LAKELAND - Critical workers across Alberta who have worked more than 300 hours between Oct. 12, 2020 and Jan. 31, 2021 are eligible for a one-time payment of $1,200.
The Critical Worker Benefit is described as a joint federal-provincial program that will see $465 million go to about 380,000 public and private sector workers across the province. Employers will be responsible for distributing the $1,200 benefit to eligible employees.
The Government of Alberta announced the Critical Worker Benefit on Wednesday afternoon.
“These workers have placed themselves at the front line of this pandemic in order to serve their fellow citizens during a crisis. Alberta’s government is recognizing their good work. We trust this support will help these workers continue to protect lives and livelihoods as we keep fighting this pandemic together," said Premier Jason Kenney, on Wednesday.
The Critical Worker Benefit will be available to workers in health-care, social services, education and private sectors who deliver critical services to Albertans, or support food and medical supply chains.
Under the health-care sector, about 161,000 eligible employees will receive the Critical Worker Benefit. Eligible occupations include orderlies and patient service associates, respiratory therapists and technologists, nurses (RNs, RPNs, LPNs), food services, housekeeping and maintenance workers and unit clerks, according to the Government of Alberta.
In the social services sector, about 45,000 workers will receive the benefit. Some of the eligible occupations include community disability service workers and practitioners, personal care aides, child development workers, family and youth counsellors, crisis intervention and shelter workers, home support workers, seniors lodge staff, cleaners, food preparation and maintenance workers, according to the province.
Those working in the education sector are also eligible for the benefit. This will include up to 36,000 workers, from teacher assistants to bus drivers to custodians, cleaning staff, and administration support.
“Bus drivers across the province have worked tremendously hard to keep students safe while going to and from school. This benefit helps recognize tremendous work done by these essential workers," said David Shaw, president, Student Transportation Association of Alberta.
Eligible private sector workers making $25/hour or less will also qualify for the benefit.
These workers include critical retail workers in grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations; private health provider workers, such as dental assistants, massage therapists and medical administration assistants; food manufacturing and processing workers; truck transportation workers, such as truck drivers and delivery and courier services drivers; and warehouse and storage workers, such as shippers and receivers.
"Eligible public sector employees do not need to apply to receive the benefit. Employers will automatically receive the payment through the Government of Alberta to distribute to their eligible employees," according to the Government of Alberta.
Private sector employers can apply on behalf of eligible employees as of Feb. 17. Employers have only until March 19 to apply.
“Since the start of this pandemic, we have been deemed an essential service and our store, pharmacy and distribution centre teammates have stepped up to support Albertans and all Canadians. We know that our teammates will be thankful for this recognition and additional support from the Government of Alberta," said Andrew Follwell, vice-president, HR, Labour Relations and IHM, Sobeys Inc.
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