Business organizations pleased with cautious Alberta budget

Some in Alberta’s business community are happy with a provincial budget, described as a “do no harm” plan or a bridge to the other side of the pandemic. 

Annie Dormuth, the director of provincial affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said her organization is happy with the cautious budget, and relieved there are no new taxes on members. 

Where she feels the government fell short, however, is in timely support during the downturn. 

“The government is proceeding with its new COVID-19 business benefit, which will open for applications in April,” she said. 

“Whereas we’ve been advocating for the government to make that funding available now through the current eligibility requirements of the current SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) relaunch grant.”

She said 22 per cent of small businesses in Alberta — approximately 34,500 companies — are actively considering closure. 

“That is why it’s imperative that any funding doesn’t … you’re not making businesses wait until April to apply for funding,” said Dormuth. 

Mike Holden with the Business Council of Alberta calls the budget a bridge to next year.

He said his organization is pleased with initiatives like focusing on vaccine rollout and related health-care issues, enhancing workforce training and development opportunities, some measures to accelerate economic recovery and support for tech and innovation.

But the council was hoping to see the province capitalize on more climate change opportunities.

“There’s hundreds of billions of dollars of private capital and a lot of federal money potentially on the table for carbon capture and other projects and measures to improve Alberta’s investment attractiveness,” he said. 

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