As we reach the end of the pandemic, I would like to thank all Albertans who have continued to go to work during this challenging time. Every Albertan has been playing an important part over the last several months to keep each other safe and keep our economy running. For Alberta’s critical workers, doing their part means being at a greater risk of exposure to go in to work every day and support Albertans’ needs.
That is why we launched the Critical Worker Benefit in February, which provided $1,200 payments to about 277,800 workers in the healthcare, social services, education and private sectors who deliver critical services to Albertans or support food and medical supply chains.
About $99 million in funding from this $465 million program is still available after distributing payments to these workers. In order to show appreciation for as many workers as possible, up to 76,500 workers in new job categories in the social services and private sectors are eligible for the remaining funds. Just as in the first phase of the benefit, employees must have worked a minimum of 300 hours during the period of October 12, 2020 to January 31, 2021 in order to be eligible. Employees working in the private sector must make $25 per hour or less.
The Critical Worker Benefit is designed to support workers who were providing critical services to Albertans, were essential to the supply and movement of goods, and who had a greater potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their work environments. We have recognized workers across a wide range of sectors and supported as many workers as possible with the funding that is available.
More details about who is eligible and how to apply is available at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit. Private sector employers must apply on behalf of their employees by July 23, and I encourage them to apply as soon as possible. Employers of eligible staff working in the social services sector will be contacted by the Government of Alberta to confirm details.
Alberta’s government is committed to protecting the lives and livelihoods of all Albertans. In addition to the Critical Worker Benefit, numerous other supports have been available for individuals throughout the pandemic, such as isolation supports and paid vaccination leaves. More information is available at alberta.ca/covid.
Thanks to Alberta’s critical workers and all Albertans, our province is the first across the country to Open for Summer. As our vaccine program continues to roll out, Alberta’s government is planning for the province’s recovery so we can all look forward to better days ahead.
Jason Copping served as Minister of Labour and Immigration from April 20, 2019 to September 21, 2021.