Message From the Deputy Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women

APRIL 24, 2020

Volunteers are the foundation of our community life, and Alberta is proud to celebrate the incredible contributions Albertans make through a wide range of volunteering activities – whether simply caring for one another, or pitching in to help our local community organizations support those that are most vulnerable.  

Albertans have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic but continue to demonstrate resilience and compassion for one another during this time of crisis. Premier Jason Kenney has issued a call to Albertans to help out however they can during this time of crisis, recognizing that our first priority is the health and safety of Albertans. All Albertans are encouraged to follow the advice of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, for social distancing, limiting the number of people in public spaces and wearing masks in crowded places. Guidelines for safe volunteering are available on Alberta.ca/COVID-19. 

As a key organization working to build our community and support our volunteers, we ask for your support to encourage Albertans to find appropriate and safe volunteering opportunities to help us through this crisis. Many resources and opportunities for volunteering are available by:

·       Visiting the new Alberta Cares Connector website to find volunteer opportunities. We also encourage organizations to post opportunities. And, if your resources are strapped at this time, consider engaging a volunteer to help post your opportunities!

·       Directing Albertans to 211 Alberta’s resource and referral network for local opportunities.

If you know of some great things happening in your community in response to COVID-19, we hope you will consider nominating an individual, a group of people or an organization for the new Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Award. The program is intended to recognize and celebrate the amazing spirit, resilience and kindness of Albertans during a time of COVID-19. The nomination is designed for ease of access, requesting that you go online at Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program and submit a short 300-word story about the person or group you want to nominate. Please help us to recognize the incredible contributions of Albertans during this time!

Lastly, I know that Alberta’s non-profits are experiencing significant impacts and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alberta government and federal government have a number of supports in place to assist legally incorporated non-profits and registered charities. This includes faith-based groups as well as organizations related to sports and recreation, arts and culture, the environment, newcomer settlement, housing, social services, community development, education and research, volunteerism, unions, and professional associations. I’m attaching a fact sheet outlining the current available supports that I hope you will find useful.

Sincerely,

Leela Sharon Aheer

Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women

APRIL 15, 2020

Albertans have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but continue to demonstrate resilience and compassion for one another during this time of crisis. Volunteers are the foundation of our community life and we all need them now more than ever. I’m writing to let you know that the Government of Alberta is partnering with Volunteer Connector to help organizations connect with potential volunteers in your community.

Volunteer Connector (volunteerconnector.org) is a province-wide platform that offers nonprofit organizations a place to post their volunteer opportunities. On the site, the public can search for opportunities in their community.

As part of this partnership, during this unprecedented time, Volunteer Connector has waived the administration fees typically associated with their site, in hopes of helping connect nonprofit organizations with volunteers. I encourage you to post your COVID-19 response volunteer needs on Volunteer Connector, as I know many Albertans are ready and eager to help. If your resources are strapped at this time, consider engaging a volunteer to help post these opportunities! 

Please share this information with your networks as well, so other organizations can post their opportunities.

Thank you for your support to encourage Albertans to find appropriate and safe opportunities to help through this crisis.

Sincerely,

Leela Sharon Aheer

Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women

MARCH 20, 2020

The Alberta government continues to support Albertans during this unprecedented global public health emergency. 

Premier Kenney announced a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation. This program also includes people who are the sole caregiver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated. That money will be available starting next week to help them make ends meet until federal supports start on April 1. An online application will be made available on alberta.ca.

Albertans can defer their electricity and natural gas utility payments for residential, farm and small commercial customers for 90 days.

Post-secondary students will have a six-month, interest-free break from student loan payments.

ATB Financial and Alberta credit unions are offering deferrals on loans and mortgages to customers affected by COVID-19.

Government will not collect corporate income taxes until August 31, 2020.

The news release at alberta.ca/covid has more detail.

This announcement is important information for your stakeholders as well. I ask for your help in sharing it with them. You will receive materials to share in the coming days.

You bring incredible empathy, flexibility and concern to today’s new reality. Government brings its commitment and resources. Albertans bring their legendary resilience. Together we will help students, workers and everyone get through this dark time and emerge stronger than ever. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lora Pillipow

Deputy Minister

Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women