Calgary

City officials recommend Calgary council waive business license fees for 2021

City administration is recommending council waive business license fees for 2021, but two members of council argue that Calgary businesses hit hard by COVID-19 should get that relief that following year as well.

Councillors Sutherland and Davison say hard-hit businesses need relief into 2022

This storefront on 17 Avenue S.W. is one of several vacant spaces available on the popular restaurant and shopping strip. Two Calgary city councillors want the city to waive business licence fees for two years to help spur an economic recovery. (Bryan Labby/CBC)

City administration is recommending council waive business license fees for 2021, but two members of council argue that Calgary businesses hit hard by COVID-19 should get that relief that following year as well.

Councillors Ward Sutherland and Jeff Davison are calling for an extension of the fee freeze through 2022.

"So for Calgary small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19, what we're looking at doing is waiving licensing fees to zero for new and existing businesses," Davison told CBC News.

"Now, you'll still have to apply for those business licenses, but we're committed to proving that Calgary is ready and open for business on the other side of the pandemic."

Sutherland and Davison will make their case next week. 

Davison says economic recovery from the pandemic is going to take some time.

"Through the work of the business advisory committee, we've really looked over the long term. The pandemic is going to have long-lived effects on small business here in Calgary and so extending the plan through to 2022 is likely a good thing that we can do to show business that we're serious and committed to keeping them open here in Calgary."

License fees can be as low as one dollar and as high as $1,300.

The cost of the proposed freeze is $9 million per year.

With files from Scott Dippel

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