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Business Spotlight – Calgary Entrepreneurs Bring The Gig Economy To Alberta

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7 minute read

Gig work has been a popular subject as of late, interesting that younger generations of Albertans are up against a lot, including a historical economic downturn, a major decrease in unionized and salary jobs, competing with experienced furloughed workers and are simply left scratching their head after putting in thousands of hours and dollars to get a formal education. Combine that with an unemployment rate of 15.5% reported as of May 2020, up from 6.7% the same time last year, we are left with a pretty grim outlook for younger generations of Albertans. 

 

What Is Gig Work?

Gig work can be referred to as self employed or simply contract, consulting or freelance work, where you as the service provider offer your skills at a preferred rate. This type of work is not new, but not only does it already consist of thousands of Canadian workers, Statistics Canada’s most recent data reported 1.7 million gig workers in Canada in 2016. Not the security we were taught to seek in our youth, but can offer a new level of freedom for those who wish to choose their work schedule, offer their skillset and grow their own personal brand.

Source: The Accelerator – From Left: CEO, Karshil Desai, CCO, Sara Mir, CSO, Shawn Moghaddami and CMO, Ankit Patel.

Incredible Minds Can Do Incredible Things 

Meet the Skilli team, a group of four like minded entrepreneurs collaborating to bring the gig economy to Alberta. Having worked in Fort McMurray in Alberta, they experienced the extent of what ‘hard work’ means for our citizens while spending time working in the Alberta Oil and Gas industry. Respect to the many hard working individuals who have overcome fires and floods in that area over the last number of years, their community resilience is inspirational. CEO Karshil Desai speaks about witnessing an opportunity while living there that would prove to be the foundation for Skilli:

“…working in software and automation in the oil and gas sector in Fort MacMurray, I was around a lot of people who made good money offering their unique skills and services…due to the economic downturn, it was unfortunate to see so many people getting laid off, but still needed to pay their bills…I noticed a huge gap in how skilled services were offered and how they were hired by the consumer..”

 

Skilli is a mobile platform that provides freelancers, contractors and service providers a place to market themselves as their own brand. There can be many challenges with traditional methods of gig work, such as finding who can provide the service you need, getting their contact details, scheduling the service, quality control of the work and invoicing for payment after the fact. I am sure there has been millions of dollars spent from word of mouth referrals for what was actually a poor quality deliverable on too many occasions. Validation is a crucial part of the Skilli process for those offering their service, as part of that process, they put the service provider first, thus providing the highest level of customer satisfaction to the end user. CSO for Skilli, Shawn Moghaddami mentions:

“…we see the value of the gig economy in Alberta, with such a large talented workforce here…for us, it is ultimately about putting the service provider first so the customer is the one that benefits…we provide the tools they need, they have the platform behind them and the support to build their own brand.” 

 

The Skilli App You Need To Watch Out For

Combining passion to help a wider community, their experience around contract work and their education on the gig economy, the team have developed their app where the platform can be utilized from anywhere. As mentioned, this type of self employment can offer a higher level of freedom than the traditional 40 hour nine-to-five. Work for yourself and lean on their knowledge base for resources on how to establish your profile, process payments, professional validation and build your confidence as a freelancer or contractor. Unfortunately the app is not available yet in Alberta, however they are proactively validating service providers for the launch of their newest version in early July. There is hope for those who can offer services and are having difficulty finding employment. Something we can all look forward to in these trying times.

 

 

Invest In Yourself

Want to be a part of what will be established as the ‘new economy’? Now is the time to re-evaluate the value you possess. Take a course, improve your skills, invest in supplies you need to offer a service as an individual or begin to construct a portfolio of previous work. Contract work has been around for a very long time, the stigma of it not being a successful career choice for your whole life is dying. Take control of your future by working for yourself. The gig economy is here and will continue to become a major part of what we call the ‘new normal’, to that point everyone here at Todayville wishes the Skilli team the best of success with the launch of their new app and look forward to their launch in early July. 

Considering becoming a service provider or seeking information? 

If you would like to learn more about Skilli or their new app. Visit their website here or social media links below.

 

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For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary

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Alberta

$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.

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Business

City Hall reopening Monday June 21 – details

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City Hall

City Hall reopening for payments and in-person customer service

Red Deer City Hall will reopen for utility and tax payments on Monday, June 21, and licensing and permit customer service and payments on July 12. The re-introduction of in-person customer service and payments is in alignment with the provincial easing of restrictions that is currently taking place. City Hall will be open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. with the exception of holidays.

“We are excited to be reopening City Hall for in-person payments and customer service. This long awaited reopening will enable us to reconnect with our customers in person and still support doing business with us online, where possible,” said Acting City Manager Tara Lodewyk.

Starting Monday, June 21, 2021, key customer service employees will return to City Hall with a phased reopening taking place in the coming weeks and months. With renovations that took place while the building was closed, all customer and public interactions are now provided on the main floor of City Hall.

Some additional changes include new windows and doors, improved customer service kiosks, new security controls and numerous health and safety measures that serve to protect employees and customers accessing City Hall. All renovations were focused on making necessary changes that facilitate improved customer interactions while considering the safety, health and wellness of all employees and citizens.

“As we reopen City Hall for in-person customer service, the health and safety of our citizens and employees is still top of mind. Masks are required inside the building and there will be capacity limits for the number of customers permitted inside at one time,” said Lodewyk. “We kindly ask that anybody coming to City Hall, or accessing any of our recreation or public facilities, uphold all public health restrictions as we work to keep everyone safe throughout the phased reopening.”

A full reopening and return to work for all City employees is expected to take place between June 21 and September 7, 2021. In many cases, City employees have continued to report to their workplace, in-person, based on the requirements of their position; however, with the lifting of the provincial work from home order, The City will welcome its remaining employees back into the workspace with the intention to have everybody back between now and September. This includes City Hall, the Professional Building, Civic Yards and all City owned and operated recreation and culture places and spaces.

“Covid-19 has limited us in many ways. It has taught The City to innovate, work differently and find efficiencies. As we transition back to in-person service, we ask our customers to be patient with us as we navigate the new challenges of our ever changed in-person business offerings. Our business looks different than it did when we closed City Hall more than 15 months ago, and while we are excited to be once again serving you in person, we do expect some bumps along the way,” said Lodewyk.

With changing and modified provincial restrictions continuing to be announced, The City of Red Deer will adapt and update its programs, services and offerings on an ongoing basis. This will include everything from the number of people permitted within a facility at one time, to masking requirements.

“We will continue to take our direction from the provincial government as they ease restrictions and introduce their phased relaunch strategy,” said Lodewyk. “We share the community excitement around the easing of restrictions and continue to work together with our community to uphold public health orders and preventing the spread of Covid-19.”

Starting June 21, the following payments can be made in person at City Hall:

  • Utility bill payment
  • Property tax payment
  • Parking ticket payment
  • Re-loading parking cards
  • Accounts Receivable invoice payment
  • Licence payment
  • Special event permit payment
  • Other miscellaneous fee payments

Starting July 12, the following payments and customer service will be available in-person at City Hall:

  • Parking inquiries
  • Licence and permit applications
  • Inspections

For updates on The City’s municipal response to Covid-19, visit www.reddeer.ca/covid-19.

For more information, please contact:

Corporate Communications
The City of Red Deer

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