Home Regular Contributors Shane Wenzel On the Road to Recovery

On the Road to Recovery

Shane Wenzel

Once upon a time in 2020, we were blindsided by COVID-19, for which we were woefully unprepared. The good thing is ‘Once Upon a Time Never Happens Again.”

We now need to quickly find a pathway forward and move down the Road to Recovery. No, we are not waiting until September to begin, as some have suggested!

With life under lockdowns, mixed messages from the medical community and negative media faulting political leaders, it seems the pandemic’s creation was easier than the knowledge on how to cope with it. From experience, we developed a Flood Mitigation Plan, so let’s put a Pandemic Mitigation Plan in place as we recover. The Plan should be a cooperative initiative that considers all aspects of economic and mental fallout along with an intelligent medical response.

So, what is the Road to Recovery, and what would it include? The initial days of recovery will indeed be challenging with a vast number of issues to address. Despite all the gloomy language in our traditional media, and geopolitical anxiety, the vision of growth must remain focused on our economy. If we do not address the economy first, the rest of the recovery will be even more difficult.

I think we can all agree we need to begin by stopping the media’s persistent ‘COVID chatter’ and begin talking about some of the many good things promised by the UCP, which they have managed to move forward on during these difficult 15 months. The following is just a sample of what to expect.

  1. They have eliminated thousands of regulations through the Red Tape Reduction program. One regulation always leads to others, which creates costs to your industry and to consumers.
  2. A referendum vote on reducing equalization payments will be on the October 18 mMunicipal election ballot. Alberta has contributed almost $95 billion to Canada in recent years, compared to Ontario’s $58 billion during the same time, for example.
  3. Investigation is underway for an Alberta Pension Plan. Alberta has contributed 16.7% of total contributions to the National Plan, but only benefited 10.8% to retirees. This equates to a net contribution to the CPP of $2.9B in 2017 despite a weak economy and $27.9 billion over a decade. For context, over that same period, Ontario’s contribution with their much larger population was $7.4 billion.
  4. In terms of COVID relief, a new Alberta Jobs Grant program of $25,000 per employee has been made available to employers for hiring and training 22,000 unemployed Albertans and can help kickstart new graduate careers. An expanded program is offered when hiring the disabled.

I will have to rely on the media to keep you fairly informed of the many other plans underway, as I have to keep to 500 words.

The 2021 Calgary Stampede is on schedule, along with the boost it will bring to our hospitality industry. While it will be downscaled, it is a step towards getting back to our ‘old normal’ for which I am thrilled.