Alberta releases list of essential services and orders non-essential businesses to close immediately | Bennett Jones LLP

In response to the growing risk the COVID-19 virus poses to Albertans, on March 27, 2020, the Government of Alberta made several announcements regarding the closure of businesses, workplaces and facilities, including the immediate closure of all “non-essential businesses”. The government has also published a list of essential services in the province.

Unlike similar mandatory closures of non-essential workplaces in Ontario, the Alberta government has not set a specific date for the start of these measures, which presumably means they take effect immediately. Similarly, the government has not indicated for how long these measures will be in place.

Essential services in Alberta

A complete list of essential services has been provided here. In particular, the Government of Alberta’s list of essential services includes a detailed and extensive list of businesses in the “petroleum, natural gas and coal” industry, such as petroleum product storage, pipelines, terminals , rail transport, road transport; the drilling, extraction, production, servicing, processing, refining, terminal operations, transportation and retailing of petroleum for use as end-use fuels or feedstock for manufacturing products chemicals; and the workers needed to manufacture the materials and products needed for energy.

The list of essential services in Alberta also specifies a number of agricultural and horticultural businesses that can remain open, such as services and businesses that grow, harvest, process, manufacture, produce or distribute food, and businesses in the food supply chain such as animal feed. mills and grain elevators.

The government has recognized that essential workplaces that are not restricted or ordered to close can have more than 15 workers on a job site provided all public health guidelines are followed, including safety measures. social distancing. The government advises employers to:

  • self-evaluate and find other ways to hold large group meetings;
  • cancel workplace gatherings of 15 or more people in one space (e.g. training events);
  • employ mitigation strategies to limit risks; and
  • continue business continuity planning to prepare critical operations for any potential disruptions.

Additionally, the Government of Alberta has announced that all on-site dine-in services are prohibited and restaurants can only operate through take-out, delivery and drive-thru services.

Non-essential businesses

According to the Government of Alberta, non-essential businesses include:

  • gift, hobby, antique and specialty stores;
  • non-essential health and beauty care providers;
  • clothing stores that sell men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as unisex clothing, lingerie and maternity, shoes, bridal wear, jewelry and accessories; and
  • retail stores that sell luggage, art and framing supplies, computers and game equipment, toys, photos, music, books and sporting goods.

Note that non-essential businesses may choose to offer online shopping and curbside pickup.

Finally, the Government of Alberta announced that Albertans are prohibited from accessing close contact personal services, such as personal service facilities, cosmetic enhancement services, studios and wellness clinics. be, non-emergency and non-critical health services. It also included non-emergency and non-critical health services provided by regulated health professionals or registered professionals, such as non-emergency or non-emergency dentistry, physiotherapy and massage.

What this means for Alberta businesses

We will provide further updates as they become available, and what this means for Alberta businesses. Members of our firm, including Bennett Jones Employment Services Group and senior public policy advisors are available to answer your questions regarding operation as an essential service and the closure of non-essential businesses in Alberta resulting from COVID-19. If your business is not on the list of essential workplaces, but you believe it should be due to the nature of the business, Bennett Jones’ attorneys and senior public policy advisers can help you make effective representations to the government.

Bennett Jones wrote on the list of essential workplaces in Ontario under the province’s COVID-19 emergency order. We have also provided an overview of mandatory closures and restrictions on business across Canada in response to the pandemic.

Michelle J. Kelley