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UCP government announces new COVID-19 relief for businesses

Last week, the provincial government announced additional relief for businesses affected by COVID-19, especially those trying to reopen.

Last week, the provincial government announced additional relief for businesses affected by COVID-19, especially those trying to reopen.

Specifically, the relief will be available in three forms:

  • Grants to help with relaunch costs
  • Commercial tenant rent protection
  • WCB premium deferral

As part of their announcement, the government promised to spend up to $200 million in funding to help offset the costs of relaunching after a COVID-19 closure. The funding will be available in grants up to $5,000 to cover rent, inventory replacement, worker wages, and implementing COVID-19 precautionary measures (such as barriers, PPEs, or disinfecting supplies). Non-profit organizations and small- and medium-sized businesses will be eligible to apply

The government will pass legislation soon to prevent commercial tenants from having their rent increased or from being evicted for non-payment of rent because of COVID-19. The announcement mentioned that this initiative will help cover any shortfall of the national rent assistance programme.

Finally, the WCB deferral programme will allow private sector companies to defer WCB premiums until early 2021. Any companies who already paid WCB premiums for 2020–21 are eligible for a rebate or credit. Small and medium companies can have the government cover 50% of their WCB premium when it’s due, which will cost the provincial government about $350 million.

Provincial financial relief and rent protection for workers expired weeks ago.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on municipal, provincial, and federal politics, specializing in investigative journalism and critical analysis from a leftist political lens. He also writes regular editorials on general politics and social issues.

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