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Employers — Apply for Alberta Critical Worker Benefit

Employers — Apply for Alberta Critical Worker Benefit

Employers can apply online on behalf of their critical services employees by March 19, 2021

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Essential business owners in Alberta may be able to access a benefit for eligible employees to receive a one-time payment of $1,200, under the Critical Worker Benefit. This benefit is available to certain private sector workers who deliver critical basic services, or support food and medical supply chains. Employers must apply online on behalf of their eligible employees by March 19, 2021.

To be eligible for the Critical Worker Benefit, private sector workers must:

  • Earn $25 per hour or less
  • Have worked at least 300 hours, including overtime and paid leave, from a single employer (the same employer applying for the benefit on behalf of the worker) between the period of October 12, 2020 and January 31, 2021, and
  • Be located and working in Alberta.

This benefit does not affect eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) and does not form part of an employee's base salary. The one-time payment also does not affect employer paid benefits. Further, Alberta advises that the benefit payment is considered non-pensionable earnings and subject to income tax, Canada Pension Plan and EI payroll deductions.

Employer eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the benefit, an employer must be:

  • A private sector for-profit employer (i.e., sole proprietors, general and limited partnerships and corporations)
  • Located and operating in Alberta
  • Operating in one of the following eligible sectors:
    • Food and beverage stores (excluding liquor and cannabis stores)
    • Health and personal care stores (excluding cosmetics, beauty and fragrance stores)
    • Gas stations
    • Food manufacturing
    • Truck transportation or warehousing and storage of food and medical supplies
    • Courier and messengers (excluding post offices, bicycle messengers or take out delivery)
    • Offices of physicians, dentists, and other health practitioners.

Employers will need to have a MyAlberta Digital ID to access the application portal, which requires employer banking information and specific eligible employee information. This employee information includes:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Occupation title
  • Wage (during eligibility period)
  • Start date
  • Two or more pay stubs from the eligibility period.

Eligible employers can apply for an unlimited number of eligible employees, however the payment can only be made once for each eligible employee.

Alberta says employers will receive a decision at least two weeks after the application is received, and the funds are sent directly to the employer's bank account (once approved). Employers are responsible for distributing the funds to their eligible workers.

If approved, the employer will receive an amount equivalent to the $1,200 per eligible worker, plus funding to offset their expenses related to EI and CPP contributions. The Critical Worker Benefit is a taxable benefit, therefore eligible employees must declare it on their annual tax returns.

For more information, contact your KPMG advisor.

Information is current to March 8, 2021. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. For more information, contact KPMG's National Tax Centre at 416.777.8500

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