Celebrating excellence in child development

Minister Larivee, Speaker of the House Robert Wanner and recipients of the 2018 Minister’s Award of Excellence in Child Development.

The 2018 Minister’s Awards of Excellence in Child Development ceremony celebrated the outstanding efforts of Alberta child development professionals and encouraged them to continue their commitment to excellence in their field.

“I get to meet so many amazing childcare workers around the province, and see the life-changing difference they make for kids and their families. They inspire me and motivate me to work even harder for quality, affordable child care to be available to every Alberta family.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services

By supporting kids in their critical early years, childcare professionals help children develop their minds, social skills, motor skills and relationship-building skills. All nominees work in child care, child development programs or at Parent Link Centres.

Award recipients demonstrate excellence in one or more of the following areas:

  • innovative programming
  • inclusive practices
  • collaborative partnerships
  • leadership
  • promising practices
  • family/parent support
  • community building
  • continuous improvement   

This year’s recipients include:

  • The Muslim Community of Edmonton Child Care Program, winner of the team award for inclusive practices and family/parent support. Activities and support are offered in English and many other languages.
  • Opokaa’sin Child Care Centre, winner of a program award for family/parent support and collaborative partnerships. The centre applies traditional Blackfoot values to programming and daily interactions with parents, children and the community.
  • Viola Barabas, from Primrose Place Family Centre, winner of an individual award for inclusive practices and family/parent support. She has worked extensively with children who have special needs and works with them, their families and specialists to adapt to children’s changing needs.

Quick facts

  • The corporate sponsors for the 2018 awards are CTV and Wintergreen Learning Materials.
  • This year, 88 people were nominated for awards.
  • Since the inception of the awards program, 131 awards have been presented to child development professionals, teams or programs.


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Health, safety rules in force on farms and ranches

On Dec. 1, the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code will apply to farms and ranches that employ waged, non-family workers. The code contains technical health and safety rules and now includes new rules specifically for farms and ranches.

“Our government has the backs of working people and we value the contributions of Alberta’s farm and ranch communities. We have worked collaboratively with farmers, ranchers and workers to make changes that ensure workers in Alberta benefit from the same protections as workers in other provinces.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

“All workers have a right to return home safely each day. I am confident the new rules will ensure farm and ranch workers are better protected, just like their peers in other provinces. I want to thank Alberta producers for their hard work and for helping find the right balance.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

The new rules were created through extensive consultation with industry stakeholders during the past two years. The rules reflect the need to protect health and safety while preserving the unique way of life on farms and ranches.

Alberta farmers and ranchers created AgSafe Alberta, an industry-led, non-government health and safety association. AgSafe has developed programming and additional resources to help farmers and ranchers implement the new rules.

Healthier, safer farms and ranches

By comparing data from 2017 to 2016 – the first year health and safety rules applied to the sector – the overall injury rate decreased 21 per cent and the serious injury rate decreased 23 per cent.

Quick facts

  • About 4,100 farms and ranches in Alberta employ waged, non-family workers.
  • Family members and volunteers are exempt from the OHS rules. Neighbours can still provide support to neighbours and kids can still do chores on the farm as they have always done.
  • Eligible producers can apply for grants to help offset the costs of implementing the new rules. Up to $6 million is available during the next three years through the Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant program.
  • OHS officers are currently visiting farms and ranches to respond to complaints or investigate serious incidents or fatalities.


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Access to tidewater focus of fiscal update

Compared to last year, 42,000 new jobs were created in the province. Average weekly earnings remain strong and manufacturing sales are up 8.5 per cent.

The deficit has dropped by $1.3 billion since Budget 2018 with the $500 million risk adjustment remaining in place to protect against price volatility. As a result, our government remains on track to balance the budget as planned in 2023.

However this recovery faces a serious threat from the differential. Inadequate pipeline capacity and inaction by the federal government on crude by rail has led to a widening differential. The decline in the price of Western Canadian Select (WCS) over the past months has weighed on Alberta’s economic outlook.

“The Alberta economy continues its second year of recovery with 42,000 jobs created. The deficit continues its decline and we are on track to balance in 2023-24. But our recovery is at risk due to the punishing differential. This is a crisis. Albertans and working Canadians cannot afford to leave $80 million on the table every day. It doesn’t make sense and, if the differential is not addressed, our entire country could be plunged into a downturn. This is a national issue and it’s time Ottawa stepped up and pitched in.”   

