COVID-19 update

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Updated March 27, 2020

COVID-19 update

Updated March 27, 2020

COVID-19 update as of March 27

Several updates were made today by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

This afternoon, The City of Calgary ordered the suspension of group sport activities, and the closure of skate parks in addition to playgrounds.

At the federal level, several new support programs for small businesses were announced. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) provided the following summary:

Increased Wage Subsidy to 75% for qualifying businesses

  • The government’s previously announced wage subsidy of 10% will be replaced by a wage subsidy of 75%, helping tourism businesses keep employees on payroll and position the industry for recovery once this health crisis is over. 
  • Eligibility criteria will start with the impact of COVID-19 on sales. Further details regarding eligibility will be shared by the government shortly. 
  • This subsidy will be available to small and medium businesses for up to three months and retroactive until March 15, 2020, allowing tourism businesses to potentially re-hire laid off staff. 

Deferred GST & HST payments, duties and taxes on imports until June 2020

  • A measure equivalent of providing up to $30 billion in interest-free loans to Canadian businesses. 
  • Deferred payments to allow businesses to have more liquidity on hand to survive the financial impact of COVID-19.

Canada Emergency Business Account

  • Banks will offer $40,000 loans, guaranteed by the government to qualifying small businesses and loans will be interest-free for the first year. Qualifying businesses must have payrolls of less than $1 million.
  • Full loan repayment by December 31, 2022, will result in a 25% loan forgiveness up to $10,000.

Loans will be available through eligible financial institutions and will be fully guaranteed and funded by the Government of Canada

New access to Credit through Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program 

  • The government announced $12.5 billion of additional support and access to credit through EDC and BDC to help small and medium-sized enterprises with cashflow requirements through the new Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program. 
  • Businesses can apply for a guaranteed loan through their banking institution to access this additional financial support. 
  • Loans of up to $6.25 million will be made available to small and medium-sized businesses in Canada directly through their financial institutions


Previous update - March 26, 2020

As you’ve shared with us over the last few weeks, the impacts of COVID-19 have forced you to make very difficult decisions about the operations of your business. An overwhelming number of you have had to enact temporary layoffs as a result of the changing environment. As of March 26, Tourism Calgary had to do the same. Faced with significantly decreased funding, and uncertainty about timelines, 60 percent of Tourism Calgary’s valued team members were given notice of temporary layoffs, effective in early April.

We want to stress the temporary nature of the layoffs, and the fact that we’re still here to serve you, our industry partners. A core team - on reduced compensation and some on reduced hours - has been retained to help our partners and organization navigate this crisis period and prepare for recovery. We know that when that time comes, it will be more important than ever for our industry to pull together, support each other and get Calgarians back to experiencing – and sharing – all that our great city and region have to offer. Then, we will invite the world.

We expressed our deep appreciation to our team members who are accepting temporary layoffs. We know that they are eager to rejoin Tourism Calgary as soon as it is prudent, and we’re equally eager to have them back. Because of our team, and our committed and passionate industry, tourism in Calgary will return to the strong and vital industry it was only a month ago.


Previous update - March 23, 2020

Through tough times in our city, Calgary’s tourism industry has shown time and again that we support each other, and this tough time is no exception. We’re seeing so many examples of collaboration, perseverance and daring and undaunted ways of sharing the best Calgary has to offer – even if those things are looking and feeling a little different. We certainly aren’t surprised to see this, but it warms our hearts nonetheless. Your love and pride of your employees, businesses and Calgary is shining bright.

This week, Tourism Calgary’s advocacy efforts seeking support for the tourism industry will continue. We will be convening a small roundtable of leaders from every sector of our industry to discuss our advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry, and to ensure the breadth of the visitor economy is represented. We’ll announce another virtual townhall with CEMA and AHS to allow you to ask questions directly of them, and, we’ll have another survey for you, to ensure our data is complete and up-to-date. Please watch for that, and thanks in advance for your input.

Finally, this week we’re going to be asking for you to share your stories of how your business and employees are finding new ways of sharing your experiences, so we can highlight and support them. Please stay tuned for those details.

