Alberta Francophonie Month: Premier Notley | D├ęclaration de madame Rachel Notley sur le Mois de la francophonie albertaine

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“Today, Albertans across the province are raising the Franco-Albertan flag to mark Alberta Francophonie Month.

“For more than 200 years, French speakers have made significant cultural, social and economic contributions to our province. They continue to this day, with Alberta home to one of the largest, fastest-growing and most culturally diverse francophone populations in Canada.

“All across the province, it is becoming easier to study, work, live and play in French. In the 25 years of francophone school governance in Alberta, we have grown from 10 schools to 42. In addition to our Francophone Secretariat, an Alberta Advisory Council on the Francophonie is now looking at ways to foster the vitality of the community through enhanced services in French.

“Since the launch of Alberta’s first French policy in June 2017, more essential resources are available in French than ever before. From $25-a-day child care to post-secondary programs, French-speaking families have more options that strengthen the vitality of French in Alberta.  

“I would like to honour French-speaking Albertans for their many contributions and for making Alberta more welcoming, caring and diverse. And I encourage everyone to explore the vibrancy, energy and diversity of the Francophonie in our province.”


Déclaration de madame Rachel Notley sur le Mois de la francophonie albertaine

La première ministre Rachel Notley a émis la déclaration suivante au sujet du Mois de la francophonie albertaine :

« Aujourd’hui, des Albertains et des Albertains de partout dans la province hisseront le drapeau franco-albertain afin de souligner le Mois de la francophonie albertaine.

« Au cours des deux derniers siècles, les locuteurs de langue française ont fait des contributions importantes dans les domaines de la culture, de la vie sociale et de l’économie en Alberta. Et cette œuvre se poursuit aujourd’hui, grâce à l’une des populations les plus grandes, les plus diverses et dont la croissance est la plus rapide au Canada.  

« Étudier, travailler, vivre et se divertir en français est de plus en plus facile en Alberta. Depuis la création du premier conseil scolaire francophone de l’Alberta il y a 25 ans, le nombre d’écoles francophones est passé de dix à 42 dans la province. En plus du Secrétariat francophone, le gouvernement a nommé un Conseil consultatif en matière de francophonie, qui étudie des moyens de favoriser la vitalité de la communauté grâce à l’amélioration des services en français.

« Depuis l’adoption de la toute première Politique en matière de francophonie en juin 2017, plus de ressources essentielles que jamais ne sont offertes en français. Qu’il s’agisse de services de garderie à 25 $ par jour ou de programmes postsecondaires offerts en français, les membres des familles d’expression française ont encore plus de choix, ce qui permet de renforcer la vitalité du français en Alberta.  

« J’aimerais reconnaitre les nombreuses contributions des Albertains et des Albertaines d’expression française; grâce à ces gens, l’Alberta est plus accueillante, bienveillante et diverse. J’encourage toute la population à faire l’expérience du dynamisme, de l’énergie et de la diversité de la francophonie de notre province. »


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Alberta bans seclusion rooms

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The order will come into effect for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. The ban will take effect on Sept. 1.

“As a parent and a former teacher, I’ve been disturbed by some of the incidents I’ve heard about involving seclusion rooms. Our government believes schools must be safe and caring places for all students to learn – especially the most vulnerable. I want to thank the members of the working group I appointed to advise me on this issue. They made it clear that new guidelines alone were not sufficient to limit the use of these rooms and their advocacy helped shape the decision to sign the order.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

As a first step, local boards will be asked to submit a list of schools with a seclusion room. They will then require a declaration that these rooms be decommissioned by Aug. 30, 2019. Alberta Education will be performing on-site inspections and monitoring to ensure compliance.

The order permits school boards to apply to the minister for exemptions, but only if they can demonstrate support from parents.

Background

  • A seclusion room is a room, structure or enclosure in a school operated by a school authority. The primary purpose of a seclusion room is the involuntary confinement or isolation of a student where the student is prevented or incapable of evacuating without the assistance of another person because security measures are not under the student’s control.
  • In October 2018, Minister Eggen appointed a working group of parents, teachers and experts to advise government on drafting new guidelines for the use of seclusion rooms in schools.
  • The working group met for three days in late 2018 and again with a broad group of stakeholders before the holidays. Following these meetings, many advocates for people with disabilities and members of the working group reached out to Minister Eggen to express the view that guidelines alone were not sufficient. 


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Alberta accelerates high-tech support

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Minister Deron Bilous announces next steps in building Alberta’s tech future.

The program will provide the infrastructure and mentorship to connect startups with the tools, resources, seed funding and skilled talent pool they need to grow their business and create new jobs, while opening connections to potential customers and investors from around the world.

“Alberta has some of the world’s best high-tech talent and we want to create more opportunities for them to succeed here at home. This support gives them the tools to grow and diversify our economy and create new jobs now and for the future.”  