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board & Minister of Finance

Fighting to get full value for Alberta oil

The Canadian economy is losing more than $80 million a day due to the differential. The Government of Alberta is committed to achieving market access and getting full value for Alberta oil.

“We’re fighting for the Albertans who are struggling because of the punishing differential. We’re going to keep pressing the federal government. And if they won’t act, we will.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board & Minister of Finance

2018-19 Second quarter forecast ($ millions)

Full-year forecast
Budget 2018
Q2 forecast
Change from Budget

Income taxes

15,938

16,318

380

Non-renewable resource revenue

3,829

5,322

1,493

Other revenue

28,113

27,965

(148)

Total revenue
47,879
49,605
1,726

Operating expense (excluding CLP)

47,765

47,886

121

Climate Leadership Plan operating expense

1,035

1,029

(6)

Disaster/emergency assistance expense

206

459

253

Other expense

7,175

7,243

68

Total expense
56,181
56,617
436

Risk adjustment

(500)

(500)

Deficit
(8,802)
(7,512)
1,290
Energy and economic assumptions
Budget 2018
Q2 forecast
Change from Budget

WTI (US$/bbl)

59.00

64.00

5.00

Exchange rate (US¢/Cdn$)

80.0

77.50

(2.5)

Real GDP growth (%)

2.7

2.5

(0.2)


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One-stop shop for Alberta utility consumers

The Office of the Utilities Consumer Advocate (UCA) has a proven record of educating natural gas and electricity consumers and mediating utility-related disputes. In June, the government passed An Act to Empower Utility Consumers, which expanded the mandate of the UCA to include water utilities.

Effective Dec. 1, the UCA will be a one-stop shop for people looking for help on water, natural gas and electricity issues. The UCA previously mediated disputes between consumers and electricity and natural gas providers, but can now help water utility customers with questions about billing, customer service, disconnection and metering issues.

“Albertans hit with unexpectedly high water bills told us they had nowhere to go. The UCA has a long history of mediating disputes between consumers and electricity and natural gas providers, and the UCA will now be able to help Albertans with their water bills. Finding new ways to protect consumers is another example of how we’re making life better for Albertans.”  

Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta

UCA panel up and running

In addition to the expanded mandate, a new panel that will advise on electricity and natural gas matters concerning residential, agricultural and small business consumers is now in operation.

The Power and Natural Gas Consumers Panel was created to provide advice and guidance regarding current and emerging energy consumer issues to the Minister of Service Alberta and the UCA.

The panel has nine members, including four members who represent the following stakeholder groups:

  • Alberta Chambers of Commerce
  • Alberta Federation of Agriculture
  • Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
  • Rural Municipalities of Alberta

The remaining five public members were selected through an open competition, based on a diverse range of skill sets. They bring to the panel backgrounds in policy/law, utility infrastructure, education, social work and home ownership.

The panel will meet two to four times a year and is projected to have an annual budget of $32,000. This is an 88 per cent decrease from the previous governance body, the UCA Advisory Board, which averaged an annual budget of $264,000 during the three years prior to its dissolution in 2016.


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Banning mandatory high heels in the workplace

Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code by the Government of Alberta will explicitly prohibit employers from requiring workers to use footwear that may pose health and safety risks.

“I have heard from many Alberta women in the hospitality industry that this change needs to happen. It’s clear that forcing women to wear high heels at work is a bad idea. This is an important change that will help create healthy work environments where workers can do their jobs safely and not be forced to use footwear that creates potential hazards.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

The change will provide clarity and prohibit employers from requiring servers and bartending staff to wear high heels. Prolonged high heel use is associated with workplace trips, slips, falls, painful foot conditions and skeletal and muscular injuries.

“I worked under a mandatory high heel policy and now surgery is the only option to correct the damage done to my feet. Working in an environment that prioritizes safety and comfort over looks creates a welcoming workplace. This change will protect women’s safety and will help to change the way women are viewed in the workplace.”

Lisa Caputo, owner, Cibo Bistro

The new rule does not apply to mandatory footwear for safety reasons, such as steel-toed footwear required on construction sites.

The change takes effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Quick facts

  • The online survey used for the 2017 OHS system review indicates employers (78 per cent), workers (88 per cent) and health and safety professionals (82 per cent) favour changes that prevent clothing or footwear policies from creating a hazard to workers.
  • In 2017, Ontario and B.C. passed laws banning mandatory footwear policies that potentially create hazards for workers. In 2018, Manitoba passed a similar law.


