Made-in-Alberta plan protects energy jobs

In Dec. 2018, Premier Rachel Notley announced a Request for Expression of Interest to determine business cases for investing in a new refinery in Alberta or tied to Alberta production.

Premier Rachel Notley and her government fought to protect workers and the Canadian economy by taking action in the short, medium and long term.

“For decades, Albertans have been talking about getting more value for our oil here at home. It’s time to stop settling for less. We’re grabbing the bull by the horns with a made-in-Alberta strategy to create more jobs, open new markets for our oil and gas, and make more of the energy products the world needs.”

Rachel Notley, Premier

Major boost to energy upgrading

In the long term, the province doubled support for petrochemical upgrading to $2.1 billion, which will leverage private investment that’s expected to help create about 15,000 jobs.

Alberta also created a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) investment team to work directly with industry on reducing barriers for securing final investment decisions on export projects that will increase the value of Alberta’s natural gas resources.

In response to strong industry encouragement, Alberta is taking action to explore private-sector interest in building a new oil refinery in the province. Building new refining capacity would create good-paying, long-term jobs for Albertans while helping lower the oil price differential over the long term.

“Large industrial value-add energy investments help provide economic resilience and diversification, and create highly skilled, well-paying jobs for decades. Alberta has abundant feedstock, skilled labour and the ability to refine our resources to high-value products the world needs. There is significant international competition for these projects and for Alberta to compete, government and industry must work together. We commend the government’s focus on ensuring that the value of Alberta’s resources stays with Albertans.”

David Chappell, chair, Resource Diversification Council

Fighting for pipelines and market access

The government also continued its fight for new pipelines. Premier Notley’s advocacy was instrumental in the federal government’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline. As well, the Premier continues to fight for needed changes on two federal bills:

  • Bill C-69, which would create a new, far-reaching impact assessment process for resource development projects.
  • Bill C-48, which would impose a moratorium on oil tankers off the north coast of B.C.

This year, the province also launched the nationwide Keep Canada Working campaign to explain to Canadians the benefits of new pipeline access. The latest push includes a real-time lost-revenue counter to show just how much Canadians are missing out on by keeping Alberta’s energy resources landlocked.

“Under Premier Rachel Notley’s leadership, more Canadians than ever before support this project because they know we shouldn’t be selling our products on the cheap. There’s too much at stake. We will keep the federal government’s feet to the fire so that this project isn’t delayed any further.”

Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy

Over the medium term, the government took action to build more capacity for moving oil by rail to clear the backlog and stabilize the market. Upwards of 7,000 new rail cars will come online in 2019 to move 120,000 barrels a day out of the province to markets where Alberta oil can earn the best value possible.  

In the short term, Premier Notley protected the value of Alberta’s resources by mandating a temporary reduction in oil production. The decision, in response to a historically high oil price differential, has prevented thousands of job losses and helped restore the value of Alberta’s oil. The price gap is caused by the federal government’s decades-long inability to build pipelines.

Saving industry time and money

A more efficient regulatory process means new oil and gas projects can begin operating faster, creating jobs and maintaining competitiveness. The new process is fairer, faster and more accessible, saving industry hundreds of millions of dollars while making the process more transparent and accessible for Albertans. The new approach is expected to save industry $600 million by 2021, and is helping reduce the regulatory review time for an oil sands project from five years to just 15 months.

Strong energy future in the oil sands

Two major oil sands milestones were also celebrated in 2018. Premier Notley and Minister McCuaig-Boyd joined Suncor for the successful startup of the Fort Hills project, which put 7,900 people to work at the peak of construction and is employing 1,400 people full time now that the project is operational.

The government also highlighted a new $400-million investment in the Long Lake South West project by Nexen, a wholly owned subsidiary of CNOOC Ltd. With leading-edge technology, the project illustrates that a major oil sands producer can be both an energy and environmental leader while showing a long-term commitment to creating good jobs in Alberta’s energy sector.

“The Long Lake South West project demonstrates CNOOC Limited’s long-term commitment to the Alberta energy sector. Our oil sands development is an important component of our global portfolio, and through technological advancements we are pleased to be responsibly growing our production while reducing our overall emissions.”

Quinn Wilson, CEO, CNOOC North America

New jobs, private investment in wind power

Private companies are partnering with First Nations to invest close to $1.2 billion in renewable energy projects in Alberta. This helps create new jobs and continues with record-setting low prices for Albertans. These results showcase Alberta as a proud leader in all forms of energy.

