Resources for Small Businesses affected by COVID-19

Jolene Kisilevich Announcement

There has been so much information passed around so quickly it becomes quite overwhelming. Much of what has been communicated has not been completely developed yet but this is a highlight of some of what we know so far and what we might want to focus on in the moment.

Update March 27, 2020:

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a major increase to the wage subsidy for small- and medium-sized businesses, boosting it to 75 per cent, up from the 10 per cent previously promised.  This decision, to help “qualifying businesses” keep employees on staff, is being back-dated to March 15, with more information coming over the weekend.

Trudeau also said the government will be offering a new Canada Emergency Business Account to provide loans of up to $40,000 to small and medium-sized businesses that will be interest-free for one year.
If certain conditions are met, the first $10,000 will be forgiven.  We don’t have details but should know more soon.

March 25 Update: More Federal Resources – CERB up to $2000 per month.

  • The government is merging two previously announced employment insurance benefits for Canadians who are out of or off of work due to COVID-19.
  • The new benefit combines the Emergency Care Benefit and Emergency Support Benefit into the ‘Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)’, which will provide $2,000 a month for four months to people who are off of work without an income as a result of this virus. This includes those who have lost their job, contractors, self-employed, those who are sick, in quarantine or taking care of children or seniors. All employees of a business, including the owner, are eligible.
  • This will aim to simplify the process – online portal applications will be available soon, and Canadians will be able to receive the benefit within 10 days of applying. The government is hoping to have this initiative in place by April 6th.

March 24 Update:

Government of Alberta:

  • One-time payment of $1,146 until federal emergency payments begin in April. An online application should be available this week.
  • Utility Payment Deferral Plan
  • Student Loan Repayment Deferral Plan
  • Deferrals on loans, lines of credit, and mortgages for up to 6 months

More information is available at

There has been so much information passed around so quickly it becomes quite overwhelming. Much of what has been communicated has not been completely developed yet but this is a highlight of some of what we know so far and what we might want to focus on in the moment.

Government of Canada resources: For the latest updates:

If you are not set up for this (or the business isn’t), please do so. It is the fastest way for the government to get funds to you


10% Wage Subsidy- note this has been changed to 75% and the details are just coming out on that.
There is a 10% wage subsidy that can be applied on wages incurred since March 18, 2020 (currently says it ends June 20 but I think that is yet to be seen). I have attached the link for the FQA’s below but here are the highlights as I see them:

  • It’s a manual calculation and there is no way to report it to CRA this time. This will come but still start reducing your payments immediately.
  • You are maxed at $1375 per employee and $25,000 for each business number you have
  • There is no max per paycheque – so there is potential for you to hit this max in our first remittance
  • You get the subsidy by reducing the “tax” component of your source deductions. You can not reduce the CPP and EI amounts
  • This can be carried forward, so if tax amounts are less than 10% of your salaries for the period, reduce future payments.

Work-sharing Program

This program allows your team to partially be paid by EI benefits while still working for you at a reduced rate. I would encourage you to sign up for this asap, if there is any chance that you plan to reduce time for your team.

There are some questions asked by CRA in this application. Please consider their motivation and think big picture and long term when answering these. Ie. If you don’t get approved, will this lead to additional lay-offs, less revenue, more financial distress? 

Employee supports

  • If you do end up laying off staff, I would recommend you reach out to an HR lawyer or a labour rep first. There is potential for the rules around “notice” as well as time frame for lay-off to change (I have heard this from AB labour but no announcements yet) and you want to make sure you are in compliance on the day the lay-off occurs
  • Once let go, they can apply through the online access however they should also call the number to get the 1stweek wait removed.
  • Benefits for your team may still be available until to the end of the month they were laid off in. Check with your benefit provider to confirm.
  • For people that have been sick but are still retained, they may be eligible for short term disability depending on factors such as timeline – again reach out to your benefit provider.


As a shareholder, you may not qualify for EI (unless you paid in, you are likely not included in these supports).  This may also affect your family members if they are paid from the Company.  The government has announced two types of supports coming for people that do not qualify for EI.

  • One is related to an immediate quarantine or if you need to stay home due child care or sick family – can apply in April 2020
    • You can also apply to starting later this week to bridge the time between federal pmts.
  • The other one (which may be an extension of the one above), is very general and very little detail has been released. I do think you will qualify in some form for this however all we can do is stay tuned at this time. (Other countries have matched EI benefits for similar circumstances)
  • I would encourage getting any mortgage payments deferred if possible. Interest will not stop accruing in most cases but it is a fast way to free up cashflow
  • Like your business you can also defer utility payments personally for 90 days – you need to call in and get set up


I encourage you to generate a plan relating to how you will go forward. Use this document as a guide, and I would suggest prioritizing which payments need to occur and which ones can be put off.


So far, the only filing requirement that has been deferred is the personal filing to June 1.  While some taxes can be deferred all other filing requirements are still required. Note that not filing can still generate penalties.

  • Corporate tax amounts that became due after March 18, can be deferred to August 31
  • GST and Payroll amounts are still required to be filed and paid on time to avoid interest and penalties.
  • Personal taxes are not due until Sep 1
  • Workshare program:  

For more info check out the Work-Sharing program website or call the Employer Contact Centre at 1-800-367-5693.

