To incentivize Albertans who have not yet received their first or second COVID-19 vaccine shot, the Alberta government will give you a one-time payment of $100.
But with that cash only being offered to a select number of people, one Edmonton business owner has taken matters into his own hands to give back to those who already have both their shots.
“When I woke up this morning, and he gave me the news, I was ecstatic,” Warp 1 Comics and Games employee Ethan Jordan said.
“It’s a pretty awesome thing to do,” Warp 1 Comics and Games employee Andrew Traynor said.
Staff members at Edmonton’s Warp 1 Comics and Games began their Saturday shift on a high note.
“We have decided, as a small business, to reward our employees,” Warp 1 Comics and Games owner David Bryenton said.
That reward is a $100 gift card for each vaccine every employee has received.
It’s a contrast to the incentive announced Friday by the province for unvaccinated Albertans or people needing a second dose.
People 18 or older who get an approved COVID-19 vaccine between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14 will get a $100 debit card.
“I felt bad for my staff having asked them to make sure they are protected, that they protect the rest of society out there and that they are not getting rewarded,” Bryenton said.
University of Calgary health law and policy associate professor Lorian Hardcastle said she understands the need for businesses owners who want to reward vaccinated employees, but that responsibility ultimately lies elsewhere.
“We now have this patchwork system where we have business owners and others trying to fill in gaps that should have been filled by the government,” Hardcastle said.
Hardcastle said this latest incentive may slightly boost vaccination rates, but its impacts are difficult to know.
Bryenton is challenging other businesses capable of rewarding their vaccinated employees to do so.
“I thought it was an amazing idea, so I told him I was going to jump on board, and I’m going to do the same thing,” Kingsgate Automotives owner Wayne Paulsen said after learning about what Bryenton has done for this staff.
Paulsen said it was an easy choice to want to recognize employees who got vaccinated and helped many struggling businesses stay open.
“They deserve a lot more because they’ve sacrificed a lot over the last almost two years now, but it’s the least I can do,” Paulsen said.