Support Services for Businesses
Updated 8:52 a.m. December 16, 2020
- Current Restrictions
- Funding and Support for Business Owners
- Funding and Support for Employees
- Tourism and Hospitality Industry Support
- Small Business Resources
Effective December 13, more aggressive restrictions are in place with some businesses required to close, reduce capacity or limit in-person access. These mandatory restrictions apply in Alberta provincewide and are in place at least until January 12, 2021.
Restaurants, bars, pubs and lounges and cafes are closed to in-person service. Banff residents are encouraged to use take out, curbside pickup and delivery service options. Additionally, all Cannabis Retail and Liquor Stores in the Town of Banff must be closed to the public no later than 10 p.m. and may not offer or provide curbside pick-up or delivery services after 10 p.m.
Retail services must reduce customer capacity to 15% of fire code occupancy or a minimum of 5 customers. Shop alone if possible or only with the people you live with.
All entertainment businesses and entities must close such as casinos, libraries, and conference centres.
All indoor recreation facilities must close, including gyms, fitness centres, spas, indoor arenas, and community halls. Outdoor recreation is permitted with limitations.
All personal and wellness services must close, including nail salons, hair salons, tattoo and piercing shops, and massage therapy.
Regulated health services such as physician, dentist, optometrist and acupuncturist offices can remain open by appointment only as long as public health orders and sector guidance is followed.
Professional services such as lawyers and accountants can remain open by appointment only.
Social services can remain open for in-person services including social, protective or emergency services, shelters, and community kitchens.
Hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges may remain open but cannot offer spa, pool or gym access and must close in-person dining to offer room service only.
Performance activities include dancing, singing, theatre and playing wind instruments are either prohibited or restricted in indoor and outdoor settings.
Group physical activities, including team sports, fitness classes and training sessions, are prohibited or restricted across Alberta. Outdoor group physical activity must be limited to 10 people or fewer. Indoor group physical activity is permitted with members of the same household or if the activity involves students at a school or post-secondary institution.
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.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)
If implemented, additional funding for the RRRF would support businesses that have not been able to access other federal pandemic support programs. If eligible, small- and medium-sized businesses can apply for loans of up to $40,000 with terms. More information here. If additional funding is approved, businesses will be able to apply directly 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.
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.
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.
Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
Video Help Sessions for Businesses
The Town of Banff has teamed up with the Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association (BLLHA), Banff & Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT), and AHS to provide live video workshops to help businesses implement the highest standards of COVID-safety and customer service. The weekly sessions allow Q&A with health experts, planning leaders, and industry mentors on a range of topics and focus on different industry sectors. The sessions are recorded and available afterwards on the site. Businesses seeking access are to request by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information here.
This guidance supports all workplaces in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Safely Open for Business - A Guide to Resuming Safe Operations Amidst COVID-19
- General workplace guidance for business owner re-opening or continuing operations (Applies to all businesses)
- Alberta Health daily checklist
- Template: Relaunch considerations for businesses (complete and post on your website and/or display in entrance)
- Enhanced infection prevention and control measures
- Occupational Health & Safety Resources
- Cohort groups
- Wearing non-medical masks
- Flushing water systems
- COVID-19 orders and legislation
- Safely reopening buildings – a fact sheet for building operators and owners (prepared by the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association)
- Water stagnation risks – guidance for large building owners and operators (issued by Alberta Health Services)
- Guidance for Restaurants - Zone and Single Building Flushing (PDF) (issued by Alberta Health Services)
- Guidance for Organized Outdoor Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation
Sector-specific guidance is available to help businesses, communities and organizations operate safely. More information here.
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. The Town’s newly available “We’re Open” business signs let customers and clients know how to access services or goods from local establishments, such as by appointment, online shopping, delivery or curbside pick-up. Additionally, businesses may benefit from made-in-Banff distancing stickers to help manage space.
To acquire a sign, businesses can email email@example.com with their logo and contact information and select the messaging they wish to use from the following options. The Town will customize, print and distribute the signage for businesses to use in highly visible areas like front windows or doors.
Several posters are available to businesses:
- Poster options from the Government of Alberta to help stop the spread for your business or organization.
- Poster for all organizations from Town of Banff: Help Prevent the Spread Poster (PDF)
- Door poster for seniors centres: COVID 19 Poster for areas with vulnerable people (PDF)
- This event has been cancelled poster (PDF)
- Please refrain from participating in programming if you feel sick poster (PDF)
- Vehicle Cleaning Instructions (PDF)
- Maintain a 2-metre distance between customers poster (PDF)
- Construction Health & Safety Poster (PDF)
To open your business to the public, Alberta Health asks businesses to complete and post your plan to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 among your staff and customers.
This template from Alberta Health includes considerations to help guide you as you plan to 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. More information here.
The Banff ECC is asking local businesses to please report any positive cases of COVID directly to the ECC to assist them in verifying the case counts being reported through the provincial reporting system. Please also indicate how many of your employees are in quarantine due to close contact notification and if you have plans to change your operational status such as closures on certain days.
- Close Contact with COVID Notification for Employers (PDF)
- Close Contact with COVID Notification for Employers (Word Doc)
Please email this information as you become aware of it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Banff ECC is also asking businesses if they have supplies to share with essential services or if they need supplies to maintain critical operations. Information on your business status also assists with security enforcement. Please note that hand sanitizer for essential workers is in high demand. If you operate a business, please provide info here and The Banff ECC will coordinate the re-distribution of these resources, as required.
Criminal Record Checks
Businesses hiring new staff often require criminal records checks. Call the Banff RCMP at 403.763.6600 to receive a records check for staff.
As businesses prepare to reopen, it’s important to take measures to protect employees and customers:
- practice good hygiene and thorough cleaning and disinfecting
- use Health Canada approved hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers for use against COVID-19 (search products by DIN number)
- aid physical separation through barriers (Plexiglas), signage and floor markings, and traffic flow controls to limit the number of people in a space
- use personal protective equipment (PPE)
Business owners can purchase PPE through the following procurement websites:
Training on the Use of PPE
Local emergency medical services (EMS) are providing businesses with staff training on the use of PPE and respiratory precautions to help prepare for reopening. To schedule an appointment for free training, contact Chris de Vries of the Banff Mineral Springs Hospital at 403-760-7237.
Alberta-based businesses that manufacture PPE can go to the Alberta Bits and Pieces website to find out how to help.
- Banff employers, supervisors and workers are encouraged to review information from Alberta Occupational Health and Safety on respiratory viruses in the workplace.
- Useful information for physical and mental health - preparing and coping in this stressful time.
- Health and Safety for Construction Worksites During COVID-19 (PDF).
- COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Hotels, Hostels and Inns (PDF).
For information on isolation, assessment testing, and using non-medical masks, please visit the Support Services for Residents page.