UCP offer online relaunch resources – NDP say plans underdeveloped, underfunded

by Morinville News Staff

The Government of Alberta has launched a new resource it says will help businesses keep their staff and customers safer during Phase 1 of the province’s economic relaunch.

The UCP says the alberta.ca/bizconnect webpage will provide business owners with information on health and safety guidelines for general workplaces and sector-specific guidelines for those able to open in stage one of relaunch to ensure businesses can reopen safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As businesses reopen, we’re committed to making sure they have the information they need to operate during the pandemic and get people back to work,” said Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir. “We expect businesses to follow these safety measures so that we can continue to reopen our economy while protecting the health and safety of all Albertans.”

The website will also include a red tape reduction submission form so business owners can share their ideas on modernizing regulations and reducing red tape, especially as they respond to COVID-19.

The site met with the approval of Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president Restaurants Canada, Western Canada.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have provided their communities with safe and reliable meal options and this will continue to be their priority as they reopen their doors to diners,” Schellwitz said. “Restaurants Canada looks forward to continuing to work closely with the Alberta government on efforts to help foodservice businesses get ready to reopen their dining rooms and ramp up operations. We appreciate the guidance that the government has provided to help restaurants prepare to resume on-premise dining services as early as May 14.”

Alberta NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray said while the NDP Caucus supports reopening the economy, businesses need a solid plan from the UCP as well as financial support to implement the measures needed to operate safely.

“Jason Kenney and the UCP promised to support businesses struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic. Instead, he delivered a rushed plan, with vague, non-binding guidelines and zero support for implementation,” Grey said. “How exactly are businesses supposed to afford these measures, measures that could potentially save lives?”

Gray went on to say many small businesses are already struggling to pay their commercial rent. As such, there is little money to afford to pay for staff and safety retrofits.

“It’s three days until this reopening plan takes effect, and businesses still have no recommended source for acquiring PPE or help paying for it,” Gray said. “This plan is underdeveloped, unfunded and leaves Albertans unprepared. We believe the UCP Government needs to do much, much better. They need to actually support Albertans with getting back to business as usual.”

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