Alberta government offers financial relief for faith-based organizations impacted by COVID-19

The Alberta legislature. Caley Ramsay, Global News

Faith-based and cultural organizations in Alberta are now eligible to apply for one-time grants of up to $5,000 to “recover costs associated with COVID-19,” the provincial government announced on Monday.

“The ability to gather for worship and connect with our communities is critical for our mental health and well-being,” Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women Minister Leela Sharon Aheer said in a news release.

“The Faith-based and Cultural Facility Grant will help ensure these organizations can continue to give back to their communities, host gatherings and celebrate important holidays while following public health guidelines.”

READ MORE: Alberta’s relaunch sees restrictions eased on places of worship: ‘Such a blessing’ 

The government said it has earmarked $1 million to pay for the initiative which is aimed at offsetting costs incurred by faith-based and cultural groups as they take steps to follow public health measures like upgrading facilities, offering PPE and hosting online events during the pandemic.

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“Eligible expenses include PPE, cleaning supplies and services, contactless dispensers, translation and printing services for health-related signage, small facility space changes to allow for physical distancing and increased ventilation, and technology upgrades for online delivery of services,” the government said.

The government noted that such organizations “are not typically eligible for existing pandemic response funding” and have seen reduced donations and rental revenues.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta’s places of worship differ in COVID-19 responses 

The grants can be applied to recover costs incurred between April 1, 2020 and March 1, 2021. The government said applications will be processed following the first deadline of Dec. 15 and after the program closes on March 1, 2021.

“By working together, we can help limit exposure to COVID-19 and protect one another,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.

“This grant will make it easier for faith-based organizations to limit the spread in Alberta, while they provide fellowship and support to their communities.”

For more information, click here.

Watch below: (From April 2020) It’s the holiest day on the Christian calendar but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches are celebrating Easter Sunday differently this year. Masses have moved online, to your TV and even to parking lots. Nicole Stillger reports.

Click to play video: 'Drive-in Easter Sunday service held in Fort Saskatchewan parking lot amid COVID-19 pandemic' Drive-in Easter Sunday service held in Fort Saskatchewan parking lot amid COVID-19 pandemic
Drive-in Easter Sunday service held in Fort Saskatchewan parking lot amid COVID-19 pandemic – Apr 12, 2020

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