OHS Canada Magazine

Alberta provides paid job-protected leave in self-isolation tied to coronavirus

Doctors notes will not be required: Kenney


Alberta has now confirmed 29 cases of coronavirus in the province. (dottedyeti/Adobe Stock)

By Dean Bennett

EDMONTON — Alberta is changing labour laws to provide 14 days of paid leave for workers who self-isolate due to the novel coronavirus or who are caring for someone with COVID-19, the disease linked to it.

Premier Jason Kenney says employees will not need doctor notes, nor will they have had to work for 90 days previously to qualify.

“Our priority is public safety and health, and we will make sure that no one has to choose between work and doing what is necessary to protect public health,” Kenney said Friday.

“We don’t want Albertans impacted by COVID-19 to feel that they must go to work to sustain their income so they can pay their bills and take care of their families. This obviously would raise the risk of spreading the virus to co-workers and clients.”

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He said officials are still working out details, but added: “I want to assure employers that we will ensure these actions will not be a further burden to your business.”

Kenney said he is also urging the federal government to further expand employment insurance benefits during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Alberta Federation of Labour called on the province to adopt paid leave around the novel coronavirus, saying that too many people live paycheque to paycheque and may not self-isolate as necessary in order to provide for themselves and their families.

Six new cases in Alberta

Also Friday, Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, announced six new cases of the virus, bringing the total number in the province to 29.

Hinshaw said all are travel-related and that the new patients are self-isolating at home and are expected to make a full recovery.

Publicly funded schools will remain open, along with daycares and post-secondary institutions.

“I know many parents and teachers are worried about the risk of COVID in schools,” said Hinshaw.

“(But) school closures are not universally agreed on as an effective intervention to prevent spread.”

She also said school closures would need to go on for months, not weeks, to be effective. In the meantime, students would still be at risk of spreading the virus in other venues.

Hinshaw repeated an earlier direction for Albertans to cancel mass gatherings of more than 250 people, including sports events.

The National Hockey League has already suspended its season, cancelling games for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.

Any event with more than 50 people but fewer than 250 should also be cancelled if it involves high-risk groups, like seniors.

International travel not recommended

Travel outside Canada is not recommended.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro said that billing rules are also being altered so doctors can get paid $20 per call when giving COVID-19 advice over the phone.

He said Health Link 811, the health information phone line, is getting more than 6,300 calls daily. The province is working on reducing call wait times with more staff.

Shandro addressed concerns there could be nurse layoffs and other staff reductions after April 1, when the new budget year begins, as part of long-term planned changes to health spending.

“This (crisis) has definitely changed everything,” said Shandro, who said he expects staffing increases to deal with the outbreak.

“There are not going to be any layoffs of (Alberta Health Services) employees during the COVID-19 response,” he said.


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50 Comments » for Alberta provides paid job-protected leave in self-isolation tied to coronavirus
  1. Andrew says:

    What happens if your job is suspended because of COVID-19? I get paid per hour, and my workplace has shut down for preventative measures. Does the financial policy take affect for this?

    • Robert NP says:

      This is what is about to happen to me…I have no control in this case…just being forced off work indefinitely

  2. Michelle Berg says:

    This has NOT been defined as employer paid. It is just job protected leave.

  3. Sandra lewis says:

    I work in a licensed daycare. Today March 15 th 2020, we got noticed from AHS that we are now closed until further notice. How do we apply for unemployment insurance? I understand there will not be a waiting period. I get paid hourly as well as government top up. Will this all be paid to us?

  4. SJ Macleod says:

    What about people who have their own small business and are not paying into EI due to extremely limited income? I can’t work more than already am due to health reasons. I suppose we just have to suffer unaided and continue to work whether we are showing symptoms or not? I am self employed, 60 years old and in an industry that would definitely be considered high risk, not only to myself but to my clients as well. I do not have the luxury of being able to stay home without ending up homeless. I do not have spare income to survive should I have to self isolate.

    • Mike E says:

      Please, someone, answer this. I am stuck in the same situation.

    • Cori Young says:

      Me too

    • Patricia says:

      I’m in the same position, self employed and don’t pay into EI. Have an immunocompromised spouse. I can’t find answers anywhere.

    • Alyx says:

      Canadian government is setting up a fund for people that don’t qualify for EI.
      ………….
      The new Emergency Care Benefit
      Introducing the Emergency Care Benefit providing up to $900 bi-weekly, for up to 15 weeks. This flat-payment Benefit would be administered through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and provide income support to:

      Workers, including the self-employed, who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
      Workers, including the self-employed, who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COVID-19, such as an elderly parent, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits.
      Parents with children who require care or supervision due to school or daycare closures, and are unable to earn employment income, irrespective of whether they qualify for EI or not.
      Application for the Benefit will be available in April 2020, and require Canadians to attest that they meet the eligibility requirements. They will need to re-attest every two weeks to reconfirm their eligibility. Canadians will select one of three channels to apply for the Benefit:

      by accessing it on their CRA MyAccount secure portal;
      by accessing it from their secure My Service Canada Account; or
      by calling a toll free number equipped with an automated application process.
      ………….
      https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan/covid19-individuals.html#emergency_support_benefit

  5. Vanessa says:

    What about people who don’t have COVID -19 but have flu like symptoms and because of that are required to stay home (I was just told by my medical clinical)? Will they be paid EI? If it would be me, I will not self-isolate if I don’t get paid EI!

