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COVID-19: Financial support for businesses

2021 Property tax relief


The City of Calgary

For the 2021 tax year, Council approved two municipal property tax relief measures to provide flexibility for property owners facing financial hardship.

Learn more calgary.ca/propertytax

To support non-residential property owners and our local economy, City Council has approved over $259 million in one-time property tax relief to eligible non-residential properties that received the most significant municipal tax increases over the past five years. The Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Programs (PTP) have been one-time tax relief measures, but businesses needed a more permanent action or they would be facing large increases when the one-time property tax relief ended.

  • Council approved $13 million in tax relief in 2021 that will benefit up to 2,000 non-residential property owners by capping their municipal tax increase to 10 per cent of their 2020 amount not including prior year’s rebate and prior year’s Phased Tax Program credits.
  • The City continues to encourage non-residential property owners who lease space to tenants to pass on any type of savings or tax relief realized. For non-residential owners this could be PTP credits or extended time.

Hotel and motel tax relief

Property taxes for hotels and motels will be deferred without penalties until Dec. 31, 2022. Eligibility criteria includes:

  • The property must be taxable
  • The property must be classed as non-residential
  • A minimum of 50% of the improved area of the property must be currently occupied by a hotel or motel business and in operation since at least December 31, 2020
  • Property tax deferrals are administered to the property owner or the assessed person
  • Property tax from 2020 must have been paid in full

We will determine eligibility and apply the deferral to qualifying properties automatically without the need for an application.

Additional Financial aid


Council also approved $30 million for directed relief to businesses impacted by COVID-19.

  • $17.6 million was allocated for business licence-related fee relief.
  • Administration will return to Council with recommendations on how to use the remaining $12.4 million to support businesses hardest hit by the pandemic.

The City is supporting restaurants, pubs, bars, fitness centres, and entertainment establishments, including nightclubs, in their reopening efforts through a grant.

To be eligible for the grant, the applicant must be a business owner with a licensed business located within the City of Calgary limits, and must follow the criteria and application process. This will confirm that grant resources are used efficiently and effectively to support businesses that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. We will start accepting applications for the grant program on July 2, 2021 and it will remain open until August 10, 2021 or until funds are exhausted (whichever is sooner). Grant funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. Business owners with multiple Calgary permanent physical establishments are eligible to apply for funding for each establishment. This includes scenarios where a business owner has more than one location or chapter or branch, to a maximum of three.

The program will be available on calgary.ca/business starting July 1.

COVID19 Recovery funding


We are using federal and provincial allocated funding to support citizens, businesses and our partners, and build our local economy. A total of $73 million in non-emergency response funding is being used to help reduce the impact of the pandemic and aid Calgary's recovery. 

COVID-19 recovery funding (calgary.ca)

This includes business initiatives such as:

Business Improvement Area tax levy relief

The City has allocated over $4.2 million in provincial and federal COVID-19 recovery funding towards the 2021 Business Improvement Areas’ (BIA) budgets. There are 15 BIAs located in Calgary and all 6,044 businesses located within the BIAs will have a one-time credit equal to their 2021 BIA tax bill applied to their account. Business owners will be mailed an updated account statement showing the credit applied and their current account balance. Business owners who are looking for more information should visit calgary.ca/biatax.

The Government of Alberta

The Province has announced similar provisions for gas and electrical bills deferrals without interest or penalty; please contact your service provider for details. Find more at the Government of Alberta’s supports for businesses site.

Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant

The Government of Alberta has expanded the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant, which eases COVID-19 relaunch costs faced by businesses, non-profits and cooperatives. As of April 2021, The Government of Alberta is offering small businesses affected by the most recent public health orders another payment of up to $10,000. Businesses can use these funds as they see fit to help offset the costs of re-opening and implementing public health measures.

Alberta businesses affected by the latest public health orders are eligible to apply for another payment. This additional payment will also be available to new businesses that began operating between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, as well as hotels, taxis and ride-sharing services. With this latest expansion, small businesses that have qualified for all three rounds will have received as much as $30,000.

