Support Services for Businesses

Updated 10 a.m. July 6, 2020

Alberta Relaunch Strategy

Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy puts safety first while gradually reopening businesses, resuming activities and getting people back to work. Learn about the stages of the Alberta Relaunch Strategy.

The province is currently in Stage 2 of the relaunch strategy as of June 12 with enhanced infection prevention and controls in place for the many businesses allowed to re-open.  Public health orders remain in place. 

Review updates on what businesses are allowed to re-open and the restrictions still in place.
Requirements to allow businesses to reopen are available on Alberta Biz Connect.

Businesses and services permitted to re-open in Stage 2 (as of June 12) with restrictions:

  • K-12 schools, for requested diploma exams and summer school, following guidance
  • libraries
  • more surgeries
  • wellness services such as massage, acupuncture and reflexology
  • personal services (esthetics, cosmetics skin and body treatments, manicures, pedicures, waxing, facial treatments, artificial tanning)
  • movie theatres and theatres
  • community halls
  • team sports
  • indoor recreation, fitness and sports, including gyms and arenas
  • pools for leisure swimming
  • VLTs in restaurants and bars
  • bingo halls and casinos (but not table games)
  • instrumental concerts
  • provincial campgrounds at full capacity

See below for Help Guides for Businesses allowed to reopen with restrictions.

Municipal Support

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Newsletters
All Banff businesses are encouraged to sign up for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism’s newsletters. 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. Sign up at 

Customized ‘We’re Open’ signs available for Banff businesses
The Town of Banff has created sign templates that it will customize for any local organization to help clarify their available services, while emphasizing health and safety protocols are in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

To acquire a sign, businesses can email with their logo and contact information and select the messaging they wish to use from the following options. The Town will then customize, print and distribute the signage for businesses to use in highly visible areas like front windows or doors.    

Town of Banff Emergency Coordination Centre

The Town’s Emergency Coordination Centre is 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 at

The Town’s Emergency Coordination Centre 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.

Federal Government Support

To support businesses and their employees throughout COVID-19, the Government of Canada has implemented a financial aid package that aims to help avoid layoffs, ease access to credit, support financial stability and grant more time to pay income taxes. These new measures include:

Changes to Time periods for Temporary Layoffs

The Government of Canada has temporarily extended time periods given to employers to recall employees laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to these changes, employers could temporarily lay-off their employees for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided, or for a period of up to six months if they provided a notice with an expected recall date, before the lay-off became a termination. The amendments, which are set out in the Canada Labour Standards Regulations, temporarily extend these time periods by up to six months:

  • For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first.
  • For employees laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff.

These changes, which came into effect on June 22, 2020, do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights.

Banff Canmore Community Foundation

The Banff Canmore Community Foundation (BCCF) is currently accepting applications for $75,000 in funding through Canada’s federal Emergency Community Support Fund. Applications must come from registered charities but can also include partnerships between a local non-profit and a government agency, like the municipality or school board. Funds can be used to cover staffing or resource needs, purchase assistance and more, with the deadline to apply at the end of July. 

Visit for more information and to apply.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

Small and medium size businesses in rural areas like the Town of Banff impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for new funding. Businesses can apply for loans of up to $40,000 from the $95.7 million earmarked for Western Canada through the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), which is available through Western Economic Diversification Canada and administered by Community Futures Alberta’s Centre West office in nearby Cochrane.

The funding is meant for businesses and organizations that have applied for but were unable to access existing federal COVID-19 relief programs. Small- and medium-sized businesses can apply for loans of up to $40,000 with terms that include:

  • No interest accrual or principal payments through December 31, 2022.
  • If 75% of the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, the remainder of the loan is forgiven.
  • Blended principal and interest payments beginning January 1, 2023 and loans must be repaid by December 31, 2025
  • No prepayment penalties.

