In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and working towards the province's economic recovery, the Alberta Government introduced the Jobs Now program providing up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses with job supports to get Albertans back to work and help businesses reopen or grow their workforce.
Employers can apply for funding to offset the cost of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans in new or vacant positions.
Private sector businesses and non-profit organizations across all industries can apply for funding to reduce the costs of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans. When hiring persons with disabilities, an employer will receive 1.5 times the amount of funding.
The grant can be used to:
1. Offset salary or training costs, or both, equal to:
- 25% of a new hire's salary up to $25,000 per employee
- 37.5% of the new hire's salary up to $37,500 per employee with a disability
2. Apply for up to 20 full-time new hires per intake period
Application Periods and Disbursement of Funding
There are three intake periods:
- Intake 1: May 20 to August 31, 2021
- Intake 2: September 15 to December 31, 2021
- Intake 3: To be announced
Please note that employees cannot apply for the grant, but are encouraged to inform potential employers of the Jobs Now program.
Payments are issued to employers in one of two ways:
1. One Payment: up to 100% of the grant is paid to the employer after new hires have been employed for 52 weeks
2. Two Payments: half of the eligible grant is paid to the employer when the new hires have been employed for three months, and the other half paid when the new hires have been employed for 52 weeks.
To be eligible, organizations must be one of the following legal entities:
- Private business or partnership that:
- Has a valid Alberta Corporate Access Number (ACAN)
- Is incorporated for more than a year
- Is located and operational in Alberta
- Sole proprietors who:
- Have a valid trade name number
- Have been registered in the Alberta Corporate Registry for more than a year
- Are located and operational in Alberta
If the sole proprietor has coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act, they must submit a Workers' Compensation Board (WCB-Alberta) clearance letter.
If the sole proprietor is in a WCB-Alberta exempt industry under the Workers' Compensation Act they must submit the following:
- WCB-Alberta exempt industry letter, and
- a copy of their federal payroll deductions or GST registration
- Non-profit organizations that:
- Have been registered or incorporated for more than year
- Have a valid ACAN, where applicable
- Are located and operational in Alberta
Eligible organizations must:
- Be hiring for new or vacant full-time positions in Alberta for at least 52 weeks
- Provide safe working conditions and be in good standing and compliance with the Employment Standards Code, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Workers' Compensation Act, and all other applicable legislation and regulations
- Have met or currently meet all obligations to the province under previous grant agreements
The following organizations are not eligible to receive funding under the program:
- Businesses or non-profits incorporated or registered less than one year
- Federal, provincial or municipal governments
- Public sector organizations, such as public post-secondary institutions, schools, school boards, hospitals, health authorities, etc.
- Political parties
- Provincial or federal Crown agencies, boards, commissions, or corporations
- First Nations – businesses owned by First Nations are eligible
- Businesses and organizations that are not in operation for the 52-week duration of the grant.
Eligible New Hires
To be eligible under the program, new hires must be:
- An unemployed individual
- This includes an individual employed in a part-time position at a company other than the employer applicant (average of fewer than 30 hours per week).
- A new hire of the employer
- New hires must be hired on or after the program launch date
- The start date for new hires can be no longer than 120 days from the application approval
- New hire information must be submitted within 30 days after the eligible employee's date of hire
- A previous employee of the employer can be considered a new hire, if they have not been working for the employer applicant, part or full time for the past 90 days
- A resident of Alberta and will be working in the province
- A Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or protected persons under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, who is legally entitled to work in Canada.
Replacing New Hires
Under the Alberta Jobs Now Program, employers must hire unemployed Albertans for a minimum of 52 weeks in order to receive a wage and/or training subsidy. Employers can replace original hires twice within the 52-week duration of the grant.
To replace a new hire, the employer must:
- Contact the Alberta Jobs Now Program at email@example.com and identify the new hire being replaced and their last day of employment
- Submit the replaced new hire's pay stubs via email
- The current new hire's status will be changed to state 'New-Hire Replaced' in the application portal
- The employer will enter the information for the replacement new hire (including unemployment documentation and job offer letter) in the Alberta Jobs Now Program application portal and will be notified by email when the new hire is processed
Note: employers will have a total of 120 days to hire for each approved position, including original hires and any replacement hires. If hiring of original and replacement new hires takes more than 120 days, the position will not be eligible for a full grant payment based on 52 weeks of employment.
Ineligible new hires
The following new hires are not eligible under the program:
- Previous employees who were purposefully terminated or laid off by the employer to receive the Alberta Jobs Now program grant
- Individuals who leave their current full-time position to move to another full-time position
- Company owners, directors, or board members of the employer applicant or self-employed individuals cannot apply for the grant to fund themselves
- Immediate family of the company owner or director/board member
or self-employed individual:
- immediate family members include, but are not limited to a spouse, common-law partner, adult interdependent partner, child (biological, step, adopted), parent, or sibling
- Current and previous employees who have worked for the employer in the past 90 days
- Any person who was a previous participant in the Alberta Jobs Now program for the same employer
- Any person who is not a resident of or will not be working in Alberta
- Full-time self-employed individuals
- Temporary foreign workers or anyone temporarily working in Canada
Eligible training must meet the following criteria to be eligible under the Alberta Jobs Now program:
- Relevant to the current operational needs of the business and result in skills development directly connected to the available job
- Delivered online, onsite, or in a classroom, and may be undertaken part-time or full-time
- Started and completed within the duration of the grant
- Takes place in Alberta except under exceptional circumstances
Funding through the Alberta Jobs Now program may be used to cover the following direct training costs:
- Tuition fees or fees charged by a training provider
- Mandatory student fees
- Textbooks, software, and other required materials
- Examination fees
The following training is not eligible under the program:
- Apprenticeship training
- Self-study for an exam
- Training for personal interest
- Any training that is or will be funded for the same employee under a different training program, for example, the Canada-Alberta Job Grant
- Travel costs related to training
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.