The five successful projects are made possible through the latest phase of the Alberta government’s Renewable Electricity Program. They include investments from homegrown Alberta companies, as well as from new investors from across Canada and around the world.

In total, the new developments will create about 1,000 jobs, attract new economic opportunities for Indigenous communities and bring an estimated $175 million in rural benefits over the life of the projects.


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New year 2019: Statement from Premier Notley

“With New Year’s Eve upon us, we bid farewell to another year while looking ahead to Alberta’s bright future.

“As we enter 2019, we continue to fight for good jobs, a strong economy and the need to move our energy to tidewater.

“2018 is a year we won’t soon forget, but as challenging as it was at times, what strikes me most as I look back is the resiliency and determination of Albertans.

“2019 will find Albertans ready to tackle challenges with strength, ingenuity and grace. No matter where we live, how we pray or who we love, we step into a new year striving for a vibrant future.

“More Albertans are working than ever before. Thanks to an increase in minimum wage, Alberta’s lowest income earners are better able to provide for their families. Workers gained better protections on the job, and parents of 6,000 children received $25-a-day child care.

“As Premier, I will keep fighting for you and with you. On behalf of the Government of Alberta, I wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.

“Happy new year, Alberta!”


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Putting families first in 2018

Premier Rachel Notley and Minister Danielle Larivee celebrate the opening of Legacy Child Care ELCC Centre, Slave Lake (April 2018).

This year, 100 new $25-a-day affordable child care centres opened in Alberta, adding to the 22 centres that were already in operation. The expansion of the program, which has now created spaces for 7,300 kids, meant more Albertans were able to re-enter the workforce in 2018 and parents saved an average of $425 every month on child care.

“Parents across Alberta tell me that $25-a-day child care is the single biggest life-changer for their families. It means they can go back to work and afford things like winter coats or dental work for their kids. We’re working to make quality child care affordable for every family in the province.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services

More than 32,000 students also started school this year in new and modernized learning spaces, thanks to the largest infrastructure build in Alberta’s history. In total, 37 new and modernized schools will open across the province during the 2018-19 school year.

“Our government knows that investing in our education system is one of the most important investments we can make in our province’s future, and that is why we will continue to make these important investments. Since May 2015, our government has funded 244 school projects in every corner of the province.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

The government also expanded its school nutrition program this year to ensure students across the province could focus on their studies and not their stomachs. The program started in the 2016-17 school year, but because of its overwhelming success it was expanded in 2017-18 to all 61 publicly funded school authorities in Alberta, resulting in more than 33,000 students receiving a daily nutritious meal.

To improve the health and well-being of children and families, the government also invested in mental health supports, including:  

  • $566,000 to the Calgary Counselling Centre to expand its services for children, youth and families facing anxiety, depression and stress.
  • $1.2 million over three years to the Zebra Centre in Edmonton to ensure children and their families have increased access to immediate crisis intervention, mental health assessments and caregiver support.
  • $500,000 to Hospice Calgary to support professional counsellors and group programs for children, youth and families dealing with grief after the death of someone close to them due to homicide, suicide, accident, overdose or sudden medical or terminal illness.   

The government also helped families get the care they need closer to home by supporting a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert and opening a redeveloped maternity care unit at the Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary.

“Families deserve to know that the supports and services they rely on will be there when they need them. I’m proud that our government has had the backs of vulnerable Albertans, and that we’ve continued to invest in our families’ futures. We will continue putting families first, ensuring needed resources are in place across the province.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

The Alberta Child Benefit also continued in 2018. Families earning less than $41,746 per year in family net income continue to receive additional money to meet their needs. The maximum annual benefit is $1,114 for families with one child and up to $2,785 for families with four or more children.


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Alberta’s economic recovery continues

The Government of Alberta announced the Capital Investment Tax Credit program announcement at the Tolko Industries High Prairie plant in March 2018.

More Albertans are working and job opportunities are growing, with more than 58,900 jobs created in the past year. Alberta continues to have the highest employment rate in the country and the highest weekly earnings, while paying the lowest taxes in Canada. On average, Albertans pay $11 billion less in taxes a year compared to the next lowest-taxed jurisdiction.