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New era for provincial, cities partnership

(L-R) Minister Ceci, Mayor Iveson and Minister Anderson announce the introduction of Bill 32, the City Charters Fiscal Framework Act.

If passed, the City Charters Fiscal Framework Act would provide Edmonton and Calgary with infrastructure funding tied to provincial revenues, meaning they would share in Alberta’s future revenue growth.

“The Government of Alberta is the highest funder of municipalities in the country because we understand the importance of local infrastructure to Albertans – it connects workers to their jobs, enables trade and attracts investment. We know that in order to support continued growth, Alberta’s two biggest cities need permanent, predictable funding for their local infrastructure priorities.”

Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

The proposed legislation is part of ongoing city charter conversations and would provide Edmonton and Calgary with a baseline of $500 million in the first year, split between the two cities. This new agreement would replace the cities’ Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding when the program is complete in 2022.

“Calgary and Edmonton are home to more than half of Albertans. This framework delivers certainty to the cities and their residents by providing permanent infrastructure funding. This historic partnership provides Edmonton and Calgary with permanent funding in a fiscally responsible way the province can afford.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

The framework would also support growth in the Calgary and Edmonton regions with $400 million annually for long-term transit funding, split between the two cities. This program would start in 2027, when current transit funding agreements are complete. Funding would come from Climate Leadership Plan revenues.

“We’ve been working towards long-term, predictable funding for Alberta’s big cities for many years. In order to be able to plan for the future and invest in areas Calgarians expect, it is critical that we have a level of financial certainty from the Government of Alberta.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

A $50-million annual program to fund significant regional infrastructure projects that support economic development would also be introduced in 2022, supporting cooperation and collaboration between municipalities. One third of the funding would go to the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board, one third to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board and one third to other regional entities on a competitive basis.

“This new funding formula recognizes the key role our city and region have in driving growth in the provincial economy. It offers a sustainable funding mechanism that will allow us to plan our upcoming budgets more effectively, and continue to build out critical infrastructure that will benefit over a million people living in the Edmonton Metro region. Most importantly, this is a deal that respects our taxpayers, by fairly balancing their interests as Edmontonians and as Albertans.”

Don Iveson, mayor, City of Edmonton

Additionally, changes are proposed to the Edmonton and Calgary city charters to give them more flexibility in how they manage growth. Amendments address areas such as:

  • Expanding the use of off-site levies in new developments.
  • Developing their own inclusionary housing programs.
  • Managing their own debt limits.
  • Adjusting local improvement tax timeframes, and other administrative items.

These regulations will be posted online for 60 days.

The Alberta government is working with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta on a replacement program for MSI for municipalities outside of Edmonton and Calgary. 

Quick facts

  • The Edmonton and Calgary city charters came into force in spring 2018.
  • Charters provide the cities with specific flexibilities and authorities to better meet the needs of citizens, in areas that require a different approach than other municipalities in Alberta.
  • Edmonton and Calgary are home to approximately 53 per cent of Albertans.


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Orders in Council

HONOURABLE MR. ANDERSON

354/2018

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ACT (section 6) – Makes the Government Emergency Management Amendment Regulation.

355/2018

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ACT (section 7.1) – Makes the Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation.

356/2018

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT (section 125) – Makes the Order Annexing Land from the Municipal District of Bonnyville No. 87 to the City of Cold Lake.

357/2018

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT (section 125) – Makes the Order Annexing Land from the Municipal District of Wainwright No. 61 to the Town of Wainwright.

358/2018

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT (sections 125, 137 and 138) – Amends Order in Council numbered O.C. 302/2016 to correct an error.

359/2018

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT (section 125) – Makes the Order Annexing Land from Leduc County and the Town of Beaumont to The City of Edmonton.

360/2018

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT (section 126) – Makes the Order Annexing Land from Sturgeon County to The City of Edmonton.

361/2018

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT ACT (sections 133, 134, 135 and 137); FOREIGN OWNERSHIP OF LAND REGULATIONS (section 14) – Makes the Order Dissolving the Town of Grande Cache.

HONOURABLE MR. BILOUS

362/2018

ALBERTA RESEARCH AND INNOVATION ACT (section 4) – Reappoints Helena Acheson and Erasmus Okine as members of the Alberta Research and Innovation Advisory Committee, each for a term to expire on December 31, 2020.

