government of Alberta made two announcements:
- Starting on June 29, 2020, eligible small- and medium-sized businesses, co-ops, and non-profits can apply for one-time funding up to $5,000 under the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (the “Relaunch Grant”); and
- The Government of Alberta revealed the Alberta Recovery Plan (the “Recovery Plan”), detailing the province’s economic strategy.
The Relaunch Grant
The Relaunch Grant is available to Alberta businesses, co-operatives, and non-profit organizations that:
- are currently facing restrictions or closures as a result of public health orders;
- have experienced revenue losses of at least 50% due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April, 2020 and/or May 2020;
- have 500 or fewer employees, including all full-time, part-time, and contract employees;
- maintain a permanent establishment; and
- are open or plan to reopen.
Successful applicants are eligible to claim 15% of their pre-COVID-19 revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000, in one-time funding through the Relaunch Grant.
The application process will run from 10 a.m. on June 29, 2020 until August 31, 2020, or for four weeks following the start of stage three of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, whichever is later.
The Government of Alberta is expecting a high volume of applicants from June 29 to July 3, and has designated specific days for specific regions. From July 4 until the end of the application period, all business co-operatives and non-profits from any region can apply at any time.
The following days are designated for each region to apply:
- June 29, 2020: North
- June 30, 2020: South
- July 1, 2020: Urban
- July 2, 2020: Calgary
- July 3, 2020: Edmonton
- July 4, 2020: Anyone may apply at any time until the program closes.
The Government of Alberta has broken down the regions as follows:
Applicants are encouraged to review the Relaunch Grant Application Details to find out more information on how to qualify for the Relaunch Grant.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan
On June 29, 2020, the Government of Alberta released its Recovery Plan, which was developed with input from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, among others. The following are key features of the Recovery Plan.
Investing in Infrastructure
The Government of Alberta will spend a total of $10 billion on infrastructure projects throughout the province, with the expectation of creating 50,000 jobs. This will include $612 million spent this summer on large-scale infrastructure projects, creating a total of 2,500 jobs.
Infrastructure projects will include building roads, bridges, overpasses, water projects, pipelines, gas lines, schools, hospitals, long-term care homes for seniors, drug treatment centres and tourism infrastructure, among others.
The additional funding for municipal infrastructure projects includes $200 million in funding for municipal transportation, infrastructure, and wastewater projects, the details of which can be found in our earlier blog post.
Corporate Tax Cut
On July 1, 2020, the Government of Alberta reduced the corporate tax rate from 10% to 8%, a year and-a-half ahead of schedule. For detailed information read our Upcoming Changes to Alberta’s Corporate Tax Rate blog.
The Innovative Employment Grant is a refundable tax credit targeted at smaller, pre-income firms performing research and development that are not immediately benefitting from the corporate tax cut.
Alberta Enterprise Corporation
The Government of Alberta will invest an additional $175 million into the Alberta Enterprise Corporation, the purpose of which is to expand access to venture capital for early stage start-up companies, including a focus on tech start-ups.
The Government of Alberta will create Invest Alberta, a new provincial agency that will campaign internationally to attract investments, expand Alberta’s network of international offices, and promote Alberta’s energy sector.
Keystone XL Pipeline
The Government of Alberta invested $1.5 billion into the Keystone XL Pipeline with the expectation of creating 7,400 jobs.
The Government of Alberta will lobby the Federal Government to remove most occupational categories under the Temporary Foreign worker Program. It also plans to implement programming to connect employers to unemployed Albertans, make training programs more responsive and accelerate the Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan.
The Government of Alberta will also reduce admissions under the Alberta Immigration Nominee Program from 6,250 permanent residents to 4,000.
The Government of Alberta will provide enhanced funding to Skills Canada Alberta and CAREERS in order to provide paid internships and learning opportunities in skilled trades. The Government of Alberta will continue investing in Women Building Futures to support women pursuing careers in the skilled trades.
Natural Gas Industry
The Government of Alberta plans to retool programming to incentivize investment in the petrochemical sector and natural gas industry.
The Government of Alberta will continue working on sector-specific strategies to promote diversification of the Alberta economy. The province will focus on agriculture and forestry, tourism, technology and innovation, aviation, finance and fintech, and creative industries.
Specific steps to promote economic diversification include releasing the Innovation Capital Working Group Report, spending more than $200 million to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in post-secondary institutions, establishing an innovation employment grant, and advocating the Federal Government to increase Alberta’s share of federal research and development spending.
Arts and Culture
The Government of Alberta plans to launch the Cultural Event Relaunch Program, which will support music, performing arts, and landmark cultural events, which have been particularly hard-hit by the effects of the pandemic. There are also plans to spend $40 million to redevelop the Glenbow Museum in Calgary.
Amendments to the Alberta Labour Code
The Government of Alberta will make further amendments to the Labour Code in efforts to “further cut red tape”.
Further information about Alberta’s Recovery Plan can be found here.