Posted on Mar 12, 2020


EDMONTON – The Alberta NDP Caucus is in full support of today’s decision to limit the size of public gatherings, but urges Jason Kenney and the UCP government to do more.

“All Albertans have a role to play in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, and I strongly encourage Albertans to follow the Chief Medical Officer’s recommendations regarding personal hygiene, social distancing, self-isolation, and limitations on travel,” said Deputy Leader Sarah Hoffman.

“The ban on gatherings of more than 250 people is good policy.”

However, the NDP is vehemently urging Health Minister Tyler Shandro and the UCP government to halt the mass nursing layoffs, pause the imminent changes to physician compensation, and immediately invest in healthcare in order to ensure the province is fully prepared to confront the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whatever disagreements the Minister has with healthcare workers, he should set them aside and focus on public health because Albertans need a strong public healthcare system now more than ever before,” said Hoffman.

In addition, the NDP is asking the government to begin preparing for the likelihood that Alberta will need to follow Ontario’s lead and close schools as a temporary measure to contain the spread of the virus.

“Many workers, including healthcare workers, will not be able to work from home. We have to be prepared so that if we do close schools, we have a plan in place and don’t force healthy Albertans to stay home from doing crucial work due to the financial burden of childcare,” said Hoffman.

The NDP is also repeating its ask to the government that it provide job-protection and financial support for working Albertans that contract the virus or self-isolate. The NDP has asked the Government to explore all options, including sick pay, one-time payments, or preloaded debit cards.