HONOURABLE MR. CARLIER

363/2018

HEATING OIL AND PROPANE REBATE ACT (section 6) – Makes the Rebate Authorization Amendment Regulation.

HONOURABLE MR. FEEHAN

364/2018

PUBLIC INQUIRIES ACT (section 2) – Amends Order in Council numbered O.C. 232/2016 to accord with changes to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

HONOURABLE MS GANLEY

365/2018

PROVINCIAL COURT ACT (section 9) – Makes the Provincial Court Civil Procedure Amendment Regulation.

HONOURABLE MS GRAY

366/2018

CHARTERED PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANTS ACT (section 23) – Appoints and reappoints several public members to a roster for the discipline tribunals, appeal tribunals and sanction agreement panels of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, each for a term to expire on November 26, 2021.

367/2018

VETERINARY PROFESSION ACT (section 13) – Approves the Veterinary Profession General Amendment Regulation.

HONOURABLE MS LARIVEE

368/2018

CHILD, YOUTH AND FAMILY ENHANCEMENT ACT (section 131) – Makes the Court Rules and Forms Amendment Regulation.

369/2018

CHILD, YOUTH AND FAMILY ENHANCEMENT ACT (section 131) – Makes the Expert Review Panel Repeal Regulation.

HONOURABLE MS MCCUAIG-BOYD

370/2018

MINES AND MINERALS ACT (sections 5 and 36) – Makes the Natural Gas Royalty Regulation, 2009 Amendment Regulation.

371/2018

MINES AND MINERALS ACT (sections 5 and 36) – Makes the Natural Gas Royalty Regulation, 2017 Amendment Regulation.

HONOURABLE MS PHILLIPS

372/2018

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND ENHANCEMENT ACT (section 90) -Appoints Chris Powter as a member of the Environmental Appeals Board for a further term to expire on November 26, 2021, and appoints Line Lacasse and Sarah Palmer as members of the Environmental Appeals Board, each for a term to expire on November 26, 2020.

Orders in Council can now be viewed on the Queen’s Printer website at: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/507.cfm

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Bright future for solar power in Alberta schools

Minister Phillips, Minister Eggen, MLA Annie McKitrick and MLA Chris Nielsen join students and faculty from Archbishop O’Leary High School to announce a new solar program for schools.

The Government of Alberta is investing $15 million from the Climate Leadership Plan to install more solar panels on schools.  The Solar for Schools program provides funding to install rooftop solar panels with rebates of up to $1.50 per watt on the solar energy generated to offset the school’s energy costs.

“I can’t think of a better class project than rooftop solar panels. Alberta is as sunny as Rio de Janeiro and the future of solar in this province has never been brighter. Schools have stepped up as enthusiastic partners in our plan to reduce emissions, recognizing that the future will be one where economy goes hand in hand with environment.”  

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister responsible for Climate Change

“Across Alberta, students regularly tell me that they want to be leaders in the fight against climate change. Learning about renewables is just one reason we’re so supportive of solar energy in schools. This is also about building more efficient schools, so more money goes to the classroom and less goes to utility bills.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

The Solar for Schools program also includes an educational component, so that students and teachers can learn more about climate change and renewable energy technology.

“We have several schools that have expressed interest in solar panels, and this new program will allow us to access funding for solar technology. Not only do solar panels provide costs savings, they provide excellent teaching opportunities for our students on renewable energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Laura Thibert, board chair, Edmonton Catholic Schools

The Solar for Schools program will be available to public, Catholic, francophone and charter school authorities for schools that have not received Alberta Education’s Solar Technology Systems grants.

The Solar for Schools program will be run by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, adding to the wide range of existing solar incentives available and helping meet the growing demand from existing schools for solar funding. The solar industry has grown by nearly 500 per cent over the last three years, with installed solar capacity rising from six MW in 2015 to 35 MW in 2018.

“Community schools are the ideal place to model renewable energy generation and energy conservation measures. The Solar for Schools program is an exciting initiative and we applaud the government for taking steps to support energy education at the community level, where all Albertans can benefit. Students can get inspired about the future, and neighbours of all ages can see the technology in action – learning about energy systems and the role each one of us plays in making our communities more sustainable for future generations.”

Susan Petrina, chair, Solar Society of Alberta

The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, a partnership between the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, is responsible for funding, technical assistance and education to Alberta municipalities in addressing climate change, and will administer the Solar for Schools program.

