Alberta’s NDP Opposition says the UCP’s decision to end COVID-19 testing, tracing and isolation protocols the province’s workers at risk of losing benefits.
The federal government’s Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) provides $500 per week fro up to four weeks for workers unable to attend at least half of their work week due to COVID-19. The Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) provides income support for up to 42 weeks for those unable to work because they need to care for a child under 12 years old impacted by COVID-19.
As of July 18, Albertans have received $500 million from the two programs, both of which were extended by the feds last week until Oct. 23.
However, without provincial testing, contact tracing and isolation protocols, the NDP says workers may not be able to access the programs should they want to isolate themselves or care for a child in isolation.
“This is wrong,” said Alberta NDP Labour Critic Christina Gray in a media release Wednesday. “Now, I fear that accessing the federal sick pay and caregiver benefits will become all the more difficult for Albertans, as we become the lone province to discontinue testing and contact tracing.”
The NDP Caucus requested the UCP to offer 10-days of paid sick leave earlier this year, at which time the UCP said both the CRSB and CRCB were sufficient.
The Caucus is now calling on the UCP government to reverse its decision on isolation and contact tracing.
“Testing, tracing, and isolating is the bare minimum the provincial government can do to continue to combat the spread of COVID-19. It ensures that all the progress Albertans have made together to get past the worst of this pandemic is not undone,” Gray said.