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

Alberta Relaunch Strategy

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

Up-to-date Alberta Relaunch Strategy

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: (began 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: (began June 12)

  • 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 Impact Assessment Project for the Whitecourt region

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic impacts being felt by employers and employees, the Town of Whitecourt, Community Futures Yellowhead East, and the Whitecourt & District Chamber of Commerce have launched a COVID-19 Impact Assessment.  The project has been jointly funded by the partners with support through the Labour Market Partnership Program and  is underway in the Whitecourt Region connecting with both employers and employees to:

  • Complete a COVID-19 impact assessment on the Whitecourt region and provide a complete and accurate analysis on the impacts of COVID-19 to the workforce, including employer and employee needs and challenges, in order to facilitate business and labour force retention strategies;
  • Identify immediate labour force needs and challenges and make recommendations on strategies needed to support the findings;
  • Identify long-term challenges, anticipated labour force trends due to COVID-19, and strategies to support employees and employers in the long term; and
  • Capitalize on the findings to determine the best approach to assist with implementation of business and labour force retention strategies moving forward.

For more details on the project contact Whitecourt’s Economic Development Officer at or 780-778-2273.

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.

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

Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance –  The Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small business has extended the program through to the end of July 2020.

What you need to know:

  • Only those tenants approved in the April, May and June application are eligible for the July extension.
  • If a business had an average revenue decline of 70% or more in April, May and June, they are deemed eligible for the additional month of rent relief. However, not all tenants in the original application need to be included for the July extension.

To streamline the process the requirement to claw-back insurance proceeds and provincial rent supports from the CECRA for small businesses forgivable loan amount for both existing and new applicants has been removed. Existing applicants who are affected will be notified and will have any previously clawed-back amounts restored to their forgivable loan. For more information, how to apply and to sign up for updates click HERE.

Calling on Suppliers

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

Relaunch Grant For Business Recovery

Starting June 29, eligible small- and medium-sized businesses, co-ops and non-profits can apply for funding so they can open their doors and get Albertans back to work.

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.

For details on the program and information on how to apply visit Community Futures Yellowhead East or contact Michelle Jones, Community Futures Yellowhead East Manager directly at

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.

Travel Alberta announces $17 million investment to help restart Alberta’s tourism industry

Three new federal and provincial funding programs for Alberta destination management organizations and tourism businesses are addressing key areas of need, as identified in a recent Travel Alberta industry COVID-19 impact survey:

  • $4 million – Alberta Destination Management Organization (DMO) COVID-19 Operational Relief Program
  • $4 million – Destination Canada Domestic Funding Program
  • $5 million – Travel Alberta Cooperative Investment Program

To learn more about Travel Alberta’s strategy and programs visit

Business Link provides information, resources and supports for small business and is being updated regularly. For additional resources to small businesses affected by COVID-19 click here.

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