Jason Copping: MLA Update – July 30, 2021

Posted Under: Jason Copping

I hope that you are enjoying summer with friends and family.  As we turn to the August long weekend I want to remind you to be safe whether staying here in Calgary or heading out to enjoy all Alberta has to offer.

Alberta hit another milestone earlier this month when 75 per cent of eligible Albertans have received at least one vaccine.  Thank you to everyone who has been vaccinated.  The more Albertans who get vaccinated the more we can continue to keep ourselves healthy and our health care system from becoming stressed. 

As the protection effects of vaccinations increase, we are moving into the next phase of managing COVID-19. In the coming weeks, Alberta’s health system will take steps to make sure it is ready to support all patients, including those with COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses. Our health system will keep protecting Albertans who are exposed to COVID-19 while also ensuring that we are able to handle all other viruses and illnesses.As a part of this, Alberta will bring COVID-19 quarantine, isolation, and other measures in line with those used for other respiratory viruses. A two-phase transition will be used to safely monitor the impact of the initial changes, adapt as needed over the next few weeks, and give more time to vaccinate Albertans.

As the Minister of Labour and Immigration I am pleased to see good uptake on both the Critical Worker Benefit program and Alberta Jobs Now.  The Critical Worker Benefit recognizes those workers who diligently worked throughout COVID.  Now that we are focused on recovery and our businesses are reopening we are helping employers hire workers through the Alberta Jobs Now program. 

More information on these two programs can be found below.  You will also read more about the federal and provincial child care agreement and what is going on in our communities of Calgary-Varsity.

As always, if you have questions or would like to share your feedback please reach out to my office at http://calgary.varsity@assembly.ab.ca


Government updates

Critical Worker Benefit deadline extended
As the Minister of Labour and Immigration responsible for the Critical Worker Benefit program I have extended the deadline for private sector employers to submit their applications.  The new deadline is August 31, 2021.  

As Alberta’s economy recovers, small and medium-sized businesses are focused on reopening and rehiring staff. Many of these businesses also provided services to Albertans in the midst of the pandemic and have employees who are eligible for the Critical Worker Benefit.

Additional private sector workers eligible for the benefit since June 22 include truck drivers, farm workers, security guards, cleaners, funeral workers, employees at quick service and dine in restaurants, and taxi and limousine drivers.

Private sector employers can apply on behalf of employees at alberta.ca/critical-worker-benefit.aspx. Applications will be assessed in the order they are received. 

Thousands of Albertans are getting back to work
 I am pleased to report as the Labour Minister that the Alberta Jobs Now program has approved approximately 2,700 applications from employers. This will help nearly 14,000 Albertans get back to work in the coming months. This is a clear signal that Alberta’s economy is ready to reopen, recover and grow.

The program is seeing the highest demand for hiring in sectors such as science and technology, construction, and the service industry.

The first application intake period is now closed. The second intake will open on Sept. 16 and close on Dec. 31.

The Government of Alberta will continue to work with Alberta businesses and non-profits to ensure it continues supporting Alberta’s economic recovery.

For more information on the Alberta Jobs Now program, please visit alberta.ca/jobsnow.

Renewed child care agreement between Canada and Alberta
 The Government of Canada has committed $290 million in funding over four years to Alberta to improve access to high quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services.

The federal and provincial governments agree that affordable child care is essential for families and the province’s economic recovery. That’s why, earlier this year, nearly $400 million was invested by the provincial government in child care. Building on this, funding from the renewed agreement will be used to enhance subsidies and give even more working parents a hand up.The agreement builds on the commitments made in the Multilateral Early Learning and Child Care Framework and ensures that funding continues to be available to support child care programs and services for Alberta families.

More information on this agreement can be found here

Child care subsidies available to more families
Supported by investments from the federal government, Alberta is directing $45 million to further support families earning up to $90,000 with their child care costs. This means approximately 12,000 more children will receive support, including children enrolled in preschool programs.   

Parent choice is important, and that’s why Alberta’s government is directing $4.25 million of this funding to support families with children attending licensed preschools. Eligible families will receive $125 per month to assist with fees for child care. Previously, subsidy funding was only available for licensed daycare, family day home and out-of-school care programs.

The province is also directing over $4 million to provide wage top-ups for early childhood educators in preschool to support the Alberta government’s commitment to high-quality child care for all Albertans.

Starting September 1, families earning a household income of up to $90,000 will be eligible to receive child care subsidy.  Parents eligible for subsidy under the new changes can check if they are eligible and apply for subsidy online starting August 16th.  

In addition, preschool wage top-ups will support up to 1,300 certified early childhood educators working in licensed preschools.  

You can find further information about child care changes here.

In the community

University District’s Aria partnership with Ronald McDonald House
Aria, located in University District, has entered into a pilot partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities to have two off site suites in the nearby Aria building to serve additional families in 2021.  

This is a heartfelt partnership that will keep families close to their children who are receiving medical care at Alberta Children’s Hospital.  

You can read more about this partnership here.

Triwood Community Association Farmers Market
 It has been great to see so many of you at the Triwood Farmers Market on Tuesdays. Being able to chat with constituents and hear your thoughts is always a pleasure. Please stop by my booth on Tuesdays in the month of August and enter to win four general admission tickets to the Calgary Zoo.  

University Heights Broxburn Vegetables Farm Stand
 Yesterday I set up a booth at the University Heights farm stand.  I had several great conversations on where our province is going and the renewed optimism on jobs and our economy.  University Heights has partnered with Broxburn Farm and is set up every Thursday from 10-1 located in the South parking lot of the Foothills Mennonite Church at the corner of Urbana Rd and Ursenbach Rd. If you are looking for fresh local fruits and vegetables I encourage you to check it out. 

Grabbed lunch from Shahba Shawarma located outside
Cancer Centre construction site

Yesterday I had the luck of meeting Adel who owns Shahba Shawarma.  Adel is from Syria and started his food truck to provide for his family and serve delicious food.  Thank you Adel for lunch and excellent conversation.  You too can stop by and check out the local food trucks set up outside the Foothills Hospital and Cancer Centre construction site. 

I want your feedback.  Please take a moment to answer the following question.

Do you feel the Alberta Jobs Now program is the right program to help get Albertans back to work?

a/ Yes
b/ No
c/ Not sure

To answer please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ZYWPRK2

Thank you to those who took time to answer the previous survey question:

Should Alberta end the practice of changing our clocks twice a year?

a/ Yes  100%
b/ No   0%
c/ Not sure  0%

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