Relaxed patio rules make a more enjoyable summer

This is the second summer during which licensed restaurants and bars in Alberta have had greater control over the size of their outdoor patios, their design and where customers enter and exit.

There are fewer restrictions on how patios are built and the regulations clearly define how sidewalk patios can be opened and operated. This has allowed venues to take advantage of the unique character of their buildings and better serve their neighbourhoods and customers.

“Every summer, Albertans seek out places where they can enjoy a meal, the company of good friends and some sunshine. We’ve heard from many Albertans who appreciate initiatives like these relaxed regulations that help businesses create spaces for patrons to enjoy.”

Craig Coolahan, MLA for Calgary-Klein, on behalf of Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance

Businesses can define their outdoor space using decorative items like planters or furniture, instead of a previously required enclosure fence almost a metre high. This change has created better experiences for customers and reduced costs for businesses when building, expanding or renovating a patio.

“On a beautiful summer day, it can be hard to pass up an opportunity to enjoy a great patio. Our updated policies enable businesses to offer the best type of hospitality experience for customers.”

Alain Maisonneuve, president & CEO, AGLC

The changes are another example of how government has been working to make life better by modernizing liquor regulations in order to better serve Albertans and support the province’s hospitality sector.

“Calgarians know how to put our summer weather to good use. As a business owner, I am thrilled to be able to offer my clients a slice of the beautiful outdoors with our patio.”

Cam Dobranski, Winebar Kensington owner and chef

Beyond changes to patio policy, venues licensed to serve liquor also benefit from fewer restrictions on how their licensed areas are separated from unlicensed areas or areas under a different type of licence. Specifically, licensees can now:

  • Connect licensed premises to other areas without the need for previously required one-metre-high separations.
  • Have a single permanent opening between two licensed premises where they are operated by the same licensee.
  • Offer direct access to a licenced premises from another licenced area with suitably defined permanent or portable barriers.
  • Define a licensed premises using permanent or portable barriers such as planters, ropes, railings or similar items.

Part of AGLC’s mandate is to ensure Alberta’s liquor industry operates effectively, with integrity and in a socially responsible manner. Clear and efficient policies support this mandate and help sustain a responsible liquor industry that meets the expectations of Albertans.


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Alberta businesses show support for service dogs

A qualified Alberta service dog helping his handler at work.

The window decal campaign helps promote inclusion and increases awareness about the public access rights of service dogs. In Alberta, people with disabilities have the right to bring their qualified service dogs into any public place.

“Albertans with disabilities should have access to the supports they need. For years, service dogs have been opening opportunities for people with disabilities, and now Alberta is opening the door for them. When businesses display the service dog decal we help remove barriers and support inclusion.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

Changes to service dog regulations in 2017 developed provincial standards and improved access for organizations to become qualified service dog providers. These changes also increased the ability of owner-trained dogs to become qualified service dogs.

Since January 2018, nearly 60 new service dogs have been qualified by Alberta’s eight approved service dog organizations; most of those were owner-trained dogs that passed assessments. Under previous rules, an average of only 20 qualified service dogs were graduated each year.

“Our service dog, Ebony, has given my daughter Jaelyn the confidence and ability to cope so that she can engage with those around her. Ebony has made it possible for Jaelyn to attend school full time. She is a rock who is always there for her, even when times are tough.”

Melissa MacDonald, mother of a child who relies on a service dog

To request a service dog decal for your business, contact Alberta’s Service Dog team at: 310-0000-780-427-9136 (toll free) or 780-427-9136 (in Edmonton).

Quick facts

  • To be considered a qualified service dog in Alberta, a dog must:
    • come from one of Alberta’s qualified service dog organizations
    • pass an assessment administered by a qualified organization, or
    • come from a school certified by Assistance Dogs International (ADI).


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Alberta celebrates classic car collectors

Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta, celebrates Collector Car Appreciation Day with Jim Herbert of the Specialty Vehicle Association of Alberta and Calgary collector Albert Ogusuku.

Alberta has an active and vibrant car culture with collector car shows across the province throughout the summer. Each show connects Albertans to the important contributions the automobile has played in our province’s social and economic development.

