The Free Press – June 20, 2017

(Left to right) Colin Piquette, Justin Bourne, Shyann Kott, Zoe Rokos, Jaida Froese, Arianna Meneses, Steven Langer, Cooper Dach, Jeremy Pater, Liam Saunders. Lilian Schick School was presented with a cheque for $73,836 from the Government of Alberta on June 2, 2017 as a matching grant in support of their playground addition. The school has already raised nearly $148,000 with support from community organizations such as Northwest Redwater Refinery,Agrium Crop Production Services, and Pembina. The school hopes to have the playground construction under way early in the fall

Alberta stands firm in support of forestry

June 27, 2017 Media inquiries

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier issued the following statement in response to the United States’ anti-dumping action against Canada and Alberta’s softwood industry:

“We continue to stand with Alberta’s forest workers, their families and the communities that rely on a robust forest industry.

“International tribunals have consistently ruled in our favour following U.S. allegations of Canadian lumber subsidies and we are confident we will prevail again for the fifth time.

“Defending Alberta jobs and fair market access remains our top priority as we work closely with the federal government and other affected provinces.

“Together, we have developed plans to help support Albertans in addressing the possible effects of a prolonged trade dispute.

“We are also working with industry to increase domestic use and access to other international markets to open up new economic opportunities for our forestry sector.

“As we move forward, we will continue to advocate for secure access for our lumber products into the important U.S. market.   

“Our Washington, D.C. office remains heavily engaged on this file and is working closely with former Canadian ambassador Gary Doer who is providing a strong voice in Washington, on behalf of our government, Alberta’s producers and our softwood lumber interests.

“At the end of the day, it is in the best interests of all parties that a new Softwood Lumber Agreement is reached to continue our strong trade relationship, create certainty for consumers and support working families and businesses in the forestry sector.”


Sun rises on solar rebates

The beginning of summer marks the official launch of Energy Efficiency Alberta’s $36-million Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

Starting June 21, homeowners can receive up to 30 per cent off solar panel installation costs, to a maximum rebate of $10,000. Businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible for up to 25 per cent of system costs, to a maximum rebate of $500,000. Rebates are based on the size of the installation and calculated at $0.75 per watt.

“This solar program helps Albertans lower their utility bills and invest in their homes. Solar jobs are growing and the industry is putting Albertans back to work. Solar electricity puts the power in Albertans’ hands, making life more affordable while diversifying the economy and reducing carbon pollution.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

“We are introducing bold, new environmental sustainability initiatives across Canada in an effort to reduce our environmental impact. It was heartening to learn that Energy Efficiency Alberta and the Residential and Commercial Solar Program will be encouraging others to take action. This reinforces our efforts by allowing us to invest in technology that further reduces our carbon footprint.”

Peter Simons, CEO, Simons

“Solar uptake has doubled since 2015 and will only continue to grow as costs come down. This rebate program has been a missing piece in making the push toward solar and renewable generation in Alberta.”

Monica Curtis, CEO, Energy Efficiency Alberta

“This is an exciting day for solar in Alberta. This program will create good jobs in engineering, project management, manufacturing, sales, construction and more. It will also help Albertans reduce emissions, save on electricity costs and add value to their homes and businesses.”

David Vonesch, COO, SkyFire Energy

All applicants to the two-year program must own or have long-term rights to their property. Systems must also be designed and installed by qualified installers using CSA-approved panels and components or applicable certification to Canadian standards.

Once a system is installed, inspected and connected, Albertans will receive a direct deposit in 10 to 15 business days. Albertans wanting to ensure their project is eligible can apply directly at Energy Efficiency Alberta for pre-approval. Systems installed prior to April 15, 2017 are not eligible for a rebate.

Quick facts:

  • The Residential and Commercial Solar Program is expected to create roughly 50 megawatts of solar capacity and support the creation of 900 jobs in Alberta’s solar sector by 2019.
  • Without incentives, Alberta’s solar uptake is projected to grow from two megawatts to just 30 megawatts over the next five years. With this program, solar uptake is expected to quadruple each year – increasing to eight megawatts in 2017 and up to 140 megawatts by 2022.
  • An average Alberta household uses 7,200 kWh per year, which would be generated by a 5.5 kW system in Calgary or a 6.3 kW system in Edmonton.
    • A 5.5 kW system in Calgary would be eligible for a rebate of $4,100 on a solar PV system costing approximately $15,000-$17,000.
    • A 6.3 kW system in Edmonton would be eligible for a rebate of $4,700 on a solar PV system costing approximately $17,000-$19,000.

Related information

New school fees rules make life more affordable

The province is easing the burden on parents by eliminating instructional and bus charges for tens of thousands of students and requiring approval for other increases.

The new School Fees and Costs Regulation and the School Transportation Regulation remove the ability of school boards to charge for textbooks, workbooks, printing, photocopying and paper as well as bus fees for students living 2.4 kilometres or more from their designated school.

Busing fees have also been eliminated for special-needs students and kindergarten students travelling home over the noon hour. Students who live 2.4 kilometres or more from their designated school and take municipal transit will only pay the difference between provincial transportation funding and the cost of a municipal transit pass.

In addition, ministerial approval is now required for fees increasing by more than five per cent year-over-year.

“Our government is reducing school fees as we work to protect and improve education and make life better for Alberta families. These fees have gone unregulated for too long and most significant increases will now require my review and approval. We will continue to work with parents, school boards and other education partners to make even further reductions to fees in the years ahead.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

School boards are responsible for setting school fees within the five per cent limit. Items like school bell times and professional development days are also at the sole discretion of individual school boards.

The new School Fees and Costs Regulation and the School Transportation Regulation were signed into law on June 5, 2017. 

Related information

Redwater Freedom of the City June 10th

It was an honour and a pleasure to attend the Freedom of the City day in Redwater this past Saturday. A great event, thanks to the Town, 

1 CMBG HQ and Sig Sqn, and of course our wonderful Lieutenant Governor. Some traditions are definitely worth keeping and this is one. Thanks again!

Athabasca Gutsy Walk – June 4, 2017

I’d like to thank the organizers for inviting me to be a part of the Gutsy Walk and all the volunteers that made it possible.  It was a privilege to attend such a well-organized and fun event.
I hope that there can be a better understanding of these diseases and that better treatments are found. Congratulations on raising over seven thousand dollars!

“This event speaks to the community spirit here in Athabasca. ”
-MLA Colin Piquette