Important Update Regarding Alberta Critical Worker Benefit

MARCH 5, 2021
Critical Worker Benefit Web Portal Applicant Privacy Issues

Minister of Labour and Immigration Jason Copping issued the following statement on a problem with the Critical Worker Benefit web portal:

“Earlier this week, Alberta’s government became aware of a technical error within the Critical Worker Benefit portal that involved employee information.

“After investigating the matter, it was determined that the personal information of 224 employees could be viewed by other employers when using the application portal.

“As soon as the Government of Alberta was made aware of the vulnerability, immediate action was taken to temporarily shut down the portal, and the issue was quickly resolved…

FEBUARY 22, 2021
ACDS – MLA template and key messages on CWB. Message from Andrea Hesse, CEO Feb 22, 2021
Critical Worker Benefit Advocacy: MLA advocacy; follow us on social media. Vaccine Availability and Rollout Update: We have requested further clarification. Critical Worker Benefit: MLA Advocacy. Yesterday, we shared an update regarding the Critical Worker Benefit and the exclusion of many disability workers from being eligible for the benefit. We know that many of you want to amplify our advocacy efforts with your individual advocacy, including reaching out to your MLAs. This is really encouraging, and we know can be very effective. When connecting with MLAs, it is important that we avoid partisan engagement. This is a public policy issue, directly impacting hardworking disability workers and the individuals they serve. We know that advocacy is most effective when focused on policy, rather than partisanship. To assist you to advocate on this issue, we have prepared some tools to support you as you call or write to your MLAs. This package includes some key messages and a letter template which you may personalize and use to reach out to your MLA. You can find your MLA, and their contact details using this online tool. (Locate Your MLA Here)

FEBRUARY 18, 2021

CSS Ken Dropko, MEd Memo Regarding Applications for Alberta Critical Worker Benefit

Good afternoon CSS partners,

ACWB Guidelines for Social Services Sector-FCS-Feb16

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on frontline service providers delivering supports to the most vulnerable Albertans. In appreciation for the continued efforts of frontline workers, the Government of Alberta recently announced the Alberta Critical Worker Benefit Program.  Additional information is available at: https://www.alberta.ca/critical-worker-benefit.aspx

Along with a number of other essential workers, this program will provide eligible essential workers working in Preventive Community Services (PCS) funded sexual assault centres, family violence prevention agencies and Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) with a one-time payment of $1,200 in recognition of their hard work providing Albertans with the care and critical services they need.

These essential workers have taken on additional challenges to meet the increased health and personal care needs of the clients they serve and this additional pay is an acknowledgment of the extraordinary efforts they continue to make as they care for others.

Funding will be distributed to service providers in a lump-sum payment using a separate grant agreement issued to each eligible service provider. I have attached information on the eligibility criteria, as well as the Schedule C, which will be used to submit your request for the benefit. Please ensure to read all background information to ensure your understanding of the eligibility criteria. 

Schedule C – Data and Invoice Template – FCS should be forwarded to [email protected] by March 5, 2021. Subject line: [Agency Name] Essential Worker Benefit Application

Once received, your application will be reviewed by department staff and if it meets the eligibility criteria, a grant agreement will be provided to facilitate the transfer of employee benefits to you. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the benefit is provided to each identified eligible employee.

The contacts below can help in answering questions regarding the application process:

Sexual Assault Centres – Janet Pavlic; [email protected]
Family Violence Prevention – Donna Barker; [email protected]
FCSS – Nicole Nowakowski; [email protected]

Ken Dropko, MEd Executive Director, Civil Society and Community Initiatives Branch Preventive Community Services Division Ministry of Community and Social Services

[email protected]

Additional Related

Private-sector employers can apply on behalf of eligible employees at alberta.ca/criticalworkerbenefit as of Feb. 17. 2021. The last date of application is March 19th. Employers will be responsible for distributing the $1,200 Critical Worker Benefit to their eligible employees.

Critical Worker Benefit program staff:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 310-4455

Email: [email protected]

The Critical Worker Benefit will provide a one-time payment of $1,200 to eligible Albertans in recognition of their hard work to provide Albertans with the care and critical services they need. The benefit will be distributed to up to 380,000 workers in the health-care, social services, education and private sectors. The Government of Alberta is working directly with health-care, social service, and education sector employers to distribute the benefit to eligible workers. Private sector employers and employers with eligible workers in First Nations communities must apply on behalf of their eligible employees by March 19, 2021, using the private sector application portal in the how to apply section below.

