Alberta businesses that have hired or are looking to hire part-time staff may now qualify for the province's revamped Jobs Now funding.
“Employers, if you're looking to bring new people on board, you're in your own Alberta business recovery and you need just that little bit of a boost to onboard new staff and to train them up, help is here,” said Premier Jason Kenney at a press conference, on Nov. 9.
On Nov. 10 the second intake for the Jobs Now grant program opened to employers following the initial two-month intake for the program, which ran from May 20 to July 23.
Through the program, employers can receive funds to cover salary or training costs, for 25 per cent of an employee’s salary for a year, up to a maximum of $25,000. If an employer hires a person with a disability, they will receive 37.5 per cent of that person's salary.
“Alberta's recovery depends on getting more folks back to stable jobs. And that also includes Albertans with disabilities who tend to have higher levels of unemployment despite a desire and willingness to work,” said Kenney.
The program has seen some changes since the first intake, which include reducing the hours per week employees need to work from 30 to 15.
Kenney said this change will encourage employers to hire more Albertans with disabilities and give employers more flexibility in how they use the program.
The program initially required employers to hire unemployed Albertans, but the program now allows employers to fill positions with employed Albertans if a business needs them.
Businesses can apply on behalf of eligible employees hired since May 19 as long as they haven't applied for that employee already.
Another change to the program includes allowing employers to reapply for employees who were ineligible under the first intake, but who are now eligible under the new requirements.
The program is now also open to businesses and non-profits that have been operating for less than a year.
Christina Gray, NDP labour critic, said in a Nov. 9 press statement, she is encouraged to see the province open the door to include new businesses in this intake, but said if the “UCP had done this correctly from the beginning, more businesses may have opened their doors sooner.”
The province, however, has reduced the number of positions an employer can fill to 10 per intake period, down from the 20 positions allowed during the first phase.
Employers also have a reduced amount of time to fill positions — 90 days after application approval instead of 120 days.
During the first intake of the program, which closed a full month earlier than the initial Aug. 31 application deadline date due to high demand — the province approved 2,700 applications for around 14,000 jobs.
Altogether, there is up to $370 million in funding for the two-year program, with $185 million from the federal government through the workforce development agreement, and the other $185 million from the province.
Kenney said there is around $280 million of funding left from the initial $370 million.
“That would be well north of 20,000 additional jobs that would be supported,” he said.
Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.