Support coming for businesses implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program

Earlier this month, the Government of Alberta announced it will bring in new supports for businesses implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP)

The new supports are in response to the latest public health actions, to provide funding to help offset costs of implementing the REP and support training for workers.

“Alberta businesses have done their part time and time again,” said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, in a press release.

“We’ve been committed to listening to Alberta businesses throughout the pandemic, and we’re taking action to respond to their needs. These new supports will help with the costs businesses incur to implement the proof of vaccination measures.”

REP Implementation Grant

Alberta’s government will soon offer a one-time payment of $2,000 to Alberta small- and medium-sized businesses that are eligible for and choose to implement the REP, requiring proof of vaccination, a negative test result or medical exemption.

Alberta businesses eligible for the REP Implementation Grant can use the funding as they see fit.

Alberta is the first jurisdiction in Canada to offer businesses a payment to offset costs associated with a proof of vaccination program.

It is anticipated that application intake for the payment will be open in the next four to six weeks. More details on the program, including full eligibility criteria, and information on where and how to apply, will be shared once finalized.

REP Training Grant

An additional $1 million will also be available for training to support the safety of workers when implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program.

Eligible industry associations across Alberta can use the REP Training Grant to develop or procure training to help workers assess and manage challenging situations that may arise during their daily work. Workers and employers will be able to access this training through select industry associations.

“Alberta workers deserve to be treated with respect as they do their jobs on the frontlines to implement the Restrictions Exemption Program,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Labour and Immigration, in the release.

“By providing this funding, workers will have the tools they need to work safely and the skills and confidence to effectively manage challenging situations and professionally communicate COVID-19 safety requirements.”

Protecting employers and their staff

The province will introduce legislation to protect businesses that require vaccinations for employees or implement the REP from legal challenges.

The government will also be doubling fines for contravening public health orders, including the mistreatment of workers doing the difficult work ensuring public health orders are being followed, from $2,000 to $4,000.

“Businesses need support to survive in our ever-changing health environment. Today’s announcement acknowledges this, providing assistance for businesses participating in the REP program. These training grants will help keep business owners, employees, and patrons safe and our economy moving,” said Ken Kobly, president and CEO, Alberta Chambers of Commerce.