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Alberta

Business, not as usual

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Business, not as usual.  Employer support of reservists in time of pandemic.

Submitted by: Canadian Forces Liaison Council/Alberta Chapter

In this challenging time of pandemic, it’s probably safe to say that business will not carry on as usual. Employers have much to be concerned about – employees’ health and welfare, revenue, and simply put – survival.

In many cases employers have reservist-employees who balance double duty with both the Reserve Force and their workplace. Reservists are prepared willing and able to answer the call to support pandemic response or other emergencies, either nationally or locally.

Preparations for pandemic support across Canada are underway, and this includes many reservists, army, navy, air force alike, who have been asked to mobilize. It is with thanks to many employers who support their reservist-employee as they volunteer for Operation LASER 20-01 – the Canadian Armed Forces’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic within Canada.

The Government of Canada has authorized reservists, who volunteer, to be placed on full-time Class C service to support the Operation. The Canadian Armed Forces is currently mobilizing 24,000 service members, both regular and reserve, to support provincial and municipal governments and agencies in their efforts to suppress the disease, to support vulnerable populations, and to provide logistical and general support to communities. In Alberta, there will be hundreds of reservists who will choose to deploy and serve to support our communities.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadians has been unprecedented, as is the scale of the Canadian Armed Forces mobilization under the Operation LASER response. Reservists’ dedication to duty in volunteering for Operation LASER is essential to support both provincial and municipal authorities during this crisis. Canada cannot meet its defence needs at home and abroad without the dedicated, motivated and highly skilled people who work tirelessly to defend Canada and promote Canadian values and interests. Op LASER is the immediate need, but reservists have been and will continue to be needed to support other domestic crisis, such as floods and fires, which are occurring on a more frequent basis.

In Alberta, Employment Standards Code, outlines a reservist-employee who has completed at least 26 consecutive weeks of employment with an employer is entitled to reservist leave without pay to take part in deployment to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada. It also outlines that all leave provided to Reservists is leave without pay – as the Canadian Armed Forces will provide the Reservist with income for the duration of their contract. It’s good business sense to keep good employees and the employment code notes that employers cannot terminate, or lay off, an employee who has started reservist leave.  Although these are the legislated minimums, organizations are encouraged to develop and implement military leave policies that support a reservist-employee even further.

There is great pride for reservists as they deploy domestically and equally for the employers who support them. Undoubtedly, business will not be as usual and if you have a reservist-employee there is support available for your organization. Employer support during this time of crisis is greatly appreciated by the Canadian Armed Forces and the Government of Canada. Indeed, when you employ a reservist, you in turn, are serving your country.

How can I find out more information for my business?
Federal Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program (CERP) – Employers can apply and eligible applicants will receive a lump sum payment, in the form of a grant, following the deployment period of the reservist employee.

  • Military Leave Policy information – if your organization does not already have a formal military leave policy, this may be a good opportunity to implement one that provides additional detail beyond what is in the job protection legislation.
  • Canadian Forces Liaison Council – Employers Supporting Reservists

Info for military leave policies and federal support (CERP): https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/benefits-military/supporting-reservists-employers.html

  • With Glowing Hearts – Reservist Support Program – a turnkey employer support program for reservists. The program provides information and tools for employers of reservists and is an asset for a business to attract and retain experienced and valued reservist/employees.

Info and/or to Register: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WithGlowingHearts

originally published April 9, 2020.

Read more on Todayville Edmonton.

President Todayville Inc., Honorary Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Director Canadian Forces Liaison Council (Alberta) musician, photographer, former VP/GM CTV Edmonton.

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Alberta

Positive COVID-19 tests at world men's curling championship deemed “false positives”

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CALGARY — The four positive COVID-19 tests that interrupted the men’s world curling championship are considered “false positives” from potentially contaminated samples, according to the World Curling Federation.

The men’s championship concluded late Sunday night with Sweden’s Niklas Edin winning a record fifth world men’s title.

No games were played Saturday because four participants, including one from a playoff team, tested positive for the virus in “exit” tests before leaving Calgary’s curling bubble. 

None had symptoms of the illness.

All have tested negative in multiple re-tests since then, the WCF said Monday in a statement. All tests were conducted via PCR throat swabs.

“According to Alberta Health, PCR testing remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing,” the WCF said. “Very rarely, there are occurrences through sampling or testing processes when samples may become contaminated and a false positive may result.

“Following an investigation over the weekend, it appears that this may have occurred in this case and follow-up testing was undertaken.”

All athletes and personnel considered close contacts of the four underwent testing Saturday with all results negative. 

Every playoff team member was tested before and after each game Sunday with those results also negative, the WCF said. Hotel staff were also tested Sunday and cleared.

“With the original four positive test results now deemed as false positives, the integrity of the Calgary bubble remains intact,” the WCF declared.

“The change also allows international athletes who were considered close contacts, and who would have had to remain in isolation in Calgary for 14 days, will now be able to depart Calgary.”

The fifth of seven events in Calgary’s curling hub, the Humpty’s Champions Cup, gets underway Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Pulling the plug: Edmonton Folk Music Festival cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

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EDMONTON — Despite Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s hope that the COVID-19 vaccine will allow summer events like the Calgary Stampede to go ahead, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival has been cancelled

The festival says in a statement that without full vaccination, people won’t be entirely safe from the spread of COVID-19. 

It says that with virus variants and an uncertain vaccine rollout, the impossibility of social distancing at the outdoor festival could lead to community spread.

Kenney has said that two-thirds of the population should have a vaccine shot by the end of June and things should begin to feel back-to-normal.

He says the Stampede, which is held in early July, along with sporting events and other festivals will be possible.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival says it will continue to offer online content and, if small gatherings are permitted, it hopes to add some community engagement.

“With so many variables at play, the complexity of planning and delivering a festival of our size makes it impossible to move forward in our usual manner,” the statement said Monday.

“As profoundly disappointing as this news is, we believe this is the only safe way forward. The safety of our patrons, volunteers, and artists was of paramount importance in coming to this conclusion.”

The annual four-day festival in the city’s Gallagher Park usually attracts thousands of music fans and boasts approximately 2,700 volunteers.

Alberta introduced new health rules last week, closing restaurants to in-person dining and further reducing customer capacity at retail stores in response to rising COVID-19 numbers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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