Labour Day is typically a much-needed holiday for Albertans, but this year many people in the province or out of work.

“We need to make sure that every albertan has the opportunity to get back to work as fast as humanly possible,” said Minister of Jobs and Innovation Doug Schweitzer.

Schweitzer has a big hill to climb in his new portfolio as minister of jobs, economy and innovation.

Job numbers released for August show nearly 12 per cent of Albertans are out of work, an improvement over July.

Schweitzer is teasing a new strategy to turn the economy around that will be revealed later this fall.

“People are going to see the fact that we’re making strategic investments for the future of this province which is going to lay the foundation here for the future of Alberta,” he said.

But New Democrat jobs critic Deron Bilous says the plan needs to be more than a tax cut for big business. Since taking power, the government has reduced the corporate tax rate from 12 per cent to 8. 11.

“It actually did not help create a single job. What they did this year is double down on that gamble,” Bilous said.

Bilous believes emerging sectors like technology need to be supported.

“To attract talent here, but also to retain our graduates and our talent here in our province.”

“They need to pay close attention to small businesses,” said Annie Dormuth of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

A recent survey by the CFIB found only two thirds of small businesses in Alberta have fully re-opened after the COVID shutdown, and 19 per cent fear they will have to permanently close.

“When you think about that, that is one in five businesses on Whyte Avenue, who are actually considering closing their business right now, and this really should be sounding the alarm,” she said.

Dormuth says businesses need rent relief and extended protection from eviction, especially as Albertans are shopping and spending less.

“Really think small business every day, and make the conscious effort to shop at a local business when possible.” 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson.