Support Services for Businesses

Updated 9:24 a.m. October 8, 2021

Current Restrictions

See the latest Provincial restrictions on businesses: https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx

Restriction Exemption Program

The Restrictions Exemption Program permits in-scope businesses, entities and organizers to operate without most public health restrictions as outlined in Order 52-2021. Masks are still mandatory indoors.

Operators that are out-of-scope or choose not to fully implement the program must comply with all public health restrictions outlined in Order 44-2021, modified by Order 53-2021.

Businesses that implement the Restrictions Exemption Program can operate as usual if they only serve people (ages 12 and over) who have:

  • proof of vaccination
    • double doses required after October 25
  • documentation of a medical exemption
  • proof of a privately-paid negative PCR or rapid test within 72 hours of service (tests from AHS or Alberta Precision Laboratories not allowed)

Businesses do not need to apply for the program. Audits and enforcement will occur to ensure rules are followed.

The Restriction Exemption Program does not apply to:

  • businesses or entities that need to be accessed for daily living
  • employees of businesses participating in the program
  • children under 12

Learn about requirement for businesses to implement QR code scanning : https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx

Proof of Negative Test:

To enter spaces participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, people aged 12 and older can show proof of a negative test result.

  • Tests must be privately-paid COVID-19 PCR or rapid tests completed within 72 hours.
  • Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.

Proof of Vaccination:

To enter spaces participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program, people ages 12 and older can provide proof of vaccination or documentation of a medical exemption.

  • Sept. 20 to Oct. 25: proof of a single dose is considered acceptable as long as the dose was given more than 2 weeks before the time of service.
  • After Oct. 25: proof of double vaccination is required.

Businesses 

Review the current Provincial Restrictions on Businesses at https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx

Mask requirement 
Masks are mandatory for all indoor public spaces and workplaces. https://www.alberta.ca/masks.aspx

  • Employees must mask in all indoor work settings, except in work stations or where 2 metre physical distancing or adequate barriers are in place.

For more information, visit https://www.alberta.ca/covid-19-public-health-actions.aspx

Safe workplace practices

COVID-19 is still present, and precautions need to be taken to help prevent/reduce the spread.  Below is general guidance on how your facility can help prevent transmission of COVID-19.  

Health Screening

It is strongly recommended that all individuals complete daily health screening and continue to passively monitor their own health status throughout the day. The Health Screening questionnaire linked below is a good guide to follow.  https://open.alberta.ca/dataset/56c020ed-1782-4c6c-bfdd-5af36754471f/resource/41a181f5-f497-4124-b345-4629730c2fab/download/covid-19-information-alberta-health-daily-checklist-2021-07.pdf

 If an individual becomes symptomatic at any point during the day, they are to immediately isolate in a safe place.
Isolation requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals differ.  Please consult the link below to determine the legally required isolation steps that must be taken by the symptomatic individual as well as their close contacts.  

 https://www.alberta.ca/isolation.aspx

Rapid Response Plans

Develop a Rapid Response Plan to safely manage those who become symptomatic for COVID.

Rapid response plans are expected to include:

  • Immediate isolation of the symptomatic person from others.
  • Asking the individual to wash or sanitize their hands, and avoid touching all shared items and surfaces.
  • Safe transport of the person to their home for isolation.
  • Support identification of close contacts of the symptomatic individual.
  • It is suggested that owners and operators be familiar with isolation and quarantine requirements for COVID-19. Isolation and quarantine requirements | Alberta.ca

To enable quick contact with workers, employers should maintain an up to-date contact list for all workers and volunteers – including names, addresses and phone numbers.

Masks are encouraged when carpooling.  

Note that it is required for individuals to wear a mask when visiting a continuing care facility and when travelling in a public conveyance such as public transit, rideshare, taxi, motor coach or shuttle bus.  

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Develop and implement procedures for increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of facilities including high traffic areas, common areas, public washrooms and showering facilities. Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch/shared surfaces, such as:

  • Doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, faucets and taps, elevator buttons, railings.
  • Phones, computers, remote controls, keyboards, desktops, conference room equipment, cash registers, touch screens, debit/credit machines, customer service counters, menus.
  • Equipment handles, hand tools, machinery control panels, seat belt buckles, joysticks, steering wheels and controls on powered mobile equipment.
  • Items that are loaned, rented, or made freely available for use by multiple individuals, such as shopping carts and baskets, wheelchairs, and pushcarts.

Use cleaning and disinfection products according to the directions on the label. Use disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN) issued by Health Canada. Alternatively a 1000 PPM bleach solution can be used (1tsp bleach per cup of water).

Remove communal items that cannot be easily cleaned, such as newspapers, magazines, and stuffed toys. 

https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/ppih/if-ppih-covid-19-environmental-cleaning-public-facilities.pdf 

Hand Hygiene

Operators should promote and facilitate frequent and proper hand hygiene for all staff, clients or attendees. 

Operators should enable attendees to practice proper hand hygiene by providing soap and running, potable water or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 

Ensure there are areas available to maintain hand hygiene. It is strongly encouraged that operators provide a means to sanitize hands at points of entry and locations throughout the site where attendees are known to handle objects. 

Operators should make every effort to encourage respiratory etiquette (e.g., coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow, promptly disposing of used tissues in a lined garbage bin).

Rapid Testing

To learn about the new rapid testing program, visit:  https://www.alberta.ca/rapid-testing-program.aspx

Funding and Support for Business Owners

Financial support is available from the Government of Alberta to help offset costs of implementing the Restriction Exemption Program. 

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The Government of Canada announced an expansion of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which aligned with increased funding available under the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).  

 This will make a total of more than $800 million available to help western Canadian small businesses and organizations with liquidity needs that cannot be met by other federal support programs, such as the new Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).

New applicants to the RRRF can now request an additional $20,000 (up to $60,000) in interest-free, repayable support, up from $40,000 previously. Existing RRRF recipients can now apply for additional funding of up to $20,000, if they continue to suffer eligible COVID-19-related losses. Additional fully repayable liquidity support over $60,000 may also be available for eligible applicants.

Get more information here.

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund

Businesses across Canada may be eligible for up to $5,000 in grant relief funding from Canada United for purchases of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), renovation of spaces to adhere to re-opening guidelines and enhancement of website and e-commerce capabilities from March 15, 2020. Info and to apply: https://occ.ca/canada-united-small-business-relief-fund/

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

As part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the RRRF is assisting businesses and organizations across Canada to mitigate financial pressures caused by the pandemic. Up to $60,000  in support available to businesses. Find out more: https://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/20059.asp


Employment and Financial Assistance

Alberta expands its relaunch grant to support local businesses and non-profits https://www.auma.ca/news/alberta-expands-its-relaunch-grant-support-local-businesses-and-non-profits

Work-Sharing Program

Effective March 15, 2020 to March 14, 2021, and not limited to one specific sector or industry, the Government of Canada has extended the Work-Sharing Program from 38 weeks to 76 weeks. The Work-Sharing Program is offered to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours because of developments beyond the control of their employers. More info here

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Qualifying businesses will receive up to 75% of employees’ wages up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week per employee. This subsidy is extended to June 2021 and open for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have experienced a drop in revenue, calculated by comparing your eligible revenue during the crisis with your eligible revenue from a previous period. The deadline to apply is January 31, 2021, or 180 days after the end of the claim period, whichever comes later. More information here

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Small Business (TWS)

Small business employers are eligible for a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid from March 18 to June 19, 2020, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses can benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. More information here.

Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 40%, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible organizations can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 monthly revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding. Applications for first time payment are open until March 31, 2021. More information here.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover operating costs during periods when revenues have been temporarily reduced. As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000. 

All applicants have until March 31, 2021, to apply for $60,000 CEBA loan or the $20,000 expansion. More information here.

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations

Temporary top-up and relief measures are in place to support Canada’s cultural, heritage and sports organizations. This program is designed to complement other federal pandemic support programs. More information here

Temporary Changes to Employment Standards

The Government of Canada has temporarily extended time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months. More information here.

The Government of Alberta has also implemented temporary employment rules for employers and employees. More information here.

Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Premium Payment Deferral

Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021. Premiums deferred due to the COVID-19 outbreak are payable beginning Jan. 1, 2021 and employers will have until March 1, 2021 (60 days) to pay. While private sector employers had their 2020 premiums deferred, public sector employers are required to pay their 2020 premiums by the end of this year, Dec 31, 2020. More information here.

Rent Relief Programs

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS)

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020 until June 2021. Claim periods are now open for Fall 2020. More information here.

Announced on November 30, the government is proposing to extend the current subsidy rates of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for an additional three periods. This means a base subsidy rate of up to 65 per cent will be available on eligible expenses until March 13, 2021. With the 25% Lockdown Support also being extended, businesses may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 90% of their eligible expenses.

Protection for Commercial Tenants in Alberta

Commercial tenants who have lost more than 25% of their revenue due to COVID-19, have been forced to close due to public health orders, or who qualify for the federal Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program but whose landlords have chosen not to participate, are protected from being evicted for non-payment of rent between March 17, 2020 to August 31, 2020. Any late fees, penalties or rent increases imposed on an eligible commercial tenant by their landlords in this time must be reimbursed. This legislation does not apply to evictions or lease terminations that happened before the legislation was tabled on June 16, 2020. More information here

Credit and Loan Programs

Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP)

If implemented, the HASCAP would offer 100 per cent government-guaranteed financing for heavily impacted businesses such as tourism and hospitality and would provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million up to ten years. More information here.

Export Development Canada (EDC) Business Credit Availability Program 

If your business needs access to working capital to cover operational costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for the EDC Business Credit Availability Program Guarantee. This guarantee is for new operating lines of credit or new term loans that financial institutions extend to small and medium-sized enterprises, up to $6.25 million. More information here.