Corporate income tax changes:

  • Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments will be deferred from March 19 until August 31, 2020 to increase employers' access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

Education property tax deferral:

  • Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year's levels - reversing the 3.4 per cent population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
  • Collection of non-residential property tax for businesses will be deferred for six months.
  • Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
  • Deferred amounts will be repaid in future years.
  • Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.
  • Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.

WCB premium payment deferral:

  • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50 per cent of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 - saving businesses $350 million.
  • Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
  • Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

Resources are also available through the Federal government's Regional Development Agencies. The Government of Canada is taking action to support tourism and other businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can take advantage of new investments and initiatives such as:

  • Enhancements to the Work-Sharing program to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19.
  • Waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
  • Income support for those who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits is also being explored.

Also, a few key questions and answers relevant to our industry from today’s virtual townhall with CEMA and AHS include:

  • Should hotels remain open? At this time, there are no restrictions around hotels. Properties can remain open if they wish; however, cleaning processes should be reviewed and enhanced, and symptomatic guests should be accommodated to ensure they’re able to self-isolate;
  • What are the recommendations around outdoor sport organizations that host practices on open fields? At this time, it is not recommended to engage in sporting activities where competitors can come into close contact, even if those activities take place outdoors;
  • What is the response to breweries making hand sanitizer? The city has received lots of offers of support, and they are greatly appreciated. CEMA is doing what it can to get approval from the federal level so that these organizations may move forward with their plans to offer support.

Let's keep showing our love and pride for our community, and for each other.


  • Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to six months.
  • Small business customers, in addition to payment deferrals on loans and lines of credit, will be provided access to additional working capital.
  • For other business and agriculture customers, ATB will work with customers on a one-on-one basis and further solutions are being considered at this time.
  • For more information on ATB's relief program, please visit their website.
  • Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.
  • Both individual and business members are encouraged to proactively contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.
  • $27 billion to fund COVID-19 research - this funding will support 47 research teams from across Canada that will focus on accelerating the development, testing and implementation of measures to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak (link for details here)
  • $1 billion package to help Canadians cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, with half of the money going to the provinces and territories - the fund will help put in place the plans, infrastructure and resources needed to protect the health and safety of all Canadians (link for details here).
  • Employment Insurance - The Government of Canada will waive the one-week waiting period for people who are in quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate and are claiming for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits (link for details here).The Government of Canada will also introduce enhancements to the 
  • Work-Sharing Program to earmark an estimated $12 million to help employers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, and their workers (link for details here)
  • Establishment of a $10 billion Business Credit Availability Program to further support financing in the private sector through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada (link for more details here).

Flatten the curve

Previous update - March 16, 2020:

Previous update - March 13, 2020:

On March 13, a virtual townhall special to Calgary’s tourism industry was hosted in conjunction with Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) Chief Tom Sampson, and Dr. Nicholas Etches from Alberta Health Services.

  • Staying home if you’re sick and encouraging your colleagues to do the same;
  • Doing what you can to support and educate your organization and your customers;
  • Post signage in all entryways that encourages people to go home if they show symptoms;
  • Post signage throughout the facility that encourages patrons to wash their hands;
  • Providing hand sanitizer, and making it easy for people to wash their hands; and
  • See what you can do to space people out.

Previous update - March 10, 2020:

We will continue to actively monitor the situation, develop mitigation strategies with partners and to update this page as new information becomes available.

Previous update - March 2, 2020:

COVID-19 is having an impact on tourism around the world. Canada and its tourism destinations are already experiencing the impact through the cancellation of flights and of conferences and events. As the virus continues to spread, we expect to see further impacts nationally, provincially and locally.

While there are no known cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, the tourism industry is especially vulnerable to global pandemics. For that reason, Tourism Calgary is working closely with partners to support our industry and the local tourism economy by shifting our marketing efforts for 2020 to a national and regional approach. By being responsive and nimble in our efforts, we aim to mitigate the impact on those who work and operate businesses in Calgary’s $2 billion tourism industry.

Tourism Calgary is working closely with our partners, including Calgary Emergency Management Agency, the Calgary Hotel Association and YYC Calgary International Airport to ensure our industry is prepared.

Previous update - Feb. 25, 2020:

We will continue to monitor the situation and to update this page as new information becomes available.

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