Government Support

The federal and provincial governments are working on financial programs to help businesses manage at this time. This information is intended for informational purposes only. Businesses should consult their accountant, financial advisor, or government authorities before applying or making decisions about how they should use this information.

We will update this list as more information comes available.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Learn more: Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Apply for Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

Work-Sharing Temporary Special Measures

  • Helps employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary decrease in business activity beyond the control of the employer.
  • Provides Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to eligible employees who agree to reduce their normal working hours and share the available work while their employer recovers.
  • Work-Sharing is an agreement between employers, employees, and the Government of Canada.
Learn more: Work-Sharing Program

Temporary Staff Layoffs

  • Allows employers to maintain employment relationships with their staff and delay potentially devastating termination costs.
  • Extended until June 30, 2021 for AHLA members. This is a huge win for members. Having a strong voice with government has never been more important. This decision by the Minister underscores the importance of having an industry association where hotels can work together and build effective relationships with government.
  • The AHLA will be requesting a Ministerial Variance to extend temporary layoffs once again for members in good standing. We will inform all members who asked to be included under the variance as soon as we receive a decision.
Learn more: Government of Alberta website

Recalling Staff from a Temporary Layoff

Hotels that wish to recall employees who were laid off as a result of COVID-19 should know the rules. Before calling employees back to work, the AHLA encourages employers to:

  • Review & Revise Hazard Assessments: Review & revise all measures taken to ensure the safety of workers and guests, including barriers/shields, policies & personal protective equipment.
  • Update Training: Plan training on new and existing health & safety protocols for both new & returning employees.

When calling employees back:

  • Notify: As per Government of Alberta Employment Standards, employers must provide seven days’ notice IN WRITING. In case of a dispute, it is important that an employer can show the employee did, in fact, receive the notice. There are several ways to serve a recall notice to an employee:
    • give the notice to the employee in person, either at work or at the employee’s address
    • leave the notice at the employee’s address with a person who appears to be 18 or older
    • send the notice by mail or registered mail
    • send the notice by fax or email

If the employee does not return to work within seven days of being served the recall notice, the employer can terminate employment, and the employee will not be entitled to termination notice or termination pay. Click here for a sample recall letter you can use (pdf download).

  • Communicate: Review hazards and explain safety measures that have been put in place for the safety of employees and guests.

When the employee returns to the job site, before they start working:

  • Train: Complete training on new safety equipment & protocols.
  • Document: Document training.
  • Reassess as needed: Prepare each department to monitor for compliance and further hazard identification.

Employees have the right to refuse unsafe work.  If an employee has concerns about health & safety and refuses to work, the AHLA encourages you to:

  1. Ask the worker to explain why they feel unsafe, and what safety precautions they think are missing. Respond to their questions and document all concerns and conversations. Worker returns to work, or:
  2. Remedy the dangerous condition if there is one, and inspect in the presence of the Health & Safety Committee member who represents the worker or the Health & Safety Representative. Worker returns to work, or:
  3. Complete a Right to Refuse Unsafe Work form. The AHLA has a template you can adapt for your property (pdf download).
  4. If the employee still refuses to work, the employer should contact OHS to investigate and make a decision about whether the employee is entitled to continue refusing work.

OHS Contacts:

Anywhere in Alberta: 1-866-415-8690
Edmonton & surrounding area: 780-415-8690
Deaf or hearing impaired: 780-427-9999 (Edmonton); 1-800-232-7215 (Alberta)

For questions about Government of Alberta Employment Standards, you can fill out this form or call 1-877-427-3731.

Learn more: temporary layoffs (Government of Alberta)
Learn more: Occupational Health & Safety

Leaves & Benefits for Your Staff

  • Employees in Alberta are entitled to certain job-protected leaves. It is up to the discretion of employers to offer additional leave over and above the legislated requirements.
  • If an employee has been placed in quarantine for COVID-19 or is diagnosed with COVID-19, there is no obligation to continue an employee’s pay, unless a the employee has paid sick leave or any other workplace or collective agreement provision. However, the employee may be able to access short-term disability benefits, if available, or Employment Insurance.
  • An employee may be eligible for sickness benefits if they are ill from COVID-19 or has been quarantined by Public Health officials. On March 11, 2020, the Federal Government announced that it will waive the one (1) week waiting period for employees eligible for EI sickness benefits or quarantine.
  • An employer can implement a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan (SUB Plan) to “top up” EI benefits if an employee is temporarily out of the workforce. Under a SUB Plan, an employer can top-up an employee’s EI benefits to a maximum of 95% of the employee’s normal weekly earnings. If the SUB Plan is implemented to “top up” regular benefits or sickness benefits, the SUB Plan must be registered with Service Canada.

Additional Staffing & Labour Resources

Resources for Canadian Businesses (Government of Canada)

Employee Benefits

TotalGuard Employee Benefits

Western Financial Group Insurance Solutions is offering a premium reduction for dental coverage for TotalGuard members. WFG also postponed the June 2020 renewal until further notice. Therefore, premium adjustments will not take place until at least June 1, 2021.  You will continue to be invoiced at your existing rates until this date.

Learn more: WFG

A COVID-19 Policy for Your Property

A COVID-19 policy for your property should consider the following topics, at a minimum:

  • Communication:
    • How will the employer communicate with employees or other contractors?
    • Does the employer have the information and technology required for efficient communication (e.g., mass text)?
  • Reporting:
    • When must an employer report exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19?
    • To whom must the employee report and how: HR, Public Health, etc. (See Protecting Guests & Staff for guidance about reporting)
  • Self-Quarantine
    • When, for how long, and to whom to report?
  • Working from Home:
    • Is this possible in certain positions? While front-line employees would not have this option, are there office roles that may have the ability to work from home?
    • If not, what if anything can be put into place to facilitate this? Can this be done proactively?
    • What are the expectations of an employee working from home?
    • If an employee cannot work from home, what is the impact on the employee’s status in the workplace?
  • Return to Work:
    • When and how?
    • Medical certification (will the employer pay for the certificate)?
  • Business Travel:
    • Reporting: when and to whom?
    • Will there be no obligation to travel for business?
    • What is “non-essential” travel?
  • Personal Travel:
    • Reporting: when and to whom?
    • Travel to “affected areas”
  • Guests:
  • Internal Reporting and No Reprisal:
    • Encourage internal reporting and reinforce that there will be no reprisal for doing so.

Information adapted from:

Workers’ Compensation Board of Alberta’s Employer Fact Sheet and the Hotel Association of Canada’s COVID-19 FAQ document (March 13, 2020) prepared by Sherrard Kuzz LLP, Employment & Labour Lawyers. This information is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice, nor does accessing this information create a lawyer-client relationship. Information about the law is checked for legal accuracy as at the date the presentation/article is prepared, but may become outdated as laws or policies change.

Property Closures

In the unfortunate event that you decide to close your property, the AHLA has prepared a Sample Property Closure Checklist (Word doc file download) to assist you.

Please contact us at WeHelpHotels@ahla.ca or 780.436.6112 (toll-free 1.888.436.6112) if you have other questions or need additional support.