Sole proprietors and non-profits are not eligible to apply for the RRRF. Examples of business that are eligible to apply to the RRRF:

Pre-revenue firms (e.g. a company that has not had any sales to date)

Businesses that do not have salaried employees (e.g. a company with a workforce of contract employees)

Businesses with no payroll that do pay their owners a salary (e.g. a company that pays its owners through dividends)

For more information and to apply for rural funding visit:

Wage Support Coming for Universities and Health Research Institutes
Canada has announced it will provide $450 million in temporary wage support to universities and health research institutes to assist medical researchers and labs whose work is unrelated to COVID-19 but has been impacted by the pandemic. Some 15,000 health researchers and lab technicians at hospitals and medical institutes across the country who have seen their work halted as it is not COVID-19 related and are facing funding pressures as the nation prioritizes the pandemic.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) – Coming Soon

The Government of Canada as announced a new program called the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) to bridge financing to Canada’s largest employers, whose needs during the pandemic are not being met through conventional financing, in order to keep their operations going.  Learn more.

Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations

Temporary relief measures are in place to support Canada’s cultural, heritage and sports organizations. A total of up to $500 million has been set aside to help alleviate financial pressures of affected organizations. Partner organizations will be contacted starting May 8, 2020 so that funds can begin to flow to cultural and sport organizations. For more details about funding distribution, partners, channels and eligibility, visit:

Rent Relief for Eligible Business Tenants in All National Parks and Historic Sites

Businesses in Banff National Park may now be eligible for relief from the Government of Canada under similar eligibility conditions to those of the CECRA program. The Government of Canada will waive up to 75 percent of eligible commercial rents for the months of April, May and June 2020 or equivalent amounts of annual rents. This relief is additional to measures announced March 27 allowing commercial operators to defer payments normally due on or after April 2, 2020 to as late as September 1, 2020.

On May 25, the Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program opened for applications to provide rent relief to small businesses that had been forced to close or had lost a significant portion of their revenue due to COVID-19. However, businesses that are renters in Parks Canada places are not eligible for the CECRA program because they, or in some cases their landlord, are on federal lands renting from a federal agency.

Parks Canada will be contacting all holders of commercial leases and licences of occupation in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas to provide details on this additional relief being provided by the government. Please check back regularly for more information as it becomes available.

Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Government of Canada has announced temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs Program to help employers retain students this summer. Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program will allow employers to:

  • receive an increased wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee;
  • extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021;
  • adapt their projects and job activities;
  • hire staff on a part-time basis.

Learn more about the Canada Summer Jobs Program.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Qualifying businesses will receive up to 75 per cent of employees’ wages up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week per employee. This subsidy is open for employers of all sizes and across all sectors who have suffered a drop in gross revenues of at least 15 per cent in March, and 30 per cent in April and May. The program has been extended and will be in place until the end of August. More details regarding eligibility for June, July and August are expected soon.

In advance of applying, businesses are asked to ensure they are set up for direct deposit with the Canada Revenue Agency. More information and apply online.

Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

The Canada Emergency Business Account (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. Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25% (up to $10,000).

Eligibility for the CEBA has expanded as of June 15, 2020 to include sole proprietors and those with a payroll under $20,000. Applications for newly qualifying businesses will open Friday, June 19, 2020. Visit for program details and contact your financial institution to apply.

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee Program
The Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program enables up to $40 billion in lending for guaranteed loans when small businesses go to their financial institutions to help weather the impacts of COVID-19. To access these loans, business owners must contact their primary financial institution, which will assess their situation and deploy the financing as appropriate.

For more information on these additional supports, visit:

Guarantee on Loans

Export Development Canada (EDC) is supporting businesses by offering their bank a guarantee on loans of up to $5 million to ensure that companies can access more cash immediately. For details, contact your financial institution. Learn more.

Work-Sharing Program

The maximum duration of the Work-Sharing Program has been extended 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. Learn more and apply online.

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Small Business

Small business employers are eligible for a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months. The subsidy will be equal to 10 per cent of remuneration paid during that period, up to a maximum subsidy of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Businesses will be able to benefit immediately from this support by reducing their remittances of income tax withheld on their employees’ remuneration. Learn more.

Business Credit Availability Program

The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) provides more than $10 billion in additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses, through the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC). The program includes:

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Through the Business Credit Availability Program, the EDC is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies.  