  • Employment Insurance Program:

The Government of Canada offers benefits for individuals who may qualify if they have lost their job.

Government of Alberta resources:  For the latest updates:

Additional Links:


Other Resources/Information and Webinars sessions of interest:


Watch out for fake news on Social media. There is a lot of Non-Factual info about Corona Virus being shared every day. Bloggers are taking advantage of the opportunity. We advise to only share info that is from a Govt or trusted medical organization.


Any questions contact us. We are getting updates every day from many sources.

Hang in there. Best wishes to all.

From the Go East Team.


Update March 20, 2020:

Go East of Edmonton is working with our Tourism Partners to learn, share and plan for recovery in the future.

As a result of the precautionary measures taken by our Government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Alberta’s small business owners are beginning to see challenges and are worried about what’s to come. This list provides current information and resources for small business owners and members of all communities to better understand how to navigate these times.

We will continue to update this page with new information and additional resources as they become available.

Resources for Small Business Owners

Links to make sure your business is prepared for upcoming changes:

Financial Relief

The Government of Canada detailed their plan to support Canadians and businesses financially as we work through these times together. You can find more information on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan here:

News & Media Releases

Keep up to date on the latest information on the response to COVID-19.

Health Information & Self-Assessment

Find out what symptoms you should be aware of, how to keep yourself and others safe, more information on the virus.

Mental Health Resources

Taking care of your mental health is as important in everyday life as it is in times of crisis. Check out these resources for more information.

The Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642 | available 24/7 to provide advice and referrals to community supports near you.

Government Updates

Important updates directly from government resources.

**************************************************************The Recording of “Dealing with the Coronavirus: What to do immediately, to help save your tourism industry & downtown businesses”
Is now available by Roger Brooks! Click here.

About Go East Regional Tourism Actions:

We want everyone to know that we are here working every day to help promote what needs to be done to update the public regarding tourism and events. Now more than ever we want to help support local communities, businesses and non-profit organizations through this. We are currently looking at ways we can increase promotion for our businesses and communities once it is feasible to do so and get back on track.

With over 25,000 followers on social media and over 150,000 visits to our website every year, we can be a positive force to help through this period and help with recovery.

Here are some important items for you to know about us:

  1. The 2020 Go East of Edmonton Travel Guide has been sent to print PRIOR to the COVID-19 becoming a serious issue in Alberta, therefore there is nothing we can do to change cancelled events in the magazine. We at the very least were able to put in a disclaimer in the events section and we will update the public through our website and social media of any changes. While we would normally celebrate the fact that we think it is the best issue we have ever created, we are quietly planning for its release in April or when its feasible to launch this in the region and around Alberta. Once we are getting through this period of emergency, we feel it will be a very important tool to help promote our businesses, communities, organizations during this difficult time. Tourism is one of the most important factors in Economic recovery. We will be ready when times go back to normal to make a difference and help the region.

Making adjustments as we go along…

  1. We are going to hold off putting the Online version of the Travel Guide up on the website so that we may be able to update some events and dates. We do plan on creating a separate online Events & Entertainment Guide and we will move forward on this once it’s safe to do so. It will have the updated event dates for 2020. In the meantime, it is very important for event organizers to keep us updated with their event plans. We know that there is a lot of uncertainty, but we believe if we work together, we can get through this. For marketing questions contact Kevin at 780-632-6191 or
  2. Go East Digital Marketing Support. Now, more than ever, social media promotion will be vital, along with website promotion. So, it is important for you to know that your dollars invested with Go East of Edmonton will still be put to good use as we will do all we can to promote your business and Community in the coming months.
  3. Go East Website Events Updating Daily. At the time of the virus escalating, we had over 600 events on our website- which is the #1 source for tourism events in the region. A huge amount of work goes in every year to update and promote these events. In early March we immediately put up disclaimers that events may cancel on our website. They are inserted to be seen every day from early March till the end of April and will be extended if necessary. We are updating cancelled events daily.
  4. Weekly Radio Show Updates. We are still on Country every week giving updates on what’s happening. Let us know about your community so we can promote the important changes taking place.
  5. Travel Alberta Updates. Today is the first day we have received emails and phone calls from Travel Alberta. We gave them our feedback and pressed the need for them to support Rural tourism now, during and after this pandemic is over. Travel Alberta will be contacting us again next week for more updates.

You can see their updated info here at these links:

ACTIONS you need to do to help us to help you…

  1. Contact us about Event cancellations or postponements. While we know almost all events will cancel in the next month, if you are rescheduling that event let us know. Email:
  2. You can send us changes to events through this form also here at this link:
  3. TAG Us. Tagging us in your social media posts is extremely important more than ever so we know what is cancelled, closing or changing in your community. Use this Tag for Facebook and Instagram: @goeastofedmonton  Contact for help with social media.
  4. Contact us for questions if you have any. More updates will come as we continue through this.,


Sincerely, the Go East of Edmonton Team,
Donna Jenson, Jolene Kisilevich, Kevin Kisilevich, and Board of Directors.

We need to stick together through this period of time.