The Government of Canada

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Companies can apply for the wage subsidy online if they are eligible. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) ha an online calculator to calculate your subsidy amount. This program has been extended by the Government of Canada until September 25, 2021, however a drawdown on the eligibility criteria and payments available from the program begins on July 4, 2021.

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

The federal government’s Emergency Rent Subsidy is open for applications until September 25, 2021.

If you are a business, non-profit organization or a charity, and you have seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to have up to 65 per cent of your rent covered. If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support (an additional 25 per cent of rent covered) if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

This program has been extended by the Government of Canada until September 25, 2021, however a drawdown on the eligibility criteria and payments available from the program begins on July 4, 2021.

Canada Summer Jobs Program

The Government of Canada will subsidize 100% of wages (up to the local minimum wage) for businesses and non-governmental organizations to hire students for full time or part-time jobs. The end date for employment has been extended to February 28, 2021. For more information visit Changes to Canada Summer Jobs program to help businesses and young Canadians affected by COVID-19.

Work-Sharing Program

Work-Sharing is a program that helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer. The program provides Employment Insurance benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers. Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees and the Government of Canada.

Wage Earner Protection Program

The Government of Canada has temporarily extended the eligible wages period for the Wage Earner Protection Program. This program provides financial support to workers who are owed eligible wages when their employer files for bankruptcy or becomes subject to receivership. Eligible wages include wages, vacation pay, disbursements, severance and termination.

Learn more about Government of Canada programs for businesses at Support to Businesses - Canada.ca.

Federal Support for Self-Employed Individuals


Canada Recovery Benefit

The Canada Recovery Benefit provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks for workers who have stopped working or had their income reduced by at least 50% due to COVID-19, and who are not eligible for Employment Insurance.

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit

The Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit provides $500 per week for up to a maximum of two weeks, for workers who:

  • Are unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they contracted COVID-19
  • Are self-isolated for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Have underlying conditions, are undergoing treatments or have contracted other sicknesses that, in the opinion of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, person in authority, government or public health authority, would make them more susceptible to COVID-19.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit

The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit provides $500 per week for up to 26 weeks per household for workers:

  • Unable to work for at least 50% of the week because they must care for a child under the age of 12 or family member because schools, day-cares or care facilities are closed due to COVID-19.
  • Because the child or family member is sick and/or required to quarantine or is at high risk of serious health implications because of COVID-19.

Federal Business/Not-for-Profit Loans and Grant Programs


The Canada Emergency Business Account

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free, partially forgivable, loans of up to $60,000, to small businesses and not-for-profits, that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19 but face ongoing non-deferrable costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and wages.

Business owners can apply for support until June 30, 2021 through their banks and credit unions.

Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Export Development Canada 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. This financing support is to be used for operational expenses and is available to both exporting and non-exporting companies. The program is now available at various banks and credit unions.

Co-Lending Program for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME)

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada is working with financial institutions to co-lend term loans of up to $6.25 million to SMEs for their operational cash flow requirements. The program offers differing maximum finance amounts based on business revenues. The program is now available at various banks and credit unions.

Mid-Market Financing Program

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, the Business Development Canada's Mid-Market Financing Program will provide commercial loans ranging between $12.5 million and $60 million to medium-sized businesses whose credit needs exceed what is already available through the Business Credit Availability Program and other measures.

Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program

Through the Business Credit Availability Program, Business Development Canada’s Mid-Market Guarantee and Financing Program will bring liquidity to companies who tend to have revenues of between $50 million to $300 million to sustain operations. Export Development Canada will continue to work with Canadian financial institutions to guarantee 75% of new operating credit and cash-flow loans – ranging in size from $16.75 million to a maximum of $80 million. These expanded guarantees are available to exporters, international investors and businesses that sell their products or services within Canada.

Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility

The Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility provides 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.

Additional support available to businesses by sector:

Commercial insurance


The Insurance Bureau of Canada has created a COVID-19 Q&A outlining how coverage is triggered and how business interruption policies work. Find out more at IBC - COVID-19.

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