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Through the Business Credit Availability Program, the BDC is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues (80 % provided by BDC and 20 % provided by your financial institution). This support is available until or before September 30, 2020.

These programs are now available at various financial institutions and credit unions. If you are in need of this financial support, please contact your financial institution.  Support for mid-market businesses will soon be expanded to include loans of up to $60 million per company and guarantees of up to $80 million.

Income Tax Payment Deferral

All businesses can defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020. This relief will apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. Learn more.

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) provides $500 per week for a maximum of 18 weeks. This taxable benefit of $2,000 a month is available from March 15, 2020 until October 3, 2020) from the Government of Canada to workers:

  • Residing in Canada, who are at least 15 years old;
  • Who have stopped working because of reasons related to COVID-19 or are eligible for Employment Insurance regular or sickness benefits or have exhausted their Employment Insurance regular benefits between December 29, 2019 and October 3, 2020;
  • Who had employment and/or self-employment income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application; and,
  • Who have not quit their job voluntarily.

 When submitting your first claim, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for 14 or more consecutive days within the four-week benefit period of your claim. When submitting subsequent claims, you cannot have earned more than $1,000 in employment and/or self-employment income for the entire four-week benefit period of your new claim.

Applications for the CERB are open and accepted through Canada Revenue Agency online or by phone. Those who have already applied for employment insurance (EI) do not have to reapply for CERB. Learn more and submit your application.

Provincial Government Support 

The Government of Alberta has implemented various measures to protect employers and employees from the economic disruption of COVID-19 and position Alberta for recovery.

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 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, organizations must have experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50 per cent in April and/or May 2020 in comparison to April 2019, May 2019, or February 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Alberta has committed up to $200 million in funding for the program. Grant funding amounts are calculated based on 15 per cent of the eligible organization’s preCOVID-19 monthly revenue up to a maximum of $5,000 per business, cooperative, or non-profit organization.

Application intake for the program opens on June 29, 2020 and will remain open until August 31st or four weeks following the start of Phase 3 of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, whichever is later. Full eligibility criteria and application requirements are available in the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant Program Guidelines.

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 now and August 31, 2020. Any late fees, penalties or rent increases imposed on an eligible commercial tenant by their landlords between March 17—when the province declared a public health emergency—and August 31, must be reimbursed, but any evictions or lease terminations that have already taken place cannot be reversed.

Changes to Tourism Levy Collection for Hotels and Other Accommodation Providers

The Government of Alberta announced on May 19, 2020 that hotels and other lodging providers can keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1 and December 31, 2020 to free up additional cash flow for the hospitality sector.

Amounts collected prior to March 1, 2020 that are being deferred under the previously announced deferral program can continue to be deferred until August 31, 2020.

Accommodation providers are still expected to file returns throughout 2020, as required by legislation, and will be expected to resume regular tourism levy payments in 2021. Additional program details will be provided in the coming weeks.

See TRA online services.

For more information regarding collecting and remitting the tourism levy, visit:

Assistance to small businesses:

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)

Temporary Changes to Employment Standards

Temporary workplace rules are now in place to help employers and employees manage rapidly changing conditions. Alberta has:

  • Created a job-protected leave for employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19.
    • The 90-day employment requirement is waived.
    • The leave length is flexible and linked to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer.
    • A medical note is not required.
    • Regular personal and family responsibility leave rules continue to apply for all other circumstances.
  • Removed the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes.
  • Removed the requirement for 2 weeks notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement.
  • Removed the employer requirement to provide group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated.
    • Individual termination entitlements remain in effect.
    • Employers must still give group termination notices to the Minister of Labour and Immigration as soon as is practical.
  • Increased the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 120 days.
    • This change is retroactive for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.
  • Streamlined approvals for modifying employment standards (variances and exemptions) related to COVID-19.

The changes above will be in place as long as government determines it is needed and the public health emergency order remains.

