On October 7, 2021, the Alberta Government announced it will implement new measures to support businesses that are working to keep Albertans safe and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Restrictions Exemption Program Funding
The province will implement the following measures to support businesses that implement the new Restrictions Exemption Program (“REP”) As part of the REP, businesses that participate are required to obtain proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from patrons in order to grant entry to their premises. More details regarding the REP can be found in our New Public Health Measures for Alberta as COVID-19 Cases Rise blog.
- The Alberta Government will provide an REP Grant of $2,000 to small and medium-sized businesses to offset the costs associated with implementing the REP.
- REP Training Grant funding totalling $1 million will be available to eligible industry associations that develop or procure training for workers and businesses implementing the REP.
Increased Fines for Violating Public Health Orders
Law enforcement agencies are permitted to enforce public health orders. Fines for contravening public health orders, including mistreating workers tasked with implementing those orders, will increase from $2,000 to $4,000.
Legislation to Protect Businesses
The Alberta Government will also introduce new legislation to protect businesses that require proof of vaccination from employees from legal challenges. This new legislation will protect all businesses, not just those that implement the REP.
Many employers across Alberta have already implemented vaccination policies requiring employees to provide proof of vaccination, which may result in legal challenges from employees. Though the details on the upcoming legislation is not yet available, it is expected to ease many concerns employers have regarding their liability for requiring employees to be vaccinated.
We encourage employers with questions regarding the implications of mandatory vaccination policies in their workplaces or any questions regarding vaccination and COVID-19 testing policies to contact a member of our labour and employment law team.
Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.