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$1,200 Covid payment for 76,500 more Albertans including truck drivers, janitors, taxi drivers, security guards, farm workers, etc

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More Albertans to receive $1,200 Critical Worker Benefit

76,500 more workers to receive a one-time payment to recognize the risks they have taken to support Albertans and the economy.

The Critical Worker Benefit is a joint federal-provincial program with $465 million available to recognize the hard work of critical workers during the pandemic.

During the first round of the Critical Worker Benefit Alberta’s government provided $1,200 payments to over 277,800 workers in the healthcare, social services, education and private sectors who deliver critical services to Albertans or support food and medical supply chains.

Workers in new job categories will be eligible for the same $1,200 payment. This includes workers in social services and the private sector who provided critical services to Albertans, were essential to the supply and movement of goods, and faced greater potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 through their work environments.

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. Support staff working in licensed child care must have worked a minimum of 243 hours during this period.

Eligible social services sector employers do not need to apply. Employers of support staff working in licensed child care programs, disability support workers providing independent living supports, respite, community access, and employment supports, and front-line workers in seniors-serving organizations and non-profit affordable housing providers will be contacted by the Government of Alberta to confirm details.

Eligible private sector workers making $25 per hour or less will also qualify for the benefit. These workers include: truck drivers, farmworkers, security guards, cleaners, funeral workers, employees at quick service and dine in restaurants and taxi drivers who can demonstrate they worked at least 300 hours during the eligibility period. The complete list of eligible workers for this phase of the program are available in the Application Guidelines for the private sector at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit.

Private sector employers can apply on behalf of employees at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit as of June 22. Employers have until July 23 to apply.

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

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses, and protect Alberta’s health care system.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s government contributed $118 million to the $465 million program.
  • A total of about $367 million has been spent on about 289,800 workers.
  • $355 million has been spent on about 277,800 workers in the phase one of the Critical Worker Benefit. This includes social services workers, health care workers, education workers and critical private sector workers, such as grocery cashiers, pharmacy assistants, and gas station attendants.
  • Announced in April 2020, Alberta also used $12 million of the one-time federal funding along with a provincial investment totalling $30 million to date to provide a $2 an hour wage top-up for about 12,000 health care aides working in long-term care and designated supportive living facilities.
  • About $99 million is available for about 76,500 workers in the social services and private sectors.
  • The break down of benefit recipient is:
    • Up to $18.5 million in the social services sector supporting 14,300 workers
    • Up to $80.3 million in the private sector supporting 62,200 workers

 

Workers in the following private sector occupations are eligible to receive the Critical Worker Benefit:

  • truck transportation, primarily engaged in the transportation of goods, in the following occupations:
    • ­transport truck drivers
    • ­light duty cleaners
    • ­janitors, caretakers and building superintendents
    • ­security guards and related security services
    • ­material handlers
    • ­dlivery and courier services drivers
    • ­other trades helpers and labourers
  • crop production, animal production or aquaculture directly involved in the production of food for human consumption
  • funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoria
    • not eligible: municipally-run funeral homes, cemeteries and crematoria
  • security guards
    • not eligible: private investigators, armoured car guard, house detective, personal bodyguards and security
  • light duty cleaners, janitors and specialized cleaners working in commercial, institution and industrial locations
    • not eligible: private residence cleaners
  • taxi drivers
    • not eligible: chauffers and drivers of ride-share companies such as Uber and Lyft
  • workers in full-service restaurants and limited services eating places – workers must be primarily involved in the preparation, cooking or service delivery in an eligible establishment
    • not eligible: drinking places that do not serve food onsite

Read the application guidelines for the private sector for more information.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Two deputy chief medical officers resign from their positions with Alberta Health

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Edmonton – Alberta’s two deputy chief medical officers of health are leaving their roles — less than a month after Dr. Deena Hinshaw was removed as the province’s top doctor.

Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed during question period Wednesday that both of the doctors have submitted letters of resignation.

“They are still continuing to work at this point in time,” he said in the legislature. “We are in the process of actually looking to fill those roles.”

A statement from Alberta Health said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu, who are listed as public health physicians on the department’s website, have given notice.

When reached by her department email, Salvaterra responded: “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment.”

She later added that she respects and admires both Dr. Hinshaw and Dr. Hu.

“They are brilliant, hard-working, and compassionate public health physicians and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside them for these past 14 months.”

Salvaterra, who has extensive public health experience including as the medical officer of health for Peterborough, Ont., joined the office in October 2021.

Her career in public health includes work in “the COVID-19 response, mental health, the opioid response, women’s health, poverty reduction, health equity, community food security and building stronger relationships with First Nations.”

Hu’s out-of-office message said her “last day at work with Alberta Health was Nov. 18, 2022,” and noted she wouldn’t have access to the department email after that date.

She got extensive training in China and at the University of Calgary before joining the health department in January 2020.

Their resignations came within a month of Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, being removed from her position.

Hinshaw was replaced by Dr. Mark Joffe, a senior executive member of Alberta Health Services, on an interim basis.

“Dr. Joffe will be supported by medical officers of health within AHS, by other staff in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and by the Public Health Division,” said the statement from Alberta Health late Wednesday.

“We expect these changes to have no impact on the department’s and Dr. Joffe’s ability to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act.”

Hinshaw’s dismissal didn’t come as a surprise.

Premier Danielle Smith announced on her first day in office in October that she would be replaced.

Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.

Smith has not placed the blame on front-line doctors and nurses but broadly on AHS senior management. Joffe, while serving as chief medical officer of health, retains his role in AHS senior management as a vice-president responsible for areas in cancer and clinical care.

Hinshaw, an Alberta-trained public health specialist, became a celebrity of sorts in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, as she delivered regular, sometimes daily, updates to Albertans on the virus, its spread and methods to contain it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.

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