March 23, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 82


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Alberta Enacts Stronger Public Health Measures to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

Alberta is the most recent Canadian province to enact enhanced public health measures in response to rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers. These new restrictions are aimed at limiting social gatherings, which are the greatest source of virus transmission in the province.

Effective December 8, 2020, Alberta has imposed the following province-wide restrictions with respect to social gatherings:

  • “[a]ll indoor and outdoor social gatherings are prohibited”;

  • individuals may only have close contact with other household members, and “[p]eople who live alone can have up to 2 close contacts” outside their households; and

  • out-of-town visitors (individuals who do not live in the household or “do not have a household in Alberta”) may not reside in the household, “regardless of where they are coming from.”

Restrictions that affect businesses and workplaces include the following:

  • “Masks are mandatory in all … indoor workplaces and facilities” for employees, customers, and visitors, except when “working alone in an office or [when] a safely distanced cubicle or a barrier is in place.”

  • Retail services and shopping malls are limited to 15 percent of fire code capacity or 5 customers, whichever is greater (including grocery stores, liquor and cannabis stores, pet supply stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores).

  • In-person dining, entertainment facilities, “personal and wellness services,” and “[f]itness and recreation centres” are closed.

Notably, effective December 132020, “[w]orking from home is mandatory unless the employer requires a physical presence for operational effectiveness.”

These restrictions will be enforced with ticketed fines of Can$1,000 and additional fines of up to Can$100,000, if charged and prosecuted with a violation of a public health order. Employers continue to be required to comply with the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act in addition to the above restrictions and may also face fines for offenses under that act.

© 2023, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 351

About this Author

Christina Persad Occupational Health & Safety Attorney Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart Toronto, Canada

Christina is an associate in the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins.

Christina holds a Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety from Ryerson University, and an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies from York University.

During her time in law school, Christina was a Research Assistant in the areas of Human Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Labour Organising. Christina also participated as an Oralist on the Osgoode Hall team in the Competition Law Moot, held by the Competition Bureau of Canada before the Federal...