Posted on Mar 31, 2021
UCP FUMBLES JOBS PROGRAM, PUTS $148 MILLION AT RISK
EDMONTON – Jason Kenney has failed to launch his promised “Alberta Jobs Now” plan, and stands to lose $148 million in federal dollars earmarked for retraining as the deadline to spend the money passes when the fiscal year ends tonight.
“Albertans need jobs,” said Christina Gray, NDP Critic for Labour and Immigration. “Jason Kenney and the UCP are repeatedly failing to deliver for Albertans, even when presented with hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Jason Kenney leave millions of dollars in a bank account in Ottawa instead of putting that money to good use The UCP sat on nearly $350 million in federal funds for nine months before offering their badly designed Critical Worker Benefit, which excluded so many frontline Alberta workers,” Gray said.
Back in November of 2020, the federal government committed $185 million for workforce development and retraining in Alberta, and indicated that the province must spend 80 per cent of the money by March 31, 2021 — or return the money to Ottawa.
Despite claims from Labour Minister Jason Copping last week that he was asking Ottawa to extend the deadline to fund Jobs Now, no deal has been announced.
The funding for the Critical Worker Benefit dates back even further, to May of 2020, but the Kenney government didn’t open applications until February 10 of 2021. There was an immediate wave of complaints about limited eligibility for the benefit and a cumbersome application process. The application portal closed on March 19, 2021.
“Jason Kenney sat on money meant for frontline workers for 287 days, and even after that, so many Albertans were confused, insulted, and angry about the botched roll out of that very delayed program,” Gray said.
“Now he’s failing Albertans again, people who badly need some hope, who need a job now. Instead Jason Keneny wasted months bickering with Ottawa and failing to put federal money to work for Alberta,” said Gray.