“In 2018, we saw the recovery in Alberta’s economy become more entrenched. Jobs are up and the deficit has dropped. While we have seen our fair share of challenges, our government remains on track to balance the budget as planned in 2023. We will continue to act on behalf of Albertans to ensure our economy remains strong.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Alberta’s economy also continued to diversify this year with food and chemical manufacturing being strong contributors to the economy. Recent expansions saw food manufacturing shipments grow to record levels in 2018, with payroll employment in this sector expanding more than nine per cent this year. Chemical manufacturing also saw solid growth with real GDP growing to nearly eight per cent per year since 2014.

This strong growth in food and chemical manufacturing, along with gains in other categories like machinery, metals and non-metallic minerals, pushed non-energy exports to a new record high in October, and up 12 per cent overall in 2018.

“Alberta’s economy is creating good jobs across sectors and we’ve seen new opportunities for entrepreneurs, growth in our tech sector and attractive investment opportunities in our petrochemical industries. We’ll continue to support diversification through targeted investments that support businesses and communities across the province.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Alberta’s tax credit programs continue to support growth across sectors. The Alberta Investor Tax Credit program has helped foster a more diversified economy by encouraging investments in non-traditional sectors. More than $28 million in tax credits have been approved to date, supporting more than 200 businesses and $94 million in investments. Overall, the Alberta Investor Tax Credit program is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs over the life of the program. Registration for this program is ongoing.

Likewise, the Capital Investment Tax Credit program has seen significant uptake. Tax credits from the first three rounds are expected to support nearly 3,000 direct jobs and more than 12,000 indirect jobs, with companies investing more than $2 billion to build or upgrade their facilities. The next intake will be in January 2019.

Two new tax credit programs were introduced in 2018. The Interactive Digital Media tax credit will support growth in the interactive digital media industry, encourage corporations to stay in Alberta and attract talented tech entrepreneurs to the province. Alberta’s interactive digital media industry offers significant growth potential and already contributes up to $80 million towards Alberta’s annual GDP. The Interactive Digital Media tax credit program is open for applications until Jan. 31, 2019, The Community Economic Development Corporation tax credit will support Alberta investors and businesses working together to advance rural economic development and social impact initiatives in their communities. Registration for the Community Economic Development Corporation tax credit is ongoing.

Quick facts

  • According to Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey, the number of employed people in Alberta has increased by 112,100 since falling to a recession low in June 2016. In November 2018, Alberta employment reached a record level of 2,358,900. 
  • After reaching a recession high of 9.0 per cent in November 2016, Alberta’s unemployment rate has dropped to 6.3 per cent in November 2018.
  • During the first nine months of 2018, average weekly earnings (including overtime) rose 2.7 per cent to $1,149 (after rising only 1.0% in 2017).
  • Alberta exported $98.7 billion worth of goods in the first 10 months of 2018, up 18 per cent from 2017.
  • In the first 10 months of 2018, oil production reached 548,000 cubic metres per day, up 10.2 per cent from 2017.
  • In August 2018, Alberta recorded the highest levels of oil production in the province’s history, reaching 593,000 cubic metres per day.
  • In the first 10 months of 2018, manufacturing sales reached $64 billion, up 9.2 per cent from the same time period in 2017.
  • Almost all sectors have seen their sales increase during this time period, with the largest gains registered in the petroleum refining sector, which grew 23.6 per cent, year to date, to $16 billion.
  • Manufacturing in the petroleum refining sector reached $1.9 billion in October 2018, the highest level recorded since October 2014.


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Kwanzaa: Statement from Premier Notley

“Today marks the beginning of Kwanzaa, a week-long festival celebrating pan-African culture, values and history.

“The seven principles of Kwanzaa are unity, self-determination, purpose, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, creativity and faith. While the celebration of Kwanzaa is still growing, these values have built and sustained Alberta’s black communities for many generations.

“Given our many different backgrounds, it’s more important than ever that we share our commitment to these principles. Kwanzaa is a time to rejoice in Alberta’s rich cultural diversity, the strength and contributions of African-Canadians, and celebrate a bright future.

“To everyone celebrating Kwanzaa this year, I wish you a joyful celebration, surrounded by friends and family.

“Happy Kwanzaa!”


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Christmas: Statement from Premier Notley

“Merry Christmas, Alberta. From the chorus sounds of churches across the province to the many living room floors covered in wrapping paper, I hope today finds you surrounded by love, warmth and joy.

“Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, and for Christians of many denominations proclaims our yearning for love and goodwill for our family, community and all people.