The Critical Worker Benefit is available to workers in the public health-care, social services, education sectors and those in the private sector who deliver critical basic services to Albertans, or support food and medical supply chains.

Social services workers’ eligibility

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

Eligible occupations

Some social services occupations are eligible to receive the benefit

Community and social services

Preventive community services:

  • aboriginal outreach worker
  • addictions worker
  • case aide: social services
  • child and youth worker
  • child-care worker (except day care)
  • community and social services worker
  • community counsellor: social services
  • community liaison worker
  • community worker
  • crisis intervention worker
  • drop-in centre worker
  • family service worker
  • hostel outreach worker
  • home support workers or aides
  • mental health support worker
  • street outreach worker
  • substance abuse worker
  • women’s shelter workers
  • youth services worker
  • intensive case managers
  • rapid housing workers
  • housing locators
  • shelter workers
  • client support workers
  • outreach counsellors
  • cooks
  • janitorial
  • security
  • custodial

Disability services:

  • community disability services worker for our 24/7 staffed residences
  • child care worker for our out-of-home placement environments

Children’s services:

  • agency front-line staff who work in child intervention congregate care and child and youth shelters, providing direct client care earning less than $25 per hour
  • support staff who work in congregate care and child and youth shelters, providing direct client care, where services were not provided remotely, and earn less than $25 per hour, including:
    • transport workers supporting clients
    • food services, including cooks, attendants, and kitchen helpers
    • housekeeping, cleaners, janitors and caretakers
    • security staff
  • early childhood educators (all levels) who have worked a minimum of 243 hours (pro-rated to account for holiday closures) at the following types of licensed child care programs:
    • daycare programs
    • out-of-school care programs
    • group family child care programs
    • contracted family day home agencies
    • preschools
    • innovative child cares

The application process for employers in the health sector will be available in 2 phases:

  1. Employers applying from private health clinics and on behalf of healthcare workers in First Nation communities apply February 17 to March 19, 2021 using the application portal.
  2. Other health sector employers apply between February 22 to March 31, 2021 through a separate application portal that includes both the critical worker benefit application and operator COVID-19 supports.

Employer eligibility

Applications from eligible health sector employers will be accepted online starting on Monday, February 22, 2021. Employers have until Wednesday, March 31, 2021 to apply.

A separate application portal will be available here on February 22.

Employers are eligible to apply on behalf of their employees if they are:

  • located and operating in Alberta
  • operating and employing staff in one of the following health-care settings:
    • acute care
      • acute hospitals
      • addiction and mental health hospitals
      • emergency medical services
    • addiction and mental health
      • addiction residential treatment centres
      • residential mental health treatment facilities
      • addiction residential treatment centres
      • residential mental health treatment facilities
      • supervised consumption services or overdose prevention site
      • opioid agonist therapy clinics
    • assessment centres
      • Alberta Health Services assessment centres
    • continuing care
      • long-term care (LTC)
      • designated supportive living (DSL)
      • supportive living (SL)
    • home care
      • operators providing home care services equivalent to the publically funded home care system
    • hospice
      • operators providing residential hospice services

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

  • in one of the above listed eligible health care settings
  • in an eligible occupation – a full list will be posted on February 22
  • at least 300 hours for an eligible employer between October 12, 2021 and January 31, 2021
    • hours worked before October 12, 2020 or after January 31, 2021 cannot be counted towards the 300 hours
    • the 300 hours must be accumulated from a single employer
    • the 300 hours may include overtime, paid sick leave and paid vacation during the eligibility period
    • overtime and hours worked during statutory holidays will be treated as straight-time
    • the 300 hours must be worked in one of the eligible health care settings and roles
    • hours worked virtually or remotely, or in a building that does not serve patients, clients, or residents, that is, a head office, are not eligible for inclusion

Exemptions are made for Comfort Care Aides with Manpower who will receive payment if they have been hired, trained and worked before or on March 31, 2021.

Health-care workers in First Nations communities

Eligible health-care employees working in First Nations communities can receive the benefit. Employers must apply for the benefit on behalf of their workers by Friday, March 19, 2021.

READ COMPLETE DETAILS AND FULL INFORMATION AT ALBERTA.CA  Critical Worker Benefit

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ALIGN ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY SERVICES
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