Safe Restart Agreement Response Letter: Premier of Alberta

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2

Dear Prime Minister,

To protect the health of Canadians, all governments continue to work together effectively to manage the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of these ongoing collaborative efforts, I am pleased to accept additional federal resources to support critical needs over the next six to eight months through the Safe Restart Agreement. These investments will help to protect public health and safety, prepare for potential future waves of the virus, and further support the safe reopening of economies across Canada.

First Ministers recognize that the territories face distinct challenges and circumstances, which will need to be addressed separately. First Ministers also recognize that smaller jurisdictions may require funding adjustments beyond per capita allocations.

This letter outlines Alberta's funding priorities under the Safe Restart Agreement reached between Canada and Alberta, to reflect our understandings on shared objectives and the funding commitments made in the seven priority areas. This letter, and the Appendix, represents the entire Safe Restart Agreement and terms reached between our two governments.

Alberta's specific allocation and other distribution details for each priority area are also set out and confirmed in the Appendix forming part of this correspondence

Testing, contact tracing, and data management

The goal of this investment is to help provinces and territories reach a collective capacity to test up to 200,000 people per day across Canada, as well as to improve their contact tracing capacities.

The Government of Canada will provide $4.28 billion to support provinces and territories with the costs of increasing their capacity to conduct testing, perform contact tracing, and share appropriate public health data that will help fight the pandemic. Funding and support will also be provided to provinces and territories to improve and modernize data management across Canada, to help all orders of government co-ordinate their efforts to contain the virus. Provinces and territories will share relevant information and data.

Alberta will use the funds to:

Health-care system capacity

COVID-19 has increased the demands on health-care systems across Canada and placed additional strain on mental health. This investment is intended to support the health-care services and mental health supports that Canadians rely on, as each jurisdiction addresses the impacts of COVID-19.

The Government of Canada will provide $700 million to support health-care system capacity to respond to a potential future wave of COVID-19. A further $500 million will address immediate needs and gaps in the support and protection of people experiencing challenges related to mental health, substance use, or homelessness. This investment will help to keep Canadians safe and healthy with the health-care supports they need.

Alberta will use the funds to:

Vulnerable populations

Canadians receiving long-term care, home care, and palliative care are at an increased risk of more severe cases of COVID-19. As the economy restarts, it is important to have continued protections and supports in place for seniors, and provide health and social supports to other vulnerable populations.

The Government of Canada will provide $740 million to support costs over the next six to eight months for measures aimed at controlling and preventing infections. This could include addressing staffing issues in long-term care, home care, and palliative care facilities and services. Funding can also be used to support other vulnerable populations.

Alberta will use the funds to:

Municipalities and transit

Municipalities are on the front lines of a safe restart of the economy and need to continue to put in place appropriate precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and manage public spaces and critical services like public transit.

The Government of Canada will contribute up to $2 billion to support municipalities with COVID-19 operating costs for the next six to eight months. Provincial and territorial governments will continue to support municipalities and will cost-match federal supports with investments flowed this fiscal year for operating costs.

In addition, the Government of Canada will also contribute more than $2.3 billion to support any additional contributions by participating provinces or territories for public transit operating costs.

Funds for municipal and transit investments will be cost-shared 50/50. Contributions for municipal supports will recognize provincial and territorial operational investments flowed from April 1, 2020.

Alberta will use the funds to:

The municipal operating funds will be allocated largely on a per capita basis, with a small base amount allocated to each municipality. A portion of the funding will be set aside for the tourism centres of Banff, Jasper, and Canmore.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and non-health workers

COVID-19 has added significant pressure to the procurement and supply of PPE for essential health workers and others. Both orders of government have made significant investments in this area and worked collaboratively to ensure availability of the required equipment at all stages of the pandemic.

To support the restart of the economy, the Government of Canada will commit $4 billion to purchase PPE for national distribution to provinces and territories and $500 million to support the purchase of PPE for the non-health sector, and commit $3 billion directly to provinces and territories for previous and planned PPE investments. To facilitate future procurement, provinces and territories will regularly share relevant PPE-related data with the Government of Canada.

Alberta will use the funds to:

Child care for returning workers

The Government of Canada is working with provinces and territories to ensure sufficient child care is available so parents can gradually return to the workplace.

The Government of Canada will provide $625 million to help the sector adapt to the COVID-19 environment and address the reduced availability of child-care spaces and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic.

Alberta will use the funds to:

Pan-Canadian sick leave

To safely restart the economy, Canada must ensure that workers do not return to work if they have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms.

To encourage workers to remain at home and seek public health advice if they are showing symptoms, the Government of Canada will fund and deliver a new temporary income support program. The estimated $1.1 billion program will support workers who do not already have access to other paid sick leave. The federal government is responsible for all current and future costs of this program.

In Alberta, as of March 5, 2020, all employees who are required to self-isolate due to COVID-19 are eligible for 14 days of unpaid leave. All employees are eligible regardless of their length of service. Employees can take this leave more than once if needed, and they may still be eligible for other job-protected leaves. Employers and employees may explore alternate work arrangements, such as working from home.

Conclusion

First Ministers believe this funding must be put to use quickly to protect the health and safety of our citizens and to truly help restart the economy. In order to do so, the funding for all priorities will be transferred to Alberta through a direct single transfer. This single transfer is in addition to a September transfer for the second tranche of testing funding and is apart from the federal Pan-Canadian Sick Leave program and federal in-kind spending for testing, contact tracing, data management and PPE.

Each government will continue to report publicly on its actions, to maintain transparency and accountability to the citizens it serves.

Canadians have been well served by the strong, collaborative efforts demonstrated by First Ministers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All First Ministers reaffirm their commitment to this approach, while they continue to address their top shared priority: the well-being and safety of all Canadians.

I look forward to the implementation of the Safe Restart Agreement and our continued collaboration.

Yours sincerely,

Hon Jason Kenney PC
Premier of Alberta

Appendix: Safe Restart Agreement Alberta AllocationFootnote *

($1000s)
Priority Area Funding Totals
Childcare for Returning WorkersFootnote 1 71,856
Health Care CapacityFootnote 2 139,946
Health Care CapacityFootnote 3 81,635
Mental Health and Problematic Substance UseFootnote 4 58,311
Vulnerable populationsFootnote 5 86,300
Municipalities (Federal Contribution) 303,244
$2B envelopeFootnote 6 Footnote 7 233,244
TransitFootnote 8 70,000
Provincial Cost-Matching Requirement 303,244
Testing, Contact Tracing & Data Mgt 349,865
Payment 1Footnote 9 Footnote 10 268,230
Payment 2 (Fall 2020)Footnote 11 Footnote 12 81,635
Personal Protective EquipmentFootnote 13 349,865
Provincial ProcurementFootnote 14 Footnote 15 349,865
Sick Leave
Payment 1 1,219,441
Payment 2 (Fall 2020) 81,635
Agreement Totals 1,301,076
Including Provincial Support for Municipalities 1,604,320
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