Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than $300 million in federal money, ear marked for frontline workers in the province, has yet to be released.
“Premier Kenney often describes frontline workers as heroes, but these documents show that his actions don’t match his words,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.
“Our province’s essential workers are stretched to the limit, but the Kenney government still refuses to recognize their contribution by delivering wage supports in line with other provinces.”
In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $4 billion cost-shared program to provide wage supports and top-ups for essential workers. The $3 billion federal commitment is contingent on provinces and territories providing the other $1 billion.
Documents obtained by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggest that of the $347 million federal dollars available for Alberta, only $12 million was allocated based on Alberta’s contribution.
According to the documents, other provinces and territories have contributed most or all of their share of the cost-shared program, and Alberta has paid out 3.5 per cent of its share.
“Alberta’s essential workers are missing out because of UCP negligence and foot dragging,” said McGowan.
“It’s important to understand that this is a cost-shared program between the federal government and the provinces. If a province doesn’t provide it’s share, the federal money doesn’t flow. That’s what’s happening here in Alberta. Don’t let the Kenney government tell you they’re ‘still negotiating with the feds.’
“No other province is having any problems. The UCP here in Alberta are the ones who are holding things up by not kicking in their share. If the province provided its portion of funds for essential workers, then the money available to essential workers in Alberta would total more than $463 million.”