Critical Worker Benefit program

I have a problem with the UCP’s plan regarding their role out of the Critical Worker Benefit program.

First – EVERYONE deserves financial support from the government. That is the governments’ job!

A plumber that is called out in the middle of the night to fix a furnace or burst water pipe is an essential worker. Or the bus driver that gets the critical worker/frontline worker/healthcare worker to their place of employment is essential. How about bicycle shop employees, animal shelter staff, teachers and other staff in educational institutions, food bank employees, shelter staff, workers in the non-profits taking care of those people ignored by our governments, and so many more? How should volunteers be recognized and honoured for the contribution they have made to our society during this time?

Second – why is there a benchmark of 300 hours that a person needs to work over that period? Are they saying that the person that only works 8 hours a week or only 293 hours over that period is not worthy of being recognized for working on the front lines and providing essential services?

How about the high school student that works at the grocery store once a week? Why are they treated in a discriminatory manner compared to a person that works full time? If this is to address front-line workers and people that are lower on the pay scale then all of those people should be covered – not just ones that work over a certain number of hours.

Thirdly – why just this period? Did these essential/critical workers do their job at other times of the past year? Do these workers not provide that service day in and day out/year in and year out – but now someone realizes that there are certain people that are critical to ensuring food flow, that water comes out of the tap when you turn it on, that gas heats up your house, that there is a medical professional to tend to you, etc. These people have been there for us right from the start.

Fourthly – why is this benefit not ongoing? Are these essential/critical workers valuable/essential/critical today or tomorrow? Or only for that arbitrary period?

Also, I have only had a total of maybe three days off since the beginning of October and have been on the front lines but since I am an owner I am not eligible for this benefit. I worked over 300 hours and make less than 25$ an hour. Interesting that someone decided that owners are not worthy of being recognized for their work. Screw you UCP!

I wonder if all the workers at COOP are entitled to the benefit. Are coop members in the business owners or only workers? Where do they draw this line?

AND why did they not acknowledge that this money was coming from the Federal government – money that they had not accessed when it was made available to them to pass onto critical workers. Yes, I know it says – “This includes up to $118 million in provincial funds, in addition to $347 million from the federal government’s benefits program for low-wage critical workers.” but this government has been shameful in its handling of the pandemic, respect of the citizens of Alberta, and just simple gratitude and acknowledgment that the federal government did some things right for the people of Canada AND Alberta.

Thank you, to the federal government of Canada. I use that term to incorporate all members of our government – Liberals, NDP, Bloc, Greens, and Conservatives (though I am sure that if the Conservatives were the party in power that things would not have gone that well for Canadians) – since each of your parties helped to make what the programmes better for people. Most notably the NDP and Greens (I do not know enough about the Bloc to comment on their participation in the rolled out programs but they did not oppose the programs).

Pandemics should not be used for political badgering and partisan shit. It is a waste of time, energy, and money. It is shameful.

Our solution for our staff that the government is ignoring: We believe in fairness and recognition for everyone. To balance our values with this benefit for some but not for others that the government is offering we had to create some financial acknowledgment for the staff that did not ‘qualify’ by the government’s criteria. We applied for and obtained the 1200$ for each of our staff that qualifies, as is their due. For all of our other staff that worked during that time frame a financial acknowledgment of $3 for every hour they worked. We respect all of the people that worked at our store during this time and every day. This will be expensive for us but it is fairer for every one of our staff to be acknowledged for their work.