Alberta NDP calls for business support to be expanded to newer startups


The Alberta NDP and owners of new small businesses are calling on the UCP government to help them survive the holidays amid COVID-19 pandemic.

New small businesses that set up shop beginning in March don’t qualify for the province’s recently expanded relaunch grant of up to $20,000, or federal subsidies, because they don’t have revenue statements to prove a drop in earnings.

“It’s a blind spot,” said NDP MLA Rod Loyola at a Tuesday news conference, calling for the government to immediately allow new businesses to access $20,000, as well as create new rent and wage subsidy programs to fill the gaps left by federal programs.

Loyola said the efforts of new business owners to make it through the pandemic were heroic.

“Most of these new small businesses did not choose to open during COVID-19, but they had been planning to open months before COVID-19 actually hit Alberta,” he said.

While the government has no immediate plans to increase eligibility, Justin Brattinga, press secretary to Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer, said in an emailed statement it will be expanding supports to make sure new small- and medium-sized businesses are included in the new year.