A move by the Government of Alberta to permanently include family business members in the Canada Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) has been prompted by the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce.
In February 2022, policy proposals put forward by the Lacombe chamber to the Alberta government were made permanent. It will enable thousands of family business employees to access a government grant for training and education.
“We’re really excited about this. This was the first provincial policy that we published and it sort of came about from a casual conversation about how it’s a great program, but there is a gap that exists. One of our goals as a chamber is to help address the issues, the things that are falling through the gaps, and to try to make sure our businesses have what they need,” said Dan Luymes, chamber president.
The CAJG was created in October 2014, with the goal of assisting business owners with the recruitment and retention of employees through subsidized training.
In 2019, the immediate family members of company owners were ineligible to receive funding for any training through the grant. This included adult children who were actively contributing to the business, and who may or may not intend to take over management or ownership of the business in the future.
In 2019 the Government of Alberta acted based on a recommendation made by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, which had been presented by the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce.
The Lacombe Chamber made note of a gap in the grant’s policy for immediate family members of the company owners who were unable to receive any funding from the grant. This was a concern that was brought up at one of the Chamber’s Lunch and Learns.
A temporary change was made to the CAJG Admissions policy in 2019 based on this recommendation, and in February 2022 this was made permanent.
“Employers are really seeing a challenge in their recruitment and hiring these days. Any help that can support small, family-run businesses is very welcome and this policy change will be very welcome in our community,” said Jeffrey Hanger, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
The chamber said that this move will affect roughly 70 to 80 per cent of privately owned businesses in Alberta.