Business Development Canada (BDC) Co-Lending Program 

BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans million to small and medium-sized enterprises for their operational cash flow requirements. Eligible businesses may obtain incremental credit amounts up to $6.25 million. More information here.

Working Capital Loans 

If you are looking for extra funds to bridge cash flow gaps and support everyday operations during this time, a working capital loan can be the solution you need to keep your business operating. More information here.

Purchase Order Financing 

If you are looking to increase your cash flow to fulfill domestic or international orders, the BDC offers Purchase Order Financing with flexible terms. More information here.

Banks and Credit Unions

Credit unions

Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.

ATB Financial

ATB Small business customers can:

  • apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
  • access additional working capital

Other ATB business and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis. Further solutions are being considered at this time.

Funding and Support for Employees

Canadian Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

The CRSB gives income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are unable to work because they are sick or need to self-isolate due to COVID-19, or have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk of getting COVID-19. If you are eligible, you can receive $500 per week for up to a total of 2 weeks between September 27, 2020 and September 25, 2021. More information here

Job Protected Leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code allow full and part-time employees in Alberta to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are required to self-isolate or are caring for a child or dependent adult who is required to self-isolate. More information here.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Support

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism has implemented several measures to support its members and continues to press the government to do more for the industry in the face of COVID-19. More information here.

Changes to Tourism Levy Collection for Hotels and Other Accommodation Providers

Hotels and other lodging providers will be allowed to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020. More information here.

As of November 16, 2020, Tax & Revenue Administration (TRA) may call or mail individuals about existing debt or outstanding returns. TRA will be reconnecting with taxpayers to re-evaluate their current situation, discuss the possibility of a payment arrangement and the filing of outstanding returns. There will be no legal actions taken at this time. See TRA online services.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

As part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the RRRF is assisting businesses and organizations across Canada to mitigate financial pressures caused by the pandemic. Up to $60,000  in support available to businesses. Find out more: https://www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/20059.asp

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Newsletters

All Banff businesses are encouraged to sign up for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism newsletters. Content includes information on upcoming workshops and member engagement opportunities, government news and programs relevant to tourism, key destination messages and member success stories and celebrations. High Points is a bi-weekly newsletter produced for members of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Street Talk is intended to keep front-line staff up-to-date on what’s happening around Banff and Lake Louise. To sign up, click here

Small Business Resources

Talk to a small business advisor at Business Link to get free advice, coaching and information on COVID-19 resources and supports.

Submit your question online or contact them directly:

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (open Monday to Friday, closed weekends and statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-7722
Toll free: 1-800-272-9675 (Canada only)
 TTY: 1-800-457-8466 (For the deaf or hard of hearing)

Business Continuity Plans

Employers should be implementing their business continuity plans to limit the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace. Organizations are encouraged to review tips for planning for a reduced workforce: Business Continuity Plan (PDF)

 Measures should include:

  • protecting employees
  • limiting spread in workplaces
  • ensuring continuity of critical services if staff are ill or self-isolating
  • exploring alternate working arrangements, such as:
    • working from home or remotely (Note: working from home is currently mandatory unless the employer requires a physical presence for operational effectiveness.)
    • doing work that doesn’t require contact with other people

 More information here

COVID-19 Guides for Businesses 

This guidance supports all workplaces in preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

 Sector-specific guidance is available to help businesses, communities and organizations operate safely. More information here.

Signs and Posters for Banff Businesses

The Town of Banff has created sign templates for any local organization to clarify their available services while emphasizing health and safety protocols that are in place. Additionally, businesses may benefit from made-in-Banff distancing stickers to help manage space.

Several posters are available to businesses:

 

This template from Alberta Health includes considerations to help guide you as you open your business.  This should be completed using Alberta Health’s Workplace Guidance for Business Owners, sector-specific guidelines, and any additional requirements your business or industry association provides. 

Additional Resources

For information on isolation, assessment testing, and using non-medical masks, please visit the Support Services for Residents page.

Mental Health Support

The Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association (BLLHA) has launched a targeted mental health awareness campaign in Banff and Lake Louise in hopes to better support the destination’s workforce. This campaign has been hyper-targeted to reach local workers, and some materials have even been translated into common languages including Japanese, Spanish, Tagalog, Amharic, Oromo and Tigrinya. 

 Businesses can order supplies for FREE by clicking here . Materials include:

  • Two series of posters: an English series and a translation series. The English series has two parts including a variety of individual characters, and those characters in transition.
  • One series of 2.5" stickers with all single characters.
  • One series of 10" floor decals with all single characters.
  • Graphics that can be used in social media posts, intranets, employee newsletters, etc. 

Businesses can also include a link to the campaign support webpage in staff-facing correspondence and use messaging from this site in employee-facing materials. 

Pro-tip: the translated pages on the website, which provide an overview of available mental health support options, are adaptable as downloadable PDFs. Use these to help inform your people or so they can share information with peers. 

 For questions, please email melanie@bllha.ca. This campaign is supported by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, and many local and regional partners.