Economic Support and Recovery

There are a number of new and existing resources that are available to local businesses that will provide support at this time.  Whitecourt, the Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce, and Community Futures Yellowhead East have compiled information links on this page to provide easy access to our community.

Alberta Relaunch Strategy - Schedule to begin as early as May 14, 2020

Alberta Relaunch Strategy

Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy puts safety first while gradually reopening businesses, resuming activities and getting people back to work. Up-to-date information on the relaunch strategy can found at

Businesses should reference the websites below for information and guidelines for the reopening.  

Alberta Biz Connect

Sector specific guidelines and operating planning guidelines are available for businesses included in stage 1 on the Alberta website.

Phase 1: (to begin as early as May 14)

  • Some businesses will be allowed to reopen and resume operations with two-meter physical distancing requirements in place. In addition to personal care, education and medical facilities, these include:

    • Retail businesses such as clothing, furniture and bookstores.

    • Museums and art galleries.

    • Summer camps with limits on occupancy.

    • Dine-in restaurants, cafés, lounges, and bars at 50 per cent capacity.

    • Some additional outdoor recreation.

  • In Phase 1, non-essential travel is not recommended, self-isolation protocols still apply, and remote working is advised where possible.

Phase 2: (timing dependent on the success of Phase 1)T ON THE SUCCESS OF PHASE 1)

  • More businesses will be allowed to open, including

    • Restaurants, cafés, lounges and bars continuing to operate at reduced capacity.

    • Permitting of some larger gatherings (number of people to be determined as we learn more about the levels of risk for different activities) in some situations.

    • Movie theatres and theatres opening with restrictions.

  • In Phase 2, non-essential travel is not recommended and self-isolation protocols still apply.

Phase 3: (timing dependent on the success of Phase 2)

  • All businesses may resume operations

  • Larger gatherings may be permitted, including

    • Arts and culture festivals, concerts and major sporting events will be permitted with enhanced protection controls in place.

    • Nightclubs, gyms, pools, recreation centres and arenas will reopen with enhanced protection controls in place.

  • In Phase 3, physical distancing restrictions will be maintained, though industry conferences may resume with restrictions. Non-essential travel is no longer discouraged.    

Business Impact Survey

Between March 20 – 24, 2020, Economic Developers Alberta hosted an online survey to gather information on the impacts the pandemic is having on Alberta businesses. To view the results click here.

COVID-19 Webinar Series

Based on the Business Impact Survey results Economic Developers Alberta have made webinars available to provide those working on business and economic recovery issues as a result of COVID-19 crisis. This includes weekly webinars, access to resources, and upcoming online events and training. Each webinar is held on Wednesday from 12:00 - 1:00 pm. Click on the date to register:


A support page has been designed to help assist the business community understand the challenges and opportunities associated with running your business operations during the COVID-19 outbreak.  With the situation evolving constantly, COVID Continuity was established by business for business as a source of information for business leaders, owners, and decision makers. Resources include knowledge topics, financial support break down, cash flow, planning tools, leadership, remote work, crisis communication, employee onboarding, business automation, digital workplace, and a daily briefing.

Canada's and Alberta's Economic Response to COVID-19

In recent weeks, the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta have made numerous announcements about programs and investments to help stabilize the economy due to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. These programs are comprehensive so to assist communities AUMA has developed a summary. The Guide can serve as a helpful resource to inform local not-for-profit organizations,  local businesses, and stakeholders about the supports that are available to alleviate financial pressures on households, employers and municipal governments.  

Government of Canada Resources

For the latest updates visit

The Canadian Hospitality Worker Relief Fund (CHWRF) recently launched to support restaurant and hospitality workers financially impacted by COVID-19. The fund will start accepting applications on May 6, 2020 and will provide one-time $500 grants to eligible applicants. The fund is administered by registered charity, the Design Exchange. CHWRF founding partners, including Uber Eats and Garland – Welbilt Canada, have pledged more than $1 million to launch the fund.

NEW INFO:  EDC Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) Guarantee - EDC works with your financial institution and guarantees a new loan or operating line of credit for 80% of its value, up to $6.25 million, allowing you to deal with payroll and operating cost issues and enabling your financial institution to take on less risk. Available to both exporting and non-exporting companies. Full details available HERE

NEW INFO:  Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) – Under the Canada Emergency Student Benefit, eligible post-secondary students and recent graduates who have seen their education and job prospects hampered by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will receive $1,250 a month from May to August. For those who have a disability, or are taking care of someone else, they will receive $2,000, which is equal to the amount received by those eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).  Also included:

  • an additional 76,000 jobs in sectors that need help or are on the front line;

  • millions in new spending to extend scholarships, grants, and fellowships as well as doubling the Canada Student Grant program;  and,

  • a new Canada Student Service Grant that would see young people receive up to $5,000 towards their fall tuition if they volunteer in a sector needing assistance on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full details one how to apply are still to come, but further information is available HERE

UPDATED INFO:  Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) -  to provide loans to commercial property owners, who in turn will lower or forgo rent of small businesses in April, May and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership with provincial and territorial governments who are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.  Details on how to apply are still being worked on but some preliminary information is available HERE

On March 20, 2020, the federal government announced plans to support businesses who rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products including critical health and safety supplies and equipment, such as personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology. In Alberta and Ontario, some distillers have already switched to producing hand sanitizer.