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

The Alberta government recently invested $100 million to expand artificial intelligence capacity in the province – this includes $31 million for Alberta Innovates and $27 million for the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii).

“Expanding Alberta’s artificial intelligence capacity begins with successful startups – scaling and growing with the funding and mentoring of a world-class accelerator. With the right investments and infrastructure in place, we can build on Amii’s success and bring that expertise to businesses across Alberta, and around the world.” 

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

The $31 million allocated to Alberta Innovates is earmarked for the tech accelerator and three other initiatives – applied research and development, industry solutions, and establishing a stronger global market presence for Alberta.

The overall $100-million investment is estimated to directly support 5,600 new high-paid jobs and roughly $1.5 billion in overall value to Alberta businesses and affiliated startups.

Interest from other major high-tech industry leaders is also anticipated, which would mean millions of additional dollars in new private-sector investment in the province and hundreds of new jobs for Albertans.

“There is a gap in the ecosystem when it comes to the pipeline for early stage companies. Nothing is worse than seeing many of our best startups leave the province to get to an accelerator. We applaud this announcement and believe it will help to keep jobs in Alberta and attract additional outside capital.”

Cory Janssen, CEO, AltaML

“I have previously been a mentor at a world-leading AI startup accelerator program outside of the province and I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact these programs can have on a local innovation ecosystem and the success graduating companies can achieve. These programs provide startups with mentorship and advice, financial support, curriculum and access to a network that can vastly improve their chances of success.”

Bruce Alton, founder, A-Partners

“A world-class accelerator is something that has been missing in Alberta and yet found in some of the most innovative cities in the world. I am delighted to hear that a world-class accelerator will be coming to Alberta to help create net new jobs, keep our grads here, allow us to build great and diverse talent and bring in more investment capital.”

Ashif Mawji, venture partner, Rising Tide

Alberta’s researchers are already ranked third in the world in the area of artificial intelligence and machine learning.


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Government, pharmacists extend funding agreement

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The framework, announced last year between the Alberta government and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association, was set to expire March 31, 2020, but will now be extended to March 31, 2022.

Measures previously introduced under the framework have helped to ensure pharmacy compensation is within government’s projected budget.

It also saved Albertans money. More than 8,700 seniors are saving more than $100 a year thanks to the agreement, and that will continue for another two years. In some cases, an individual with significant prescription costs is saving more than $500 a year.

Pharmacists play a key role in primary health care, not only in meeting the needs of patients but also in helping manage health resources wisely.

Government will continue to work with the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association and Alberta Blue Cross to monitor expenses and ensure budget targets are met.

“The framework’s success demonstrates the power of collaboration and how, together, we can create a sustainable health system. I’d like to thank the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association and Alberta Blue Cross for working with us to manage budgets responsibly. I’d also like to thank pharmacists for supporting these measures and providing Albertans with continued, high-quality pharmacy services as key leaders in primary health-care delivery.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

Pharmacy compensation growth will be kept to 5.3 per cent over the two-year extension to accommodate population and volume growth.

Funding for pharmacy compensation was forecast to rise by 12.3 per cent annually between 2018 and 2020. 

“We are pleased that this announcement recognizes the efforts made by pharmacists in Alberta to deliver primary care in ways that manage health resources responsibly. The role pharmacists continue to play in this capacity has resulted in achievement of government-budgeted targets, allowing for the elimination of the hold back policy in 2020 and enabling a formalized engagement process between Alberta Health and RxA members towards sustainable growth for the future.”

Mark Elderkin, president, Alberta Pharmacists’ Association

“Alberta Blue Cross is proud to be part of the collaborative efforts with the Alberta government and the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association in the shared interest of continued sustainability and keeping prescription drugs affordable for all Albertans. As the largest payer of prescription drugs in Alberta on behalf of our customers – including individuals, employer group benefit plan sponsors and government programs, Alberta Blue Cross has a keen interest in, and commitment to, delivering the best value in health benefits to our customers.”

Ray Pisani, president and CEO, Alberta Blue Cross

Quick facts

  • The same rates for pharmacy compensation will apply during the extended time period.
  • The original agreement, signed in 2018, was projected to save $150 million by slowing the growth of spending on government-sponsored drug programs, and savings are expected to continue with the extension of the funding framework.
  • Government will continue to work with the Alberta Pharmacists’ Association and Alberta Blue Cross to monitor expenses and, if necessary, implement tailored adjustments to ensure budgets are not exceeded.
  • A new risk-sharing component (with government holding back a portion of payments to pharmacies each month to ensure budget targets are met) will be introduced April 1, 2019 as planned, but because budget targets were met last year and are forecast to continue being met in the next fiscal year, government will hold back zero per cent for the first quarter of 2019-20. It will continue to be held at zero per cent throughout the fiscal year unless budget targets are not met.
  • On April 1, 2020, the risk-sharing component will be eliminated and replaced with a jointly agreed upon mechanism to ensure pharmacy compensation growth is within government’s projected budget.


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