“Collector cars stir old memories – of our first car, our first time driving a vehicle or going out for a cruise on Friday night. Thousands of Albertans are collector car enthusiasts. They preserve our history, support our local communities and contribute to our economy by maintaining and showing these classic and vintage cars. That’s why we are declaring July 13 Collector Car Appreciation Day to thank this vibrant community of collectors for their contributions to our province.”

Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta

“Collector car hobbyists contribute positively to the local economy and their communities. Hobbyists spend an estimated $40 million annually on their vehicles, supporting local businesses and charities. Collector Car Appreciation Day is an important recognition of this contribution to Alberta.”

Jim Herbert, president, Specialty Vehicle Association of Alberta

This is the second time Alberta is celebrating Collector Car Appreciation Day, joining neighbours British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. And this year is the first time that celebrations occurred simultaneously throughout the province in Calgary, Edmonton, Vegreville and Gull Lake. All events were free and open to the public.

Quick facts

  • There are more than 3.5 million motor vehicles registered in Alberta.
  • There are more than 22,000 antique licence plates issued with active registration in the province.
  •  An antique passenger or motorcycle plate is available for vehicles or motorcycles that are at least 25 years old.
  •  An antique plate is available specifically for the collector car community and is to be used for vehicles that only operate as a collector’s item in exhibitions, club activities and parades or travelling to and from these events.
  • Antique plates can’t be used for general driving.


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Growing global agricultural market opportunities

Minister Carlier chats with Aaron Grant, chair International Agriculture and Agri-Food at Calgary Stampede.

The new Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership) programs will contribute more than $90 million to help Alberta agri-businesses expand their export capacity and promote industry initiatives that increase consumer confidence and awareness of the Alberta agricultural sector.

“With the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, our government continues to provide support for Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food sector. The partnership helps foster continued progress and prosperity for our farmers, ranchers and processors, as they innovate and adapt to new and emerging opportunities. From strategic planning and risk management to cutting-edge research and technological advancements, Canadians will continue to build growth and success in our agriculture sector.”

Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

“Alberta’s agricultural sector is a vital and dynamic contributor to our economy and to our rural communities. In an increasingly challenging global marketplace, it is essential that our processors’ and agri-food producers’ competitive edge remains sharp. These programs will help companies expand their export capacity and further enhance Alberta’s reputation as a supplier of safe, high-quality food products to the world.”

Oneil Carlier, Alberta Minister of Forestry and Agriculture

“As an organization dedicated to promoting agriculture in Alberta, Ag for Life supports the opening of these programs designed to enhance public trust in our province’s agriculture sector. Building greater awareness of the sector helps consumers make more informed choices and fosters a greater appreciation of the role agriculture plays in society, the environment and the economy.”

Luree Williamson, CEO, Ag for Life

In Alberta, the Partnership commits a federal-provincial investment of $406 million over five years towards strategic programs and services that are aligned to national objectives and tailored to priorities in Alberta.

2018 Alberta Partnership programs:

Products, Market Growth and Diversification ($72 million)

  • Products to markets
    • Supports the growth of Alberta’s small, medium and large-sized enterprises in the agriculture, food, beverage and bio-product processing industries through the development and commercialization of new products and processes.
  • Value-added products to markets
    • Facilitates the growth of Alberta’s medium and large-scale agriculture, food, beverage and bio-product processing industries.

Public Trust ($19 million)

  • Public agriculture literacy
    • Supports industry-led initiatives to communicate about food system production practices and sustainability assurance systems with the public/consumer.
  • Agriculture and food sustainability assurance initiatives
    • Enables the development and/or enhancement of agriculture and food sustainability certification or assurance initiatives.
  • Youth agriculture education
    • Prepares Alberta students, kindergarten through Grade 12, to engage in meaningful and informed conversations about issues that affect public trust in agriculture.

These programs are part of a suite of 15 programs to be offered under the Partnership in Alberta.

Alberta’s processors and agri-food producers pushed value-added exports to $5.6 billion in 2017, creating more than 23,000 jobs in the food and beverage manufacturing industries.

The five-year Canadian Agricultural Partnership agreement, effective April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2023, invests in strategic programs and activities in Alberta that support:

  • Increased market readiness and growth in local, domestic and international markets.
  • Environmental sustainability practices and adaptation to the anticipated impacts of climate change.
  • Improved public understanding and perception of agriculture and food in Alberta.
  • Improved industry anticipation, preparedness and mitigation of risks.
  • Science and research that accelerate the adoption of innovative technologies, products, practices and processes.