“We are pleased to help grow clean energy in Alberta schools. In addition to offsetting operational costs, solar installations can be used as living labs by integrating new technology into the curriculum. Schools can also help raise awareness and participation in clean energy solutions in their local community.”

Trina Innes, director, Municipal Climate Change Action Centre

Increasing the amount of solar energy generated by schools supports Alberta’s target of 30 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 by helping Alberta transition to an electricity system that is cleaner, reliable and more sustainable. School authorities will be able to apply for grants as of Nov. 28 on the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s website.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Alberta has funded solar installations at 83 schools – new schools, replacement schools and school modernizations – across the province since 2015.
  • Decisions to install solar energy systems are made by schools and school authorities.
  • Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Business Energy Solutions Program has also supported 84 schools with energy upgrades and retrofits, providing more than $800,000 in rebates.


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New office to improve supports for injured workers

As a result of the workers’ compensation system review, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans established an independent Fair Practices Office to:

  • Help workers and employers navigate the system.
  • Assist and advocate for workers and certain employers through the review and appeals process.
  • Be a place for people to raise concerns.
  • Monitor trends in the workers’ compensation system to ensure that it is working efficiently and effectively.

“During the WCB review, many Albertans shared their experiences and recommendations for how the system could be improved. That’s why we have established the independent Fair Practices Office, to ensure that workers and employers are treated fairly when dealing with the workers’ compensation system. Harold Robinson and our new Fair Practices Office will play an important role in ensuring we have a fair and sustainable workers’ compensation system and that workers get the rehabilitation they need.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

Harold Robinson has been appointed as Alberta’s first Fair Practices Commissioner for a three-year term, effective Dec. 1, 2018.

“The Fair Practices Office is new to Alberta, but it builds on values that we hold dear: fairness, progress and offering supports to those who need it the most. I’m excited to be part of the Fair Practices Office and providing a service that benefits employees and employers across Alberta.”

Harold Robinson, incoming Fair Practices Commissioner

Robinson has a long-standing public service legal career, including a focus on administrative law, governance and mediation. He holds a law degree from the University of Alberta. Robinson was called to the bar in 1994.

Prior to his appointment to lead the Fair Practices Office, Robinson was Tribunal Secretary for the Metis Settlements Appeal Tribunal with the Department of Indigenous Relations with the Government of Alberta.

Albertans who wish to reach the Fair Practices Office, can call toll-free 1-866-427-0115 or visit fpoalberta.ca starting Monday, Dec. 3.


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Visitor Services Innovation Fund expands for 2019

Tourism Jasper used the Visitor Services Innovation Fund to install a touchscreen kiosk and enhance the delivery of travel information at the Glacier Discovery Centre.

The Visitor Services Innovation Fund enables visitor services providers to deliver trip-planning information in more innovative ways, such as mobile services, ambassador programs and social media, to engage more travellers.

The program has expanded eligibility to include municipalities. Eligible visitor services providers and communities are encouraged to apply for funding before the Jan. 17, 2019 deadline.

“The incredible response to the Visitor Services Innovation Fund reflects the growing demand from travellers for information about Alberta’s destinations, attractions and experiences when, where and how they want it. By expanding the program to include municipalities, there will be even more places and ways for us to connect with visitors and highlight everything our province has to offer.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

The fund offers up to $7,000 to organizations that provide visitor services, and up to $16,000 to those that use partnerships to develop new ways to connect with more tourists.

The fund started in 2017. Since then, $206,000 has been awarded to 41 communities with 34 single and partnership grants. Project highlights for 2018 include:

  • Bragg Creek and Area Chamber of Commerce: Implemented a mobile tourism ambassador program that connects with visitors at key destinations within the community. The mobile tourism ambassador helped more than 870 visitors.
  • Crowsnest Pass Chamber of Commerce: Implemented the Adventure Advisor Program to deliver mobile visitor services at different community events and destinations to promote local experiences for visitors. The Adventure Advisor engaged with more than 1,000 visitors within two months.
  • Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce: Delivered a familiarization tour for frontline staff and volunteers, and established a mobile visitor information kiosk that is shared among partners in the region. The project is a partnership between Sundre, Mountain View County, Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona.

Quick facts

  • Tourism helps diversify Alberta’s economy, create jobs and encourage investment in communities across the province.
  • In 2016, nearly 34 million visits were made to Alberta and tourism spending totalled $8.5 billion (Statistics Canada).


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