About 380,000 Albertans will soon have access to a $1,200 cash payment as part of the province’s recognition for providing critical services throughout the pandemic.

Alberta is providing a one-time payment to workers in health-care, social services, education and private sectors supporting the food and medical supply chains. Workers will have had to put in a minimum of 300 hours from October 12 to January 31 to be eligible for the payment.

“These workers have placed themselves at the front line of this pandemic in order to serve their fellow citizens during a crisis,” says Premier Jason Kenney. “Alberta’s government is recognizing their good work. We trust this support will help these workers continue to protect lives and livelihoods as we keep fighting this pandemic together.”

Public sector workers do not have to apply for the funding and will automatically receive payment from the Government of Alberta. In health-care it includes nurses, orderlies, patient service associates, respiratory therapists and technologist, food services, housekeeping, maintenance workers and unit clerks.

In social services, those in community disability services, personal care aides, child development workers, family and youth counsellors, crisis intervention and shelter workers, home support workers, senior lodge staff, cleaners, food preparation and maintenance workers are eligible for the benefit.

Those in the education sector include teacher assistants, bus drivers, custodians and cleaning staff and administration support.

The province adds private sector employers will be responsible for distributing the payment to eligible workers and have until March 19 to apply. Eligible private sector workers include retail workers in grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, truck transportation workers, warehouse and storage workers, food manufacturing and processing workers and private health provider workers. They must also make less than $25 an hour to be eligible.

The $465 million Critical Worker Benefit is funded by both the federal and provincial governments with the province providing $118 million.