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Road over Dickson Dam closed

The Dickson Dam is adjacent to Gleniffer Lake, about 20 kilometres west of Innisfail.

Construction crews will be on site to prepare for replacement of the spillway gates on the dam.

Replacement of the gates will begin in early August and will mean closure of the road for 48 hours at a time, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., until December.

Check 511 for regular updates on the project.


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New Harvie Passage boosts safety, recreation

Minister Shannon Phillips and Mark Taylor from the Rocky Mountain Paddling Centre take a run down the newly reopened Harvie Passage.

It also means Calgarians have a new river-adjacent recreation area.

The passage was seriously damaged during the 2013 flood and has now been re-envisioned and redesigned with input from numerous local stakeholder groups, such as the Alberta Whitewater Association and the Harvie Passage Alliance.

The completed project once again divides the Bow River channel into two passages – Class 3 rapids for more experienced paddlers, and a less turbulent channel for regular boaters.

“Harvie Passage represents more than a new, vibrant and more secure venue for new and seasoned paddlers. The redeveloped west bank along the passage will also allow visitors to the area to enjoy this beautiful space from land. It is a milestone for flood recovery and another example of how our government is investing in outdoor recreation and making life better for Albertans.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

“It’s exciting to have Harvie Passage open for Calgarians and visitors to Calgary. I have no doubt this will quickly become a much-loved natural space – another way for us to connect with the Bow River. Today’s announcement is also incredibly symbolic of the progress we’ve made since the 2013 flood; together, as partners, we can rebuild what was damaged to become better, stronger and more resilient.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

The government and its water safety partners want everyone to have fun and enjoy the improved features of the passage, but remind all users to be mindful of the possible risks of recreating in and around the water.

“With the opening of Harvie Passage, we will see more activity on Calgary’s waterways, including the Bow River. It’s important to remind all recreational river enthusiasts of all skill levels that where there’s water, there’s risk. Water can be unpredictable and we advise all river users to wear a life-jacket, and be aware of flow advisories, weather conditions and river hazards.”

Joe Zatylny, Deputy Fire Chief, City of Calgary

The reopening of the passage also means recreational opportunities for paddle sport enthusiasts, who were key stakeholders for this project. These groups benefit from a passage route and environment that allows them to build their skills.

“The Alberta Whitewater Association is excited to see the reopening of Harvie Passage on the Bow River in Calgary. The reconstructed passage is better designed to be more flood-resilient and a safer whitewater park that will be more fun than before. Harvie Passage will also give Calgary’s slalom and freestyle kayak athletes a place to train for their national and Olympic teams. The Alberta Whitewater Association applauds the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary for working to restore this great recreation facility which is free for everyone to use.”

Chuck Lee, executive director, Alberta Whitewater Association

Construction on the new project began in 2016, with a final cost of $8 million.

Other features of the Harvie Passage include

  • a new beach
  • a stepped rock feature for easier shoreline access
  • a reconstructed viewing area to the west of the mouth of the channels
  • a landscaped island area that separates the channels


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Cowboy culture meets craft beer at Stampede

Kevin Bender, chair, Alberta Wheat Commission, Minister Carlier, Minister Ceci, and Jason Lenz, chair, Alberta Barley at the Big Four Roundhouse during the Calgary Stampede.

A total of 32 Alberta small brewers are showcasing their creations for the more than one million cowpokes and city slickers from around the world who will attend the 2018 Calgary Stampede. Craft beer enthusiasts will be able to sample local beer at the Stampede’s Big Four Roadhouse, where craft brews will be paired with Alberta food, music, dance and games.

“Alberta makes some of the greatest beer in the world, and I’m so pleased that the Calgary Stampede continues to offer some of the province’s best products, including many of my favourite Alberta craft beers. Our support for Alberta’s small brewing industry is bolstered by the growing demand for their fine products.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance

“This is just another example of Alberta’s craft beer scene flourishing. A growing craft beer industry means more good jobs for Albertans and additional demand for products from Alberta agricultural producers and rural communities.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Since summer of 2016, Alberta has seen 46 new brewers open for business, increasing the province’s roster of small breweries to 86 licensed brewers.


