Workplace guidance and supports to help businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19 operate safely and support their recovery.

Public health restrictions are in place to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on the health care system. Some businesses can participate in the Restrictions Exemption Program.
Financial support for eligible in-scope businesses implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program
Businesses and non-profits can apply for funding to reduce the cost of hiring and training Albertans for new jobs.
Employers and service providers can apply to implement a rapid COVID-19 testing program in their organization.

Public health measures

Public health measures are now in effect that include capacity and operating restrictions.


Workplace guidance


Workplace rules

  • An employee can be temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 for 180 consecutive days from the initial layoff date.

    If the employee is not recalled to work after 180 consecutive days, their employment is considered to be ended, and they must receive termination pay if entitled.

    Learn more about temporary layoffs.

  • To request an employee return to work after a layoff, an employer must serve a recall notice to the employee in writing. Employees are not required to be tested for COVID-19 before they return to work.

    If an employee fails to return to work within 7 days of receiving the recall notice, the employer may terminate their employment. The employee is not entitled to termination notice or termination pay in this case.

    From a health and safety perspective, workers may suggest it is unsafe to return to work.

    • Employees have the right to refuse dangerous work – but this usually relates to a specific task, activity or condition and does not normally allow workers to refuse to attend work.
    • Employers must take steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, and must follow all public health orders and guidance.

    For detailed information, contact:

  • Quarantine leave

    Employees are entitled to 14 days of unpaid, job-protected leave if they are required to quarantine due to COVID-19. This leave can be taken more than once.

    Family responsibility leave

    Employees are entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave if they are required to:

    • care for self-isolated family members
    • care for children unable to attend school or child care as a result of Chief Medical Officer of Health orders related to COVID-19

    This leave may be taken for as long as needed to meet family responsibilities. It can be accessed more than once.

    Financial support

    Employment standards rules

    Paid vaccination leave

    All working Albertans can access 3 hours of paid, job-protected leave to get each dose of the vaccine.

  • Employers must continue to meet existing occupational health and safety (OHS) requirements.

    OHS questions and concerns can be directed to the:

    OHS Contact Centre online
    Phone: 1-866-415-8690 (in Alberta)
    Phone: 780-415-8690 (in Edmonton)

  • Masks are mandatory in all indoor public spaces, workplaces, and places of worship as of September 16.

    Employees must mask for all indoor settings, except while alone in work stations.

    For more information on masking, including how to wear and care for your mask, see mask requirements.


Financial supports

  • A one-time payment of $2,000 to eligible Alberta small and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations is now available for those participating in the Restrictions Exemption Program.

    Learn more about the Restrictions Exemption Program Implementation Grant.

  • Eligible industry associations will be able to access funding to develop or procure safety training that helps workers assess and manage challenging situations when implementing the Restrictions Exemption Program. Workers and employers will be able to access this training through select industry associations.

    More information about the Restrictions Exemption Program Training Grant will be released soon.

  • The Alberta Jobs Now Program second application intake period will open on November 10 with changes to help employers meet their labour needs and provide more Albertans with the skills to find successful careers.

    Private and non-profit businesses can apply for funding to offset the cost of hiring and training Albertans into new or vacant jobs.

    Employers can get up to:

    • $25,000 for each new hire, or
    • $37,500 for each new employee with a disability

    Workers cannot apply for the program directly, but can let potential employers know they can apply for the Alberta Jobs Now program if they hire you.

    Learn more about Alberta Jobs Now

  • All working Albertans can access 3 hours of paid, job-protected leave to get each dose of the vaccine.

  • Education property tax rates were frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.

    Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses was deferred for 6 months to September 30, or a deferral of both municipal and education property tax for a shorter time that is of equivalent benefit.

    • Municipalities were expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
    • Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.
    • Taxpayers can contact their municipality directly for information on their municipality’s approach to education property tax deferral or to discuss a payment schedule to pay these deferred taxes.

    Learn more

  • Hotels and other lodging providers are permitted to keep tourism levy amounts collected between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.

    Learn more

  • Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.

    • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 – saving businesses $350 million.
    • Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.

    Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

  • Businesses may be able to access federal supports to help with COVID-19-related challenges. For the latest information on federal programs, see the Government of Canada’s resources below.


Additional information and resources

  • Connect to PPE suppliers using the websites below. The government is not responsible for products or prices offered on these sites.

    Alberta-based businesses that manufacture PPE can find out how to help at Alberta Bits and Pieces.

  • Talk to a small business strategist at Business Link for one-on-one coaching, advice and information on COVID-19 resources and supports.

    To connect with a Business Link strategist:

    Submit your question online or contact them directly:

    Toll free: 1-800-272-9675 (Canada only)
    TTY: 1-800-457-8466 (For the deaf or hard of hearing)
    Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed weekends and statutory holidays)

  • The COVID-19 pandemic can have a significant impact on mental health.

    Online resources are available if you need advice on handling stressful situations.

    If you need to talk, call the 24-hour help lines:

    For more information, visit COVID-19 info for Albertans.

  • Provincial quarantine rules for returning international travellers have been lifted, but federal travel requirements remain in place. For more information, see COVID-19 travel requirements.

  • As of July 29, 2021, close contacts of COVID-19 cases are no longer legally required to quarantine after an exposure to a case of COVID-19.

    Alberta Health Services Public Health will continue to investigate and manage cases of COVID-19. However, it is strongly recommended that cases notify their close contacts of the exposure including those they work with.

    The following recommendations apply to business operators, staff members, as well as others potentially exposed to a COVID-19 case:

    • They should monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the exposure. If they develop symptoms, they must isolate and should get tested.
    • Follow all provincial public health restrictions including masking and physical distancing as well as and any local municipal restrictions in your area.
    • Follow good public health practices such as handwashing or sanitizing hands often and environmental cleaning.
    • Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated should avoid high-risk locations such as continuing care facilities and crowded indoor spaces.

    Proof of a negative COVID-19 test and/or a medical note is not required to return to school, work or activities once the isolation period is complete. Learn more about isolation and quarantine requirements.

  • COVID-19 resources are available in Arabic, 中文, हिंदी, 한국어, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Af-Soomaali, Español, Français, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt and Urdu.

    See translated resources


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