Posted on Feb 17, 2021


EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP Opposition is calling on the government to speed up the province’s economic recovery by ensuring every worker can get vaccinated without fear of losing part of their income, with a proposal that is broadly similar to the paid hours guaranteed to workers who need to leave their jobsite to vote.

“Widespread vaccination is the single most important factor in getting our small and medium-sized businesses running again,” said Christina Gray, NDP Critic for Labour. “Whether you work in a restaurant, a movie theatre, or a meat-packing plant, you shouldn’t be worried about losing pay when your turn comes to get vaccinated. 

“Every day of hesitation hurts our provincial economy. The government should be aggressively tearing down any barrier that might delay an Albertan from getting their shots.”

The Opposition proposal is for a Ministerial Order to be issued under section 52.1(2) of the Public Health Act to mandate that workers are entitled to receive three hours of paid time off in order to obtain the vaccination, or to assist a vulnerable family member as long as they provide documentation to their employer. 

Specifically, the order should lay out:

  1. Notwithstanding section 53.982(1) of the Employment Standards Act, an employee is entitled to paid leave for 3 hours for the purpose of obtaining the COVID-19 vaccination for 
    1. The employee, or
    2. A vulnerable family member who requires assistance
  2. Notwithstanding section 53.982(1) of the Employment Standards Act, an employee under clause 1 of this order is exempt from the requirement to be employed for 90 days by the same employer.
  3. No employer may make a deduction from the pay of an employee or impose or exact from the employee any penalty by reason of the employee’s absence from employment for the purpose of obtaining the COVID -19 vaccination.
  4. An employee is entitled to these same benefits for both the first and second dose of the vaccination.

“It’s been two months since Health Minister Tyler Shandro promised Albertans that he was ready, but we still haven’t seen a vaccination plan for the general public,” said Gray. “I hope that the UCP makes full use of AHS to provide appointments that work for all kinds of schedules. But we know some workers simply won’t be able to look after their families and get the shot without missing work. 

“This is a simple initiative to make sure that these hard-working Albertans won’t hesitate to roll up their sleeve when their turn comes.”