Alberta Biz Connect

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

Due to strong demand, the third application intake period for the Alberta Jobs Now program closed on June 30, 2022.
Eligible employers and service providers can apply to implement a rapid COVID-19 testing program in their organization.
All COVID-19 public health measures have been lifted.

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Workplace guidance

Workplace rules

  • 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.

    Financial support

    Employment standards rules

    Paid vaccination leave

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

  • 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)

Financial supports

  • Restrictions Exemption Program Implementation Grant

    The Restrictions Exemption Program ended February 9, 2022 and the application intake for the Restrictions Exemption Program Implementation Grant closed on Wednesday, February 23, 2022.

    If an application was submitted on or before February 23, it will remain under consideration until a decision on eligibility has been reached.

    A one-time payment of $2,000 to eligible Alberta small and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations is now available for those participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program.

    Learn more about the Restrictions Exemption Program Implementation Grant.

  • Restrictions Exemption Program safety training

    The Restrictions Exemption Program ended February 9, 2022. More details on this program will be shared soon.

    Online training is available at no cost to employers and their employees to help them assess and manage challenging situations that may arise during their daily operations.

    The training includes information that workers need to keep themselves and customers safe while implementing COVID-19 safety requirements, such requesting proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test, physical distancing or masking.

    Employers must enroll for the training on behalf of their employees. After enrolling, employers will receive an access code via email to share with their employees.

    Learn more and enroll in REP safety training.

  • Paid vaccination leave

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

  • 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, 2020, 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 October 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 if they experienced at least a 40% decline in net revenue compared to the same collection period in 2019.

    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 may be able to access federal supports to help with COVID-19-related challenges. For the latest information on federal programs, see the Government of Canada’s resources below.

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

    International travellers must comply with federal travel restrictions and entry requirements, including mandatory vaccination and COVID-19 testing.

  • 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

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