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Alberta expected to recognize essential COVID workers; NDP says get them top-up funds

Last Updated Feb 10, 2021 at 7:01 am MDT

A doctor in an Alberta health care facility appears overwhelmed. (CREDIT: Alberta Health Services)

EDMONTON – Premier Jason Kenney is expected to discuss a plan Wednesday to recognize Alberta’s hundreds of thousands of critical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Opposition NDP said Kenney needs to recognize it’s time to use hundreds of millions of dollars in available federal funding to top up wages.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley says the United Conservative government has used $30 million out of the $347-million maximum in eligible federal funding for essential workers under a deal brokered last year between Ottawa and the provinces.

RELATED: Provinces sitting on millions in unspent federal pandemic funding, report says

The federal government promised to provide up to $3 billion if the provinces contributed $1 billion.

Notley said not only is the pay being denied to workers in high-risk jobs, but Alberta is also missing out on the effect the extra spending would have in stimulating the economy.

Kenney has said the government doesn’t plan to leave $317 million on the table.