City Council approves further supports for Calgary’s business community
On April 30, City Council approved further support for businesses in Calgary as they navigate the challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has hit local businesses hard with many having to close their doors in efforts to flatten the curve and slow down the rate of infection.
“Our businesses are the heart of our local economy, and their struggles have a profound impact on our city and communities,” said City Manager David Duckworth. “These relief measures keep dollars in the pockets of business owners and give additional flexibility for those looking to pivot or do things differently moving forward. We will continue to look at ways to help businesses make it through this pandemic.”
New supports for businesses will include:
- A Small Business Support team available to support businesses pivoting their business model as they re-open. Further information on how businesses can access this service will be made public and shared out to the business community in the coming weeks.
- Waiving of the business license renewal fee for one year to reduce the financial burden on businesses.
- Six-month relief efforts effective May 1, 2020 including:
- Waived Planning & Development fees for change of use and home occupation (class 2) development permits, residential certificates of compliance and pre-application fees, to support businesses adapting to COVID-19.
- Deferred Planning & Development fees for commercial building permits, development permits, subdivisions, land use amendments, outline plans and road closures. 75% of payment will be deferred to final stages of approval, offering financial flexibility of better cash flow management through projects.
- Fee simplification through elimination of the set up front deposit, simplifying by applying one common fee schedule rate to all outline plans and land use amendments, and applying the deferral relief above.
- Extensions on development and building permits offered to ensure existing approvals will not expire while businesses deal with the impacts of COVID-19.
- The expansion of the Centre City Enterprise Area to include all commercial properties through a pilot. This means a reduction in processes, barriers to entry and cost savings for businesses as they re-populate physical space. Analysis on the option to expand Centre City Enterprise Area development permit exemptions also includes a risk assessment and other considerations.
On March 16, Calgary City Council endorsed The City of Calgary’s COVID-19 strategy to help flatten the curve, continue service and support to citizens, communities and businesses during the pandemic and beyond. A major area of focus in this strategy includes supporting Calgary’s business sector through the creation of a Business Sector Support taskforce to advocate to the provincial and federal government on behalf of Calgary’s business community, and support businesses through the curation and sharing of helpful tools and resources from trusted sources.
“Right now, we are focused on what we can do in the short-term to support businesses while we continue to advocate for further relief and supports from other orders of government,” said Sonya Sharp, Chair of the Business Sector Support Task Force and Leader of the Business and Local Economy team. “We are working hard together with all our stakeholders and partners to make sure businesses can stay afloat and re-open when the time comes.”
Through the work of this task force, The City has made strides to aid businesses during this time including:
- Advocating to provincial and federal government for relief on rent, which has recently come through from the Government of Alberta.
- Promoting support of Calgary businesses through a joint campaign with civic partners and stakeholders under the hashtag #SupportLocalYYC.
- Creation of an online hub for businesses that includes updates, resources and information to support businesses during COVID-19 at calgary.ca/covid-business.
- Extension of building permits to keep businesses open for longer. This aids financial relief and supports removal of barriers to encourage land development.
To stay updated on the latest announcements, tools and resources available for businesses, visit calgary.ca/covid-business. Information about these latest supports will be made available on this site in the near future.