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COVID-19 Updates

Alberta Biz Connect

Workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 operate safely and support their recovery.

Supports for businesses and critical workers

Businesses and non-profits can apply for funding to reduce the cost of hiring and training Albertans for new jobs.
Funding for small- and medium-sized businesses, co-ops and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 to offset a portion of their costs.
Employers and service providers can apply to implement a rapid COVID-19 testing program in their organization.
Employees are eligible for paid, job-protected leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Business restrictions

Mandatory measures are in effect provincewide. Changes include some business closures, in-person service restrictions and capacity limits. Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces and workplaces.

View public health measures

Workplace guidance

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 among staff and customers, businesses should follow general and sector-specific guidance documents and implement measures to comply with public health requirements.

View all guidance documents

A woman wearing a mask hands a coffee and debit machine to a customer
A waitress wearing a mask cleans tables in a restaurant

Keeping people safe

Businesses must take steps to protect employees and customers:

Workplace rules

  • Workplace transmission prevention

    Any workplace in high case areas with transmission of 3 or more cases will be required to close for 10 days. Work camps, essential and critical services are exempt.

    All workplaces (including those that are exempt from closure) must continue to follow all public health measures, restrictions and orders in place, including mandatory isolation requirements.

    Any workplace that does not comply will be subject to enforcement.

    See workplace closures for more information.

  • Operating requirements

    Unless ordered to close or restricted by enhanced public health measures, businesses can operate if they follow all public health orders and workplace guidance.

    Businesses are subject to strict infection prevention and controls, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders.

    If you have questions about how these requirements may apply to your business, please review information on alberta.ca and if it’s not there, contact the Biz Connect team.

  • Temporary layoffs

    An employee can be temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 for 180 consecutive days from the initial layoff date.

    If the employee is not recalled to work after 180 consecutive days, their employment is considered to be ended, and they must receive termination pay if entitled.

    Learn more about temporary layoffs.

  • Recall notices for returning to work

    To request an employee return to work after a layoff, an employer must serve a recall notice to the employee in writing. Employees are not required to be tested for COVID-19 before they return to work.

    If an employee fails to return to work within 7 days of receiving the recall notice, the employer may terminate their employment. The employee is not entitled to termination notice or termination pay in this case.

    From a health and safety perspective, workers may suggest it is unsafe to return to work.

    • Employees have the right to refuse dangerous work – but this usually relates to a specific task, activity or condition and does not normally allow workers to refuse to attend work.
    • Employers must take steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, and must follow all public health orders and guidance.

    For detailed information, contact:

  • Job-protected leaves

    Quarantine leave

    Employees are entitled to 14 days of unpaid, job-protected leave if they are required to quarantine due to COVID-19. This leave can be taken more than once.

    Family responsibility leave

    Employees are entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave if they are required to:

    • care for self-isolated family members
    • care for children unable to attend school or child care as a result of Chief Medical Officer of Health orders related to COVID-19

    This leave may be taken for as long as needed to meet family responsibilities. It can be accessed more than once between now and August 14, 2021, when this leave provision expires.

    Financial support

    Employment standards rules

  • OHS requirements

    Employers must continue to meet existing occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements.

    OHS questions and concerns can be directed to the:

    OHS Contact Centre online
    Phone: 1-866-415-8690 (in Alberta)
    Phone: 780-415-8690 (in Edmonton)

  • Mask requirements

    Masks are now mandatory in all:

    • indoor workplaces in the Calgary and Edmonton metro areas
    • places of worship across the province

    Learn more about masks and current requirements.

  • Enforcement

    Businesses allowed to operate are subject to strict infection prevention and control measures, and will be carefully monitored for compliance with public health orders.

    COVID-19 public health orders are enforceable by law. Albertans and Alberta businesses must follow the orders issued by the chief medical officer of health, under the Public Health Act.

    If Albertans are concerned that businesses are not following public health orders, they can:

    Complaints that require an immediate response can also be reported to your local police force through their administrative phone line. Please do not call 911.

Financial supports

  • Alberta Jobs Now program

    Private and non-profit businesses can apply for funding to offset the cost of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans into new or vacant full-time jobs.

    Employers can get up to:

    • $25,000 for each new hire, or
    • $37,500 for each new employee with a disability

    Workers cannot apply for the program directly, but can let potential employers know they can apply for the Alberta Jobs Now program if they hire you.

    Apply for the first of 3 intake periods by August 31.