    • Michele T says:

      That’s dangerous rhetoric while this global pandemic is changing everything about our daily lives. If u dont get EI, u are willing to spread this virus. Are u aware of just how many people that decision will impact? How many vulnerable people that decision will kill off?
      We all have to pitch in to minimize our risks. Dont be part of the problem.

      • Scott C says:

        I agree it does seem selfish but from a person who is trying to survive and not getting proper financial assistance…are you going to financially help them? Its not right to promote the spread but in desperation the government needs to help keep a roof over our heads a food on our tables….sacrificing now so we can be on the streets tomorrow seems like a double edged sword…help these ppl find answers or donate them some money. Dont just call them out because theyre speaking out of possible desperation. They need help to financially make it….so I ask you Michele T…pitch in to minimize their problem(which is very important to their livelihood) and they’ll minimize the bigger problem…give solutions not just …”dont do that, you’re a bad person” remark

    • Scott says:

      Can someone answer the question instead of complaining about the question. Inwas ordered to stay home for 10 days due to symptoms related to covid 19. What compensation do I get?

  6. Dale says:

    What is Jason Kenney doing or what is unemployment doing for those that are being let go from their job and position at work due to lack of our or otherwise and how are those employees being helped out because of the covid19 virus or Coronavirus and their jobs in Jeopardy due to that

  7. Dale p says:

    What is Jason Kenney or unemployment doing for those are being let go out of their jobs and position due to the coronavirus being I have a fear that I will be let go due to the Coronavirus and lack of money that is coming into the business for hospitality to which I working

  8. Kamani says:

    How about Licensed dayhome providers, who has to close the way home as AHS requirements due to some one who has to go self isolation, in home.
    Do I still get paid?

  9. Charles says:

    Wow don’t need a Dr note lol
    He is setting up people to lose their job !
    No evidence then it’s your fault after it goes to sh** like losing your job and you don’t have a leg to stand on with out your Dr. input on your health concerns . How would you Challenge your employer with wrongful dismissal and a human rights issue without a letter from your Dr ? He is a Con.. servative !

    • J Hudson says:

      You don’t need a Dr.’s note to get EI, in this situation.
      And if you are fired because you are sick or have any symptoms and decide to isolate. It is wrongful dismissal. They don’t have a leg to stand on. The government has said that if you are sick or have any symptoms to stay home. You are not at fault for anything.

  10. Donna says:

    My husband and son both work in construction, 2 different companies and these companies say if the job site gets shut down they will not pay them, who will pay them? Do the have to get a roe and then call unemployment for 14 days pay and how long will that take?

  11. Li says:

    What if I have two part-time jobs or a few for that matter. Which employer or employers are required to provide the 14-day paid job-protected leave? Or would it be split between the employers? And if split, in what way would it be split (this is probably going into too much details given the current situation ie still a lot of unknowns and uncertainty, but it’s a real concern).

  12. Mary Hanuschak says:

    What about my father who is a senior with asthma, diabetes, cancer survivor etc. His medical history is long. He works in the public (security) and can’t afford to stay home and self isolate to Protect himself from getting the COVID-19 virus… He is not showing any symptoms as of yet.. But I’m worried he’s at risk due to age and health. EI will not qualify him because he hasn’t been diagnosed… What now… Wait until he’s sick and fighting for his life.. His company doesn’t offer sick leave and they’ve been busier then usual. He’s constantly getting called to come to work. He can’t afford to quit – if he does he looses his blue cross package and requires is blue cross to survive – hence why sadly he will work till the day he passes.. What are the options for seniors that must work if they should self isolate???

  13. Joan says:

    I work in a seniors home. I came back from Mexico on March 7. No symptoms
    But now my daughter came home from California and is self isolation in our home. Came to work in long term care thinking I should self isolate too. But they said I can work and if I leave I won’t get paid ‍♀️‍♀️I don’t think I should be here??

  14. Abraham says:

    is there any financial help since there was mass lay off in my company and I don’t have saving to pay my house rental for the coming g month.

  15. Karen Smith says:

    What if you work in a grocery store that is to remain open but you would like to self isolate to stay safe. Why is a grocery store clerks health worth less than than others. My husbands company has closed and asked employees to stay home and safe and yet I see thousands of people in a day at work and bring those germs home.

  16. Doug Bergmann says:

    Where and how does one apply for these tax dollars? Seems lots of talk about helping financially but no info as to how to apply for it

  17. Justin Mercer says:

    How does one apply for income when recommended to self isolate?