Details of the announcement are available here.

The federal government has now launched a “Calling on Suppliers” submission webpage here

Further information, including the extension of other procurement opportunities can be found here.



If you are a Canadian manufacturer or business that can assist Canada in meeting the need for medical supplies, the federal government is requesting your help.  The Government of Canada is looking to hear from anyone that:

  • Manufactures in Canada and/or has ready access to necessary inputs through their supply chain;
  • Has equipment or facilities that can be rapidly re-tooled to meet medical needs, including for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, masks and surgical gowns, sanitizer, wipes, ventilators, and other medical equipment/supplies;
  • Has skilled workers who are able to respond and who could be available for work in the current circumstances.

If you can help, you are encouraged to send a short summary of your offer to:


Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
  • Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
  • Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:
  • by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
  • by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
  • by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

If you have lost your income because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will provide you with temporary income support. The Government of Canada will start accepting applications on April 6, 2020. Visit the link above for detailed questions and answers on the benefit, how to apply, and eligibility. Prior to April 6, individuals who are without work and are eligible for EI can continue to apply for Employment Insurance.









 Avoiding layoffs

 Access to credit

  Supporting financial stability

More flexibility

Additional links

The Conference Board of Canada - COVID-19 Impacts

Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) - COVID 19 Small Business Help Desk

CFIB is Canada’s largest small business association with 110,000 members across all provinces and industries.             

CME (Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters) Resources

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)– enabling women to build successful businesses is providing free remote supports:

Government of Alberta 

For the latest information visit

Government of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19

WebEx meetings will be held at 3pm on Tuesdays and Fridays to provide information on the Government of Alberta’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are a forum to share input and questions with government and to improve situational awareness with business and community. To request an invitation, contact

Income Support Program

Income Support can help you and your family with basic living costs and other necessities. Depending on your needs and situation you may be eligible to receive assistance through Alberta’s Income Support program.  It is income/asset tested for your entire household and “ongoing” and/or “emergency benefit” streams.

Information for Employers:

COVID-19 supports for Employers

COVID-19 supports for Albertans

AEMA Unsolicited Offers Program

The Alberta Emergency Management Agency Unsolicited Offers Program has been set up in response to growing offers of generosity from individuals and organizations to help with the challenges many Albertans are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more information please visit

Additional links

Flexibility regarding filing taxes

Alberta Gaming and Liquor Corporation Information for businesses

Guidance for Non-Health Care Workplaces During COVID-19

OHS: Respiratory Viruses and the Workplace

Employment Standards Rules

Whitecourt supports

Community Futures Yellowhead East

Community Futures funding - the Prime Minister made an announcement on Friday April 17 that allocates $287M in funding to the Community Futures Program. This funding will be allocated towards smaller employers and businesses located in rural parts of the country who do not qualify for the recently announced wage subsidy or loans or who still need assistance in managing their operations through these challenging times. Details of this program will be made available as soon as possible. To read the full News Release please click HERE.

Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce

Links to business support programs and associations

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced.  To qualify, these organizations will need to demonstrate they paid between $20,000 to $1.5 million in total payroll in 2019.  Repayment time frame would be to December 3, 2022.  Business owners can apply for support from the Canada Emergency Business Account through their banks and credit unions.

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program (CERCA) to provide loans to commercial property owners, who in turn will lower or forgo rent of small businesses in April, May and June. Implementation of the program will require a partnership with provincial and territorial governments who are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships.  More details will be available soon.

Economic Development Alberta Supports

Federal Government Support for Canadians

Support For Entrepreneurs – Business Development Canada

Export Development Canada – Support for Exporters

Western Economic Diversification (WD) – Supports for Businesses

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Pandemic Preparedness Guide – Business Continuity Plan

Canadian Federation of Independent Business – Small Business Guide

Tips for Alberta Business and Community Leaders on Social and Economic Fallout due to Coronavirus

​Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of Alberta (CPHR Alberta)

  • CPHR Alberta has launched a free webinar series for HR professionals facing the many challenges presented as the coronavirus pandemic evolves. As the situation changes and escalates, HR professionals are making difficult decisions affecting our employees and organizations.  From March 31 – April 23 they will host two webinars per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 pm - 1 pm MST. Click HERE for webinar topics and to access registration.