    Learn more

  • Paid vaccination leave

    All working Albertans can access 3 hours of paid, job-protected leave to get each dose of the vaccine.

    Learn more

  • Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant

    Eligible organizations impacted by the April and May 2021 public health orders can apply for an additional payment of the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.

  • Education property tax deferral

    Education property tax rates were frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.

    Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses was deferred for 6 months to September 30, or a deferral of both municipal and education property tax for a shorter time that is of equivalent benefit.

    • Municipalities were expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
    • 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.
    • Taxpayers can contact their municipality directly for information on their municipality’s approach to education property tax deferral or to discuss a payment schedule to pay these deferred taxes.

    Learn more

  • Tourism levy abatement

    Hotels and other lodging providers are permitted to keep tourism levy amounts collected between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.

    Learn more

  • WCB premium payment deferrals

    Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.

    • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% 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.

  • Federal government programs

    Businesses can access supports to help with COVID-19-related challenges, including:

    • avoiding layoffs, rehiring employees and creating new jobs
    • accessing financial support, loans and credit
    • applying for supports for self-employed individuals

    Find federal support based on your business needs.

    See list of all federal business support programs.

    Canada United Small Business Relief Fund – Helps small businesses offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.

Additional information and resources

  • Purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE)

    Connect to PPE suppliers using the websites below. The government is not responsible for products or prices offered on these sites.

    Alberta-based businesses that manufacture PPE can find out how to help at Alberta Bits and Pieces.

  • Small business advice

    Talk to a small business strategist at Business Link for one-on-one coaching, advice and information on COVID-19 resources and supports.

    To connect with a Business Link strategist:

    Submit your question online or contact them directly:

    Toll free: 1-800-272-9675 (Canada only)
    TTY: 1-800-457-8466 (For the deaf or hard of hearing)
    Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed weekends and statutory holidays)

  • Mental health resources and support

    The COVID-19 pandemic can have a significant impact on mental health.

    Online resources are available if you need advice on handling stressful situations.

    If you need to talk, call the 24-hour help lines:

    For more information, visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.

  • Travel restrictions and exemptions

    An international travel advisory remains in effect. Non-essential travel is not recommended at this time.

    Travellers returning to or entering Alberta from outside Canada are legally required to follow provincial and federal travel restrictions upon arrival, including a mandatory 14 day quarantine, unless they qualify for a travel exemption for essential service workers.

  • Carpooling

    Carpooling is permitted. If you carpool, it's recommended to maintain physical distancing as much as possible, stagger seating and practice good hygiene. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home.

    Preventative hygiene measures should also be followed, including:

    • avoid touching your face
    • wear a mask
    • stay as far away from other passengers as possible
    • sanitize hands when leaving the vehicle
    • frequently sanitize commonly touched vehicle surfaces, such as door handles, seatbelt buckles, steering wheel, and dashboard

    See guidance for taxis, limos, rideshares and commuting for more information.

  • What to do if someone at your business tests positive for COVID-19

    Public health officials will contact you to determine what changes and actions may be needed to help ensure the safety of employees and patrons.

    The following measures should be taken to help public health officials in their investigation:

    Contact tracing:

    • To support public health contact tracing efforts, you should collect the name and contact information of attendees (for example, staff and patrons).
    • Through the contact tracing process conducted by public health officials, the investigator will determine if the case had prolonged contact with other individuals in your business/entity, staff or anyone else at the facility.

    Cleaning:

    • You will need to completely clean and disinfect your business/location. Information on best practices for disinfecting your space can be found in the guidance documents.

    Self-assessment:

    • Business operators, staff members, as well as others potentially exposed to the confirmed or probable COVID-19 case should complete the COVID-19 self-assessment.

    Assessing risk of exposure at a workplace:

    • If a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 (a patron/client or an employee) is detected at a business or entity, the business or entity may be asked to close for a period of time to conduct any necessary environmental cleaning of the space, and to allow contact tracing and the public health investigation to be completed.
    • The decision to close a business/entity or a building would be made by the Zone Medical Officer of Health in consultation with the business operator. If the case has had no prolonged contact with other areas or staff in the building, it is unlikely that a full closure would be required.
  • COVID-19 translated resources

    COVID-19 resources are available in Arabic, 中文, हिंदी, 한국어, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Af-Soomaali, Español, Français, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt and Urdu.

    See translated resources

Have a question?

If you have questions that are not addressed on this page, please contact the Biz Connect team.

Contact the Biz Connect Team