More Good than Bad in 2018!

“Alberta has still managed to lead the rest of the country in economic growth. Our diversification efforts continue to show progress. We had a banner year for agricultural exports and for manufacturing jobs”. 

Telephone town halls announced for Bighorn

The Government of Alberta has proposed a mix of parks and public lands in the Bighorn region that would preserve natural landscapes while creating new opportunities for economic development, tourism and recreation in the region.

“Albertans are deeply passionate about the Bighorn, one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth. It is beloved by many for everything it provides, including clean water, abundant natural resources and many opportunities for adventures and relaxation. We continue to listen to Albertans’ feedback and hope you will bring your passion and knowledge to the table as we work together to build a plan that will ensure the region is enjoyed for generations to come.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

Government engagement has already reached more than 30,000 people, as well as municipalities, recreation groups, small businesses and industrial operators. In order to gather more feedback, the Bighorn Country consultation period has been extended to Feb. 15 and three telephone town halls have been scheduled.

Telephone town halls will be held:

Tuesday, Jan. 15
Drayton Valley, Sundre and surrounding area
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 16
Red Deer and surrounding area
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 24
Edmonton
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Dial-in information will be made available shortly.

The government is re-evaluating engagement plans and exploring rescheduling public information drop-in sessions.

In the meantime, people can continue to review the proposal and provide feedback online by visiting talkaep.alberta.ca. The deadline for submitting feedback is Feb. 15.

Quick facts

  • Bighorn Country includes public lands from the boundary of Banff National Park eastward towards Drayton Valley. It includes Clearwater County, most of Brazeau County and the current Bighorn Backcountry management area.
  • The Bighorn region is recognized for its scenic beauty and natural diversity. It includes scenic mountains and foothills, rare plants and key habitat for numerous species at risk such as grizzly bear, wolverine, harlequin duck, Athabasca rainbow trout and bull trout.
  • The headwaters of the North Saskatchewan River and Red Deer River are located within Bighorn Country, providing clean drinking water to more than one million Albertans.
  • Sharing this busy landscape is a wide variety of recreation and tourism activities. Hunting and fishing are popular, as well as camping, hiking, off-highway vehicle use, horseback riding, ice climbing and cross-country skiing.
  • The Bighorn Country proposal includes new, expanded or amended parks, protected areas and public land use zones. This system of public lands is intended to provide a range of opportunities that suits the settings and demands of the region.
  • The proposal means no significant change to recreation activities, but offers $40 million in new investment to improve services and infrastructure such as campsites, parking lots, trails and staging areas.
  • The proposal supports continued practice of traditional uses and the exercise of treaty rights by Indigenous Peoples.


Link to source

 

Historic school build makes significant progress

Minister Eggen and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman, along with Michelle Draper and Edmonton School Board staff, tour construction at Ross Sheppard High School.

Since May 2015, the provincial government has funded 244 school projects. So far, 169 are complete with 12 more expected to be finished by June 2019. Combined, all of the projects will have created or modernized about 126,000 student spaces.

“Today’s students will lead Alberta to its future prosperity. We owe it to them and their families to ensure they are learning in good schools. That’s why our government is keeping our promises when it comes to investing in school construction. With these historic investments, we will continue to ensure these schools are staffed with teachers and support staff and have stable, predictable funding.”  

David Eggen, Minister of Education

“We are thankful to government for funding many of our infrastructure requests. Having safe, comfortable, warm learning environments for our students makes a tremendous difference. Our needs continue to be great across the city, especially at the high school level, and we look forward to continuing to work with government.”

Michelle Draper, chair, Edmonton Public School Board

Quick facts

  • During the 2018-19 school year, 37 school projects opened or will open.
  • The 15 new schools, seven replacement schools, 12 modernizations and three additions will provide up to 32,000 new and modernized learning spaces for students.
  • Twenty-five of the 37 school projects are complete:
Municipality
Type
Project

Ardrossan

Replacement

Ardrossan Elementary

Ashmont

Replacement

Ashmont Elementary and Secondary Replacement School

Athabasca

Replacement

Edwin Parr Composite Community School

Calgary

New

All Saints High School

Calgary

New

Sherwood New K-9 School

Calgary

New

Mahogany New Elementary

Calgary

New

SE/Seton New High School

Calgary

Modernization

Lord Beaverbrook High School

Calgary

Modernization

James Fowler High School

Edmonton

Modernization

Caernarvon School – Modernization

Fort McMurray

Modernization

Fort McMurray Composite High School (2)

