Briefing Note: Alberta Critical Worker Benefit

On Wednesday, February 10, the Government of Alberta announced the Alberta Critical Worker Benefit. It’s a $465 million joint federal/provincial program designed to support 380,000 essential workers through the pandemic. Private-sector employers must apply on behalf of their employees and are then responsible for distributing the benefit to employees. Eligible public sector health workers, such as Alberta Health Services employees, will receive the benefit through their employer.

The breakdown of benefit recipient is:

  • Up to $195 million in the health-care sector supporting more than 161,000 workers.
  • Up to $55 million toward the social services sector supporting more than 45,000 workers.
  • Up to $45 million toward the education sector supporting more than 36,000 workers.
  • Up to $170 million toward the private sector supporting more than 140,000 workers.

To be eligible for the benefit, employees must have worked a minimum of 300 hours during the period of Oct. 12, 2020 to Jan. 31, 2021.

Eligible private sector workers making $25 per hour or less will 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.

A larger list of those eligible is available at the bottom of this note, though more details on eligibility will be announced on February 17 – the date that applications open.

Private sector employers can apply on behalf of eligible employees at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit as of Feb. 17. Employers have until March 19 to apply.


Employers will be responsible for distributing the $1,200 Critical Worker Benefit to their eligible employees.

Eligible Employees

PUBLIC SECTOR

Health-care workers

To be eligible for the benefit, health-care workers must:

  • have worked a minimum of 300 hours during the period of October 12, 2020 to January 31, 2021 for the same employer
  • work in continuing care, acute care, addictions and mental health, homecare or hospice care
  • be located and working in Alberta

Private sector health-care employers must apply for the Critical Worker Benefit on behalf of their employees.

Eligible public sector health workers, such as Alberta Health Services employees, will receive the benefit through their employer.

Examples of health-care occupations that are eligible to receive the benefit include:

  • orderlies and patient service associates
  • respiratory therapists and technologists
  • nurses (RNs, RPNs, LPNs)
  • food services
  • housekeeping and maintenance
  • unit clerks

Social services workers

To be eligible for the benefit, social services workers must:

  • have worked a minimum of 300 hours during the period of October 12, 2020 to January 31, 2021
  • be operating in one of the following workplaces: §
  • children service providers
  • community service providers
  • be located and working in Alberta

The following social services occupations are eligible to receive the benefit if they meet the above criteria:

  • disability service workers and instructors of persons with disabilities
  • social and community service workers
  • home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations
  • personal care aides
  • shelter and crisis intervention workers
  • child development workers and assistants
  • early childhood educators (minimum 243 hours)
  • family and youth counsellors
  • home support workers
  • bus drivers and other transport workers supporting clients
  • food services, including cooks, attendants, and kitchen helpers
  • housekeeping, cleaners, janitors and caretakers

 Education workers

To be eligible for the benefit, education workers must:

  • have worked a minimum 300 paid hours for a provincial school authority or a contractor with a provincial school authority, between October 12, 2020 and January 31, 2021
  • Hours are for paid work and may include some virtual or online work where the work was performed with students.
  • The minimum number of paid hours (300) will be prorated for periods of time when schools were required to be closed.
  • As each school district had different dates when schools were closed, minimum hour prorations will be calculated on a case-by-case basis for individual school authorities.

Eligible occupations

The following education occupations are eligible to receive the benefit if they meet the above criteria:

  • educational or teacher assistants
  • bus drivers
  • custodians and janitors
  • school secretarial staff-related positions
PRIVATE SECTOR

 Retail – grocery, pharmacy, gas, health, and personal care

  • store shelf stockers, clerks and order fillers
  • cashiers
  • retail sales supervisors
  • pharmacy assistants
  • material handlers
  • shipper and receivers
  • purchasing and inventory control workers
  • storekeepers and parts persons
  • retail butchers and meat cutters
  • security staff
  • other customer and information services representatives
  • other sales-related occupations
  • cleaners, janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
  • food counter attendants and kitchen helpers
  • bakers
  • service station attendants

Food manufacturing

  • process control and machine operators, food, beverage and associated products processing
  • industrial butchers and meat cutters, poultry preparers and related workers
  • labours in food, beverage and associated products processing
  • material handlers
  • shipper and receivers
  • cleaners, janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
  • other service support occupations
  • testers and graders, food, beverage and associates

Truck transportation

  • transport truck drivers
  • supervisors, motor transport and other ground transit
  • cleaners, janitors, caretakers and building super intendents
  • security staff
  • receptionists
  • material handlers
  • delivery and courier services drivers
  • other trades helpers and labourers

Warehousing and storage

  • shippers and receivers
  • cleaners, janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
  • storekeepers and parts persons
  • security staff
  • purchasing and inventory control workers
  • other trades helpers and labourers
  • transportation route and crew schedulers

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