“At this time of year, we unite in peace and fellowship. Reaching out to those in our community who are in need of assistance or companionship is one of the greatest yuletide traditions. It brings out the best in all of us.

“May the spirit of Christmas inspire us all and bring light to you, your family and Albertans everywhere.

“Merry Christmas!”


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Another record year for Alberta campgrounds

Alberta Parks’ online campsite reservation system processed its highest annual bookings in a decade this year.

With nearly 171,000 reservations, the provincial reservation system exceeded all nine previous annual totals.

Introduced in 2009, Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca (RAP) helps bolster tourism and helps Albertans connect with nature and experience the provincial parks system.

From the quiet tranquility of lake-front comfort cabins to large family-style group camping to full-amenity park settings, RAP helps visitors explore a wide range of opportunities, many of which have been bolstered by the government’s ongoing investment to improve and upgrade campgrounds.

The province is investing $38 million this year in Alberta’s provincial park upgrades, expansions and modernizations throughout the system. 

In 2018, the RAP system processed 164,101 regular campsites, 3,251 group sites and 3,638 comfort camping units. The 2018 total exceeded last year’s online reservation tally of 163,780.  

Although the system is only in place between February and November, Albertans can still winter camp at a number of provincial parks listed at Albertaparks.ca.

Quick facts

  • Alberta’s RAP system has nearly 600,000 account users.
  • There are about 250 provincial campgrounds with more than 14,000 campsites in the Alberta provincial parks system.
  • The RAP system allows online booking for 88 provincial campgrounds (the remaining provincial campgrounds are first come, first served), 162 group campsites and 64 comfort camping units.
  • The online system is mobile-friendly so people can book campsites on their mobile devices.
  • To make an online reservation, set up an account or update your existing account in advance of the reservation days, visit Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca.
  • Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca campsite opening dates for 2019 are:
    • Feb. 4 – group camping
    • Feb. 11 – comfort camping
    • Feb. 19 – regular camping
    • Feb. 25 – backcountry camping
  • Revenues generated from camping fees are invested back into Alberta Parks.


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Post-secondary more accessible, affordable in 2018

In March 2018, the Government of Alberta gave Red Deer College and Grande Prairie Regional College approval to pursue becoming universities and develop full degrees, allowing more Alberta students to study closer to home.

From capping tuition and helping institutions diversify their program offerings in high-tech to supporting colleges transitioning to universities, the province continued to improve affordability and accessibility of university and college education.

“Alberta’s universities and colleges are absolutely critical to securing our province’s future. Our government is investing in students so they can reach their full potential and get the education they need for the economy of the future.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

Highlights of the year include:

  • Introducing new legislation to grow post-secondary learning spaces by 3,000 seats through a $43-million investment and $7 million for scholarships and learner supports.
  • Freezing tuition for a fifth year to save students an average of $2,000 for a four-year degree.
  • Legislating future tuition to ensure increases are no more than inflation.
  • Bringing post-secondary executive salaries in line with national averages and eliminating perks and bonuses, saving up to $5 million per year.
  • Granting Red Deer College and Grande Prairie College approval to begin the transition to become universities, as well as officially granting the Alberta College of Art and Design university status as of Feb. 1, 2019. These changes mean future generations of students will not have to bear the financial costs and stress of moving away from their community to pursue an education.
  • Allocating $1.4 billion, including $736 million in Capital Maintenance and Renewal funding, to capital investments for post-secondary institutions over five years to ensure students have safe, modern classrooms and learning facilities.
  • Increased the number of student representatives on college and university boards.

Over the next year, Advanced Education will collaborate with post-secondary institutions to execute new legislation and policies while maintaining affordable, high-quality education across the province.


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Environmental charges for Calgary company

Incident details

The charges are:

  • Releasing or permitting the release into the environment of a substance in an amount, concentration or level or at a rate of release that causes or may cause a significant adverse effect, contrary to section 109(2) of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
  • Failing to report a release to the Director as soon as that person knows or ought to know of the release, contrary to section 110(1) of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

The first court appearance is set for Jan. 24, 2019, at the Calgary Courts Centre.

Alberta Environment and Parks focuses on education, prevention and enforcement to ensure all Albertans continue to enjoy a clean and healthy environment. When individuals, companies, or municipalities fail to comply with environmental legislation, Environment and Parks has a range of options, depending on the offence, to ensure compliance.


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