  18. Becky King says:

    If I ran a dayhome and if all my dayhome kids end up being kept home would I be able to apply for EI and if so how would I go about doing so?

  19. Charlie Brooks says:

    Do we apply for EI if we are off work or does the employer pay us?

  20. Sheila says:

    My daughter’s in the same boat!! How are ppl suppose to pay for Rent, mortgage, utilities etc!! A lot of ppl are going to be left out in the streets!! No place to go!!!

  21. Val says:

    So because of my prior medical history, my doctor has told me to not work, or go out. Does my employer have to pay me the hours I was scheduled to work for those 2 weeks or do I have to take sick time. I am an hourly employee.

  22. Troy says:

    My employer has stated if they close the call centre and I have not arranged to work from home I will not get paid. It is nearly impossible to work from home. My union said I should just apply for EI. At 55% of my usual wage there is no way to live off that for my wife and I. How does this fit into any of the “scenarios” for aid or EI. What the hell do I do?

  23. Sandor says:

    My fiance works at a big chain store here in town, and I am worried that she will catch and bring it to our house and get me sick as I have a very low immune system already how can we self isolate without her having to go on ei

  24. heather curtis says:

    I am in the exact same boat as the previous poster-Troy. 55% paid out is not going to cover all my bills as I am right now putting about 75% of my monthly income to rent/bills alone. Can this be topped up by the government for people in this situation? how is this working?

  25. derby says:

    If i am paid salary, and am self isolating as per request from employer, so i still get pd my salary or do i have to go on ei. living in alberta.

  26. Cindy says:

    I work in retail and I feel the same. We already had the same customer who came in twice, who was coughing, blowing her nose, touching products and trying to hand them to us. The virus can live on plastics for 3-4 days. There is no protection for us and my senior Mom lives with me. So I go to work, put my life at risk and then go home and put my Moms life at risk! There are no measures in place to protect our staff at work, no gloves, lysol, anti-viral products, no extra help to sterilize store (some staff in isolation), customers are in close range to us, money is very dirty. We deal with customers who are seniors, who can be exposed to people like this too. Every time I go to work, I am risking myself & family! I shouldn’t have to ask my Boss to create a safe space for me, but I’m going to have to address this for myself and other employees. It’s disappointing, as this should have been dealt with, if he wants us to work, and put ourselves in ‘Harms Way!’ He isn’t putting himself or family at risk, just sitting home in isolation. The least he could do is give us some guidelines to protect ourselves!!

  27. Ron says:

    I called in sick today because I wasn’t feeling well. My company freaked out and said stay home for 14 days. I phoned 811 and they said take a few days off and go back to work. My company says stay home. Will I get Ei? Or get fired when I get back? Kinda worried right now.

  28. Unknown says:

    What about people that work but then get cold like symptoms or some kind of infection and the dr tells them to stay at home but your work is threatening you with lay-off or tells you the owner is pissed and you could potentially lose your job cause your sick. But have notes? What’s the law on that. I know a lot of people going through this right now as I am one of them.

  29. Unknown says:

    What about all the (essential) people being forced to risk their lives working in the oil sands for absolutely no reason other than the greed of the government? Can they punish you for taking an unpaid vacation right now?

  30. Withh thabks ffor sharing your suuperb website!

  31. Rashed Chowdhury says:

    I work in AHS (non front line). Due to Corina Virus challenges i need to stay home till situation improve. can I take long term leave

  32. Darlene says:

    Where is the law in Alberta that other provinces have eg BC to protect the jobs for Moms who now have kids home from school n R expected to work full time from home n look after kids – it’s been 5 wks in this nightmare – this is Alberta’s answer to what increasing stress on Mother’s n increasing family violence – seriously get your act together

  33. Andrew says:

    This is f@#$$ng bullshit my wife works for ahs and got tested today and the woman who’s in charge told her if she has it she is only covered for 8 SHIFTS and after that she needs to apply for disability benefits and won’t be allowed to use her vacation time. THIS IS HOW THEY LOOK AFTER PEOPLE ON THE FRONT LINES. Shamfull these people make me sick. It’s still about the almighty dollar with ahs

  34. Anonymous says:

    I work in a meat plant full time and part time in a care facility. I got sick and was tested positive for Covid disease, i was cleared by 811, stated i can come back to work both jobs. My part time employer is refusing me to come back to work because the meat plant was on out break before. Does my part time employer has the valid right to terminate my employment? I want to fight for my right, who from the government can i ask for help so i can come back and work for my hours in my part time employer? Thanks for hearing me and i need a accurate reply about this.

  35. Ildiko Miller says:

    Where do I find information from the Province of Alberta on this? I have spent much time conducting search on this and still have come up empty handed!

  36. Jesus says:

    Great article really has been very useful to me. Thank you!!! Thank you so much!!!

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