Open letter: Alberta’s restaurant industry calls for access to Critical Worker Benefit

Published February 24, 2021

Our members in Alberta continue to be incredibly grateful for the dedication and resilience of all the frontline workers and healthcare providers across the province. Our industry stands with them and Restaurants Canada is continually encouraged to see all the ways that restaurants have been showing their support throughout the ongoing public health crisis.

In the most literal sense, restaurants are playing a critical role feeding the recovery with takeout and delivery services. Having convenient and reliable meal options has been especially important for first responders and other essential service workers, and for anyone who has had to spend time in self-isolation.

Foodservice business operators and their staff have also stepped up to support the province’s COVID-19 response by distributing masks to Albertans and keeping washrooms open for truckers during lockdowns.

Given the many ways that foodservice staff have provided essential support to Albertans over the past year, it is frustrating and disappointing that they are not now eligible for the province’s Critical Worker Benefit.

This benefit is currently offered to a wide variety of occupations in the retail sector, but not to workers with the exact same occupations in the foodservice sector (e.g., bakers, food counter attendants and kitchen helpers, cashiers and other sales-related occupations, cleaners, janitors, caretakers and building superintendents, etc.)

Discriminating against essential workers with the same occupations based on whether they are working in a retail or foodservice environment is unfair. Restaurants Canada is asking that this criteria be reviewed and that all critical frontline workers in the same occupations be eligible.

Mark von Schellwitz
Vice President, Western Canada
Restaurants Canada

Restaurants Canada Digital

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