The Alberta Government has unveiled what is being described as the largest job plan in Alberta history.
Minister of Labour and Immigration Jason Copping hosted a round table with Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) editors to discuss the Alberta Jobs Now Program.
“We recognize the impact of the pandemic on working Albertans is going to last a lot longer,” said Minister Copping. “We have got through the last year, one of the worst global economic recessions, statically a depression, and one of the biggest crashes in energy prices.”
The Alberta Jobs Now program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses support much-needed jobs for unemployed and underemployed Albertans across the province.
Employers can apply for a grant that covers 25 percent of an employee’s salary for a 52-week period up to a maximum of $25,000 per employee. The grant can be used to cover salary or training costs.
“Right now, we are sitting at approximately 9 per cent unemployment, two points higher than when we came into the pandemic. We are only second behind Newfoundland, tied with Ontario in terms of our unemployment rate,” said Copping. “We were the first government to launch an economic plan, the Alberta Recovery Plan, which had three key elements.
These elements include investment in infrastructure, and they invested $20 billion from future years to invest in projects to get people working. The government also focused on creating an environment for investment, this included the job development tax cut. The third element is diversification.
The next element is the Alberta Jobs Now Program.
“This program will help an estimated 22,000 Albertans get back to work,” he said. Not only is it designed to get Albertans back to work, but get them back to full-time permanent positions.”
The program is eligible to small, medium, and large employers, in the private and non-profit sectors. There is no requirement for profit loss or revenue loss.
“This program is focused on Alberta employers who want to create jobs and are willing to make a commitment to that job for at least 52 weeks,” he said.
Employers will be able to apply for a grant that covers 25 per cent of an employee’s salary for a 52-week period up to a maximum of $25,000 per employee. The grant can be used to cover salary or training costs. Employers who hire persons with disabilities will receive a grant 1.5 times higher than the amount they receive for other new employees.
Employers will be able to apply at alberta.ca/jobsnow as of 9 a.m. on May 20. They can apply for funding for up to 20 new employees. Employers have until August 31 to apply. A second intake will open on September 15 and close on December 31.