Tax Relief for Tourism Industry Announced

Temporary measures are now in place to support tourism-related businesses dealing with the economic impacts of the pandemic. These new measures include:

  • A delay for hotels and other lodging providers in paying the tourism levy until August 31, 2020 for amounts that become due to government on or after March 27, 2020. This will free up more than $5 million in additional cash flow for employers – money that can be used to retain staff, maintain operations and continue providing a valuable service.
  • As required by legislation, hotels and other lodging providers are still expected to file returns and must continue to collect the tourism levy from guests staying at their properties during this period. Payments deferred until August 31, 2020 will not be subject to penalties or interest. See TRA online services.

For more information regarding collecting and remitting the tourism levy, visit:

For more information regarding collecting and remitting the tourism levy, visit:

Corporate Income Tax Changes

Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments are deferred from March 18, 2020 until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations. Learn more

Education Property Tax Deferral 

  • Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
  • Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months.
  • Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but to defer collection.
  • Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.

Utility Payment Deferral 

  • Deferrals on bill payments for electricity and natural gas, regardless of the service provider, have ended as of June 18, 2020 for residential, farm, and small commercial customers. Contact your utility provider directly with any questions.

Job Protected Leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult who is required to self-isolate

Eligible, employees:

  • are not required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

This leave:

  • covers the 14-day self-isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer
  • may be extended if the advice of the chief medical officer changes does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors

Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Premium Payment Deferral

Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021. For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021. Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due. Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

For more information, visit:

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.

Business Continuity Plans

Employers should be implementing their business continuity plans to limit the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace. 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
    • doing work that doesn’t require contact with other people

For the most up-to-date information and resources regarding provincial government support for businesses, please visit: 

Small Business Support through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada

Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
The Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will support access to financing for Canadian businesses in all sectors and regions. Through this program, Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will provide $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support. For additional information on any of the BCAP programs or to apply, businesses should contact their primary lender. Learn more.

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • For small businesses and not-for profits with a 2019 payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million 
  • Up to a $40,000 loan
  • 0% interest until December 31, 2022
  • If the loan is paid off by December 31, 2022, a quarter of the loan will be forgiven 

Contact your primary financial institution to apply.


BDC Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

  • Up to $6.25 million
  • Differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues 
  • 80% of financed amount provided by BDC and the remaining 20% by your financial institution for your operational cash flow requirements

Details are being finalized and will be available shortly from your primary financial institution.


EDC Guarantee for SMEs

  • Up to $6.25 million 
  • 80% guaranteed by EDC, to be repaid within one year
  • For payroll and operational costs 

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.

To learn more and to apply, visit: 

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.

To learn more and to apply, visit:

Additional Grants and Funding

The Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund (CHWRF)

Canadian Chefs Vikram Vij, Victor Barry, and Dan Geltner created a Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund (CHWRF) to support restaurant and hospitality workers financially impacted by COVID-19. Applications are now closed. Successful applicants can expect to receive the grant within 2-4 weeks of application.

Support for Banff & Lake Louise Tourism Members 

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.

To stay up-to-date on how Banff & Lake Louise Tourism is advocating for its members, visit:

Resources for your organization

Posters for your residence, workplace, or event:

Video help sessions for business

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.

Want to read the FAQ? Join the ‘Destination Standards, Health & Safety’ online workspace for Banff businesses, and receive notification when it’s updated with the latest session. Businesses seeking access are to request by email to

Help Guides for Businesses

The Government of Alberta is releasing guides to help various kinds of businesses reopen or continue operations in accordance with the provincial relaunch strategy. Please visit for all available guidance documents. Guidance documents available include, but are not limited to:

General Guidance

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

Sector Guidance 

This guidance supports sectors that were allowed to operate during the pandemic or could reopen under Stage 1 of relaunch.

Stage 2 guidance

Guidance documents are being created to prepare businesses and sectors for their eventual reopening as part of Stage 2 of relaunch starting June 12.

All workplaces are expected to develop and implement policies and procedures to address COVID-19 prior to re-opening or continuing operations. 

Do you have a question or an idea? Contact the Government of Alberta’s Biz Connect Team to get the information you need to reopen your business safely and successfully. Email your question.

PPE Supplies

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.

Posting the Documentation of Safety Measures  

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 is available at