Posted on Jul 14, 2021


CALGARY – New Alberta entrepreneurs are being turned down under Jason Kenney and the UCP’s employment and training support program, the Alberta NDP Caucus has learned.

The UCP’s poorly named “Jobs Now” program—delayed for more than five months—requires applicants to have operated their businesses for more than a year. This eligibility criteria means new entrepreneurs who stand the most to gain from hiring new staff do not qualify for any support funding to expand and create jobs.

“Jason Kenney is failing to create jobs. His program has fundamental flaws that mean Albertans who have opened their business recently and want to create jobs are being shut out,” said NDP Finance Critic Shannon Phillips, noting the UCP is only meeting with large corporations during the Calgary Stampede.

“These are the corporations who got the lion’s share of the UCP’s $4.7-billion-dollar corporate handout. Now, Jason Kenney is begging these corporations to create jobs with the billions of Albertans’ dollars he gave them but why isn’t Kenney meeting with Albertans who made a brave choice to open a new business but can’t get a single dime out of the UCP’s so-called job creation program?”

Som Bahadur is the owner of Grill on 26th by Hotel Riviera in Calgary. He opened his restaurant in March when the indoor dining restrictions were lifted, investing thousands of dollars. He tried to apply for Jobs Now but discovered his business does not qualify just because it has not been open long enough.

“This does not make sense,” said Bahudur. 

“Just like every other small business during the pandemic, I have done everything I could to keep my business alive. I used all of my credit and most of my savings just to get through COVID-19 health restriction. There are jobs here in my restaurant and other businesses like mine, but the provincial government needs to fix the program so newer businesses can qualify.” 

Alberta lost more than 37,000 full-time jobs in June. The unemployment rate is 9.3 per cent, the third highest in Canada. There are nearly 230,000 Albertans looking for work today.