Kenney government withholding hundreds of millions in COVID relief from health-care workers

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) President, Mike Parker, reacts to data exposing the current government’s lack of support for Albertans during the ongoing pandemic.

Edmonton — A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives shows the current UCP government is withholding hundreds of millions in federal money from front-line health-care workers and others in Alberta when they need it most. According to Picking up the Tab: A Complete Accounting of Federal and Provincial COVID-19 measures in 2020, there is more than $675 million dollars in federal money on the table for low-paid essential workers, job training in hard hit sectors, rapid housing initiatives, to make long-term care safer, and to support early childhood educators.

“While Jason Kenney is having temper tantrums and claiming a lack of support from the federal government the evidence is clear,” said HSAA president, Mike Parker. “The current government is letting Albertans down and Jason Kenney’s total abdication of leadership in the midst of this crisis is appalling.”

Alberta is receiving the most federal funding for COVID relief programs per person in Canada. The federal government is spending $343 billion during the crisis while provinces have committed to spend $31 billion – a 92% to 8% split. The exception is Alberta, where the split is 93% to 7%. Alberta is receiving $1,200 more per person than any other province for COVID programs.

“Every time this premier and his health minister stand before the public, patting themselves on the back they are misleading Albertans,” continued Parker. “Every time they try to pit us against the federal government saying we don’t get our share, they’re only trying to distract from their own growing pile of failure.”

Parker is insisting, “It’s time this government free up these funds so we can more adequately respond to this pandemic and support those who have sacrificed their livelihoods because of it.”

HSAA is 27,000 health-care professionals dedicated to protecting the public health system and the vulnerable Albertans who rely on it.

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