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The Government of Alberta announced a new Critical Worker Benefit to compensate essential workers in a range of public and private sectors, including workers in the community disability sector on February 10th.

The initial information provided by the government indicated that all frontline disability workers would be eligible for the one-time, lump-sum payment of $1200.00. On February 17, further information about the benefit was made available, and this contradicted the initial information provided: The Critical Worker Benefit was to be limited to staff working in overnight staffed residences. It is still not clear which workers will qualify for the CWB, but it does appear that many will be excluded.

Disability workers in a wide variety of roles have worked on the front lines throughout the pandemic to ensure that individuals with developmental disabilities received the critical supports they need. They have borne risks throughout the pandemic and must be recognized and compensated for their work.

We know that many of you would like to join these efforts. This letter will be sent to your local MLA and copied to Minister Rajan Sawhney, Community and Social Services and Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration. A province wide effort that includes all stakeholders demonstrates the strength and value we all see in this workforce.

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