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Greyhound: Statement from Premier Notley

“Next week, the Council of the Federation is meeting in New Brunswick to discuss issues important to all Canadians.

“Greyhound’s decision this week to suspend services throughout Western Canada significantly diminishes transportation options for hundreds of Canadians throughout our region, potentially harming the economy and quality of life for tens of thousands of people.

“Given its urgency, I will be raising this issue at the Council of the Federation with a view to working on common solutions with my fellow Premiers and the federal government to ensure western Canadians, particularly those living in rural areas, including many Indigenous communities, have access to the transportation services they deserve.”  


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Improving energy sector powers Alberta forward

Minister McCuaig-Boyd addresses industry leaders and stakeholders at the annual Stampede Energy Open House at McDougall Centre.

Premier Rachel Notley and Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd have been standing up for Alberta and fighting for pipelines. Thanks to their leadership, Alberta is now closer than ever to breaking the land lock and getting top dollar for our natural resources. That strong, positive message was delivered to industry leaders during the annual Stampede Week Energy Open House.

“We’re an energy province – we always have been and always will be. Our made-in-Alberta plan has put us ahead of the curve as a sustainable energy producer the world needs for the 21st century. It means new pipelines, more good jobs and building a cleaner, more diversified energy sector. There’s more work to do, but I’m incredibly optimistic because we’re seeing more Albertans going to work and benefiting from the oil and gas resources we’re so blessed to have. That’s making life better for everyday families.”

Margaret McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy

Upstream energy sector employment went up three per cent in 2017, pushed by production increases of 12 per cent in crude bitumen, eight per cent in conventional oil and two per cent in natural gas. These numbers were driven by dramatic increases in drilling activity and new oil sands operations coming online.

The job gains are expected to continue through 2018 and into 2019 as government focuses on implementing further rounds of the Renewable Energy Program in the electricity sector and accepting applications for three programs under the Energy Diversification Act. Collectively, these programs will attract billions of dollars in private sector investment in petrochemicals, partial-upgrading and clean energy development.

While the energy sector continues to improve, government remains committed to addressing the issues facing industry. The on-going Keep Canada Working public advocacy campaign will continue over the summer, helping educate Canadians about the importance of the energy sector to Canada and the need for the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project. Since the campaign began, it has reached millions of Canadians through multiple channels with online videos being viewed more than a million times.

Securing increased market access is a priority for the government so it can help ensure the oil and gas sector remains competitive. The province is also working with industry to examine natural gas market access issues and how it can support increased rail transportation while pipeline construction is ongoing.

Government and the Alberta Energy Regulator are also studying the regulatory and permitting process to reduce the time spent reviewing projects. This will help make Alberta industry more competitive by saving hundreds of millions of dollars in costs related to review times while maintaining strong environmental oversight. More information on this review will be available in the coming weeks.

Quick facts

  • In 2017, direct employment in the upstream energy sector in Alberta was about 140,000 people, a three per cent increase from the 136,000 employed in 2016.
  • Crude bitumen production increased about 12 per cent to 2.83 million barrels per day in 2017 from 2.54 million in 2016.
  • Production of conventional crude oil and equivalents increased about eight per cent to about 715,900 barrels per day in 2017 from about 665,800 in 2016.
  • Marketable natural gas production increased to 10.4 billion cubic feet per day in 2017 from 10.1 billion in 2016, a two per cent increase.

Drilling activity significantly rebounded from 2016 to 2017:

  • Total successful natural gas wells drilled increased by 60 per cent to 1,295 in 2017 from 811 in 2016.
  • Total successful crude oil wells drilled increased by 119 per cent to 1,831 in 2017 from 836 in 2016.
  • Bitumen wells drilled followed a similar trend, increasing by 115 per cent to 1,309 in 2017 from 610 in 2016.

Future program activity:

  • Three programs under the Energy Diversification Act are forecast to attract approximately $10 billion in private investment in petrochemical manufacturing and feedstock development and partial upgrading – creating 8,000 direct construction jobs. Applications for these programs are now open.
  • The first round of the Renewable Electricity Program successfully attracted about $1 billion in private investment and will create approximately 740 jobs. Rounds 2 and 3 are now underway. In total, the program will attract approximately $10 billion in new electricity investment and create about 7,000 jobs by 2030.


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