Fort Saskatchewan

New

Saint André Bessette Catholic School

Grande Prairie

New

St. John Paul II Junior-Senior Catholic High School

County of Grande Prairie

New

Whispering Ridge Community School

Lethbridge

New

West Lethbridge Middle School

Magrath

Modernization

Magrath Junior/Senior High School

Medicine Hat

New

South New Elementary School

Okotoks

Modernization

Foothills Composite High School

Peace River

Addition

Glenmary School and CTS Lab Addition

Sherwood Park

New

New K to 6 School – Sherwood Park (Davidson Creek)

Spruce Grove

New

Copperhaven School

St. Albert

Modernization

St. Albert Catholic High School

St. Albert

New

Sister Alphonse Academy

Strathmore

New

Strathmore K-9 School

Taber

Modernization

St. Patrick School

Background on Edmonton Public Schools projects

  • Originally built in the 1950s, Ross Sheppard High School is one of Edmonton’s largest schools. This modernization project includes an expansion that will add a new gymnasium, fitness facility and drama theatre. The modernization will also raise the total square metres of the school from 20,520 to 23,937.
  • Since May 2015, the Government of Alberta has funded 244 school projects, including the following nine Edmonton Public Schools projects, budgeted for about $300 million.
  • EPS new schools:
    • Soraya Hafez School (McConachie) Grades K-6
      • 650 student spaces
      • Opening date to be determined
    • Thelma Chalifoux School (Larkspur) Grades 7-9
      • 900 student spaces
      • Opening date to be determined
    • Dr. Anne Anderson High School (Heritage Valley) Grades 10-12
      • 1,800 student spaces
      • Opening date to be determined
  • EPS replacement schools:
    • Ivor Dent (Rundle Heights) Grades K-9
      • 650 student spaces
      • Opened September 2017
    • Mill Creek School (Mill Creek) Grades K-6
      • 350 student spaces
      • Opening January 2019
  • EPS school modernizations:
    • Alberta School for the Deaf
      • 170 student spaces
      • September 2019 completion
    • Ross Sheppard High School
      • 2,460 student spaces
      • September 2019 completion
    • Caernarvon School
      • 420 student spaces
      • Completed November 2018
    • Highlands School (Highlands) Grades K-9
      • 800 student spaces
      • Completion date to be determined
  • In Budget 2018, two more projects were approved for Edmonton Public Schools. Both projects are currently in the planning stage: a replacement for Westlawn School and a new K-9 school for Heritage Valley Chappelle East.


Link to source

 

Building a future for all Albertans

An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities came into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, and enacted the first increase to Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) benefits since 2012. Benefit rates for these individuals will increase annually by the Alberta Consumer Price Index rate.

“This historic legislation provides greater protection and predictability for Albertans – so they can pay rent and put food on the table. We are committed to providing better supports and ensuring people on AISH and low-income Albertans won’t struggle to afford the basics.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

Additional changes to program eligibility for AISH and Income Support allow recipients to save more money. As well, increases to AISH income exemptions allow recipients and their spouses to earn more income from other sources without reducing their AISH benefits.

“Low asset limits meant that when I applied for Income Support I needed to liquidate my savings just to get the support I needed. If I had been allowed to keep what was in my savings I could have been back on my feet sooner. This asset limit change, along with increased benefits and indexation, will help so many Albertans who just need a little help.”

Amber Cannon, Income Support recipient and poverty activist

Quick facts

  • An Act to Combat Poverty and Fight for Albertans with Disabilities came into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.
  • Benefit recipients saw increased rates on their January benefit payments.
  • Quebec, Yukon and Manitoba index disability and income support benefit rates with inflation.
  • Yukon is the only other Canadian jurisdiction that indexes seniors benefits with inflation.
  • This legislation increased the asset limit for the AISH child allowance to match the asset limit for general AISH eligibility ($100,000 instead of $3,000). It also increased the AISH supplementary personal benefits asset limit ($5,000 instead of $3,000).

The legislation is a key component of Alberta’s Action on Poverty, which includes actions across government to make life more affordable, support wellness and social inclusion, enhance skills and employment opportunities and invest in affordable housing and homeless supports.


Link to source