MIL-OSI Canada: More support for businesses keeping Albertans safe


Source: Government of Canada regional news

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In response to the latest public health actions, government is providing funding to help offset costs of implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) and support training for workers.

“Alberta businesses have done their part time and time again. We’ve been committed to listening to Alberta businesses throughout the pandemic, and we’re taking action to respond to their needs. These new supports will help with the costs businesses incur to implement the proof of vaccination measures.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

REP Implementation Grant

Alberta’s government will soon offer a one-time payment of $2,000 to Alberta small- and medium-sized businesses that are eligible for and choose to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program, requiring proof of vaccination, a negative test result or medical exemption.

Alberta businesses eligible for the REP Implementation Grant can use the funding as they see fit.

Alberta is the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer businesses a payment to offset costs associated with a proof of vaccination program.

It is anticipated that application intake for the payment will be open in the next four to six weeks. More details on the program, including full eligibility criteria, and information on where and how to apply, will be shared once finalized.

REP Training Grant

An additional $1 million will also be available for training to support the safety of workers when implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Eligible industry associations across Alberta can use the REP Training Grant to develop or procure training to help workers assess and manage challenging situations that may arise during their daily work. Workers and employers will be able to access this training through select industry associations.

“Alberta workers deserve to be treated with respect as they do their jobs on the frontlines to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program. By providing this funding, workers will have the tools they need to work safely and the skills and confidence to effectively manage challenging situations and professionally communicate COVID-19 safety requirements.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Labour and Immigration

Protecting employers and their staff

Government will introduce legislation to protect businesses that require vaccinations for employees or implement the Restriction Exemption Program from legal challenges.

The government will also be doubling fines for contravening public health orders, including the mistreatment of workers doing the difficult work ensuring public health orders are being followed, from $2,000 to $4,000.

“Alberta small businesses are under an immense amount of stress and many face a long uphill battle to economic recovery. Today’s announcement will help small businesses adjust to the new restrictions and ease their concerns about legal and liability ramifications of implementing proof of vaccination in the workplace. CFIB thanks the Alberta government for listening to the voices of small businesses and acting on many of our recommendations as it relates to mandating proof of vaccination.”

Annie Dormuth, director, Provincial Affairs for Alberta, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“Businesses need support to survive in our ever-changing health environment. Today’s announcement acknowledges this, providing assistance for businesses participating in the REP program. These training grants will help keep business owners, employees, and patrons safe and our economy moving.”

Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce

“Throughout the pandemic, businesses have faced significant uncertainty. What they need now is clarity on critical issues like vaccination policies for employees, and direct support to implement vaccination certification and keep front-line workers safe. Today’s announcement brings clarity on the path forward, and prioritizes vaccinations and public health so that we can safely reopen our economy and protect our community.”

Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce

Quick facts

  • Small and medium enterprises are an important part of Alberta’s economy, accounting for more than 99 per cent of all businesses and nearly 55 per cent of all employment.
  • Alberta’s government provided support to more than 120,000 applicants through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.
  • Alberta’s government has also provided billions of dollars in supports to job creators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
    • Deferring corporate income tax collection for six months, providing $1.5 billion in relief.
    • Deferring education property taxes and freezing the rate at 2019 levels.
    • Deferring 2020 WCB premiums and paying 50 per cent of them for small and medium businesses, saving them $316 million.
    • Providing a 90-day deferral for utility payments last spring.
    • Banning commercial evictions, rent increases and late fees for commercial tenants.
    • Allowing accommodation providers to keep tourism levy amounts collected between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

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