Fighting mountain pine beetle in Whitecourt area

Fighting mountain pine beetle in Whitecourt area

L-R:Maryann Chichak, mayor of Whitecourt, Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and Jim Rennie, mayor of Woodlands County.

The mountain pine beetle threatens six million hectares of Alberta’s pine forest and affects the activities of more than half of the major forest companies operating in the province.

In order to protect Alberta’s crucial forestry industry, the province is providing Whitecourt with $29,000 and Woodlands County with $26,000 for the control, suppression and eradication of mountain pine beetle on municipal and private lands. The funds are part of the Mountain Pine Beetle Municipal Grant Funding Program which helps communities minimize the spread of mountain pine beetle infestations in their areas.

“Our best chance to combat the mountain pine beetle infestation is if our government partners with local municipalities on aggressive and proactive detection and control programs. This funding will help us work with the Town of Whitecourt and Woodlands County to do that.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“On behalf of the Town of Whitecourt, thank you to the Government of Alberta for its continued support of our local mountain pine beetle program. For several years, with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s support, our community has conducted local surveys and control work to minimize the effect of an infestation. Whitecourt is heavily invested in the forest industry, and the control of this insect is vital to our economic, environmental, and social health.”

Maryann Chichak, mayor of Whitecourt

“From a municipal point of view, one of the greatest supports from the provincial government has been the pine beetle mitigation.  Keeping our forests healthy is vital to the viability of our communities in Woodlands County. This new grant will help strengthen our local mountain pine beetle program. It will assist in educating our residents and stakeholders in identifying trees infected by the pest.”

Jim Rennie, mayor of Woodlands County

Quick facts about mountain pine beetle

  • Mountain pine beetle threatens six million hectares of Alberta’s pine forest.
  • The value of pure pine stands in Alberta is more than $8 billion.
  • Last year, more than 92,000 trees across the province were cut and burned to help control the mountain pine beetle outbreak.
  • More than half of the major forest companies operating in Alberta are reliant on pine to continue operations.


Link to source

 

4-H Alberta volunteers receive highest recognition

4-H Hall of Fame inductees with Minister Carlier

Minister Carlier with the 2017 4-H Hall of Fame inductees and family.

Linda Gooch, of Arrowwood and Sylvia Mathon, of Innisfail join an elite group of Albertans inducted into the Alberta 4-H Hall of Fame since 1971. Mathon was honoured posthumously.

“4-H Alberta celebrated its centennial year in 2017, and it is an integral part of our province’s rural way of life and our strong agricultural foundation. Congratulations and sincere thanks to this year’s inductees for their outstanding leadership and commitment to 4-H and their communities.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

The 4-H Hall of Fame recognizes exceptional 4-H leaders for their exemplary service, mentorship and volunteerism. Candidates are nominated by their 4-H peers and are evaluated based on their demonstrated leadership qualities, community references, local volunteer work, and contributions to 4-H and agriculture.

“Being involved in 4-H for nearly 30 years has been so rewarding in itself, but being inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame is truly an honour that I never expected.”

Linda Gooch, 2017 4-H Hall of Fame inductee

“We are honoured that Sylvia has been inducted into the 4-H Hall of Fame. Mom’s passions were family, youth and agriculture. She never needed recognition for her work, but we know that she would be truly touched.”

Family of Sylvia Mathon, 2017 4-H Hall of Fame inductee

4-H Alberta is the largest youth organization in the province with more than 250,000 alumni. The program teaches leadership, communication and agricultural skills through fun, hands-on experiences.

Backgrounder: Alberta 4-H Hall of Fame

Created in 1971, the 4-H Alberta Hall of Fame has recognized 87 men and women who have significantly contributed to Alberta’s rural youth and agriculture. Each inductee has been a 4-H leader at the local, regional, provincial and national level. They demonstrate outstanding leadership in the program, promote the 4-H motto of “Learn to Do by Doing,” and live out the 4-H pledge of service and commitment to the club, community and country through all activities and levels of organization.

A selection committee of key leaders of the 4-H Council of Alberta, the 4-H Foundation of Alberta and representatives from Agriculture and Forestry’s 4-H Branch evaluate each nominee based on the candidate’s strong personal qualities, as well as their significant contributions to 4-H, agriculture and rural life. For more information, visit 4h.ab.ca.

Biographies

Linda Gooch

For more than 25 years, Linda has supported and strengthened the 4-H program as a leader and volunteer.     

Her 4-H involvement includes, but is not limited to: club leader, district key leader, Calgary Regional 4-H Horse Show volunteer (show chair, assistant show chair), developed guidelines and equipment checklists for both 4-H on Parade (4-H Alberta’s largest show and competition) and Regional Horse Show, and a member of the Provincial Equine Advisory Committee (PEAC).

Linda is also a volunteer member of the Arrowwood Agricultural Society, Stampede Queen competitor mentor, organizing committee member for the Alberta Equestrian Games, riding coach and school teacher.

Described as someone who always puts kids first, Linda has shown over and over again just how dedicated she is to ensuring Alberta youth are given opportunities to learn, have fun and experience success.       

Sylvia Mathon

Sylvia, who died in 2016, dedicated more than 20 years as a 4-H parent, leader and volunteer.

Her 4-H involvement included, but was not limited to: project leader of the Rangeland 4-H Beef Club, 4-H Council of Alberta director, president – West Central 4-H Regional Council, and Red Deer District 4-H Council.

A volunteer with the Innisfail District Agricultural Society, Sylvia was also a Westerner Park volunteer, member of the Icelandic Society and the Markerville Good Neighbours Ladies Club. She also volunteered driving local seniors to appointments, banking and grocery shopping.

Sylvia was passionate about working with youth, and through her battle with cancer she often said, “working with kids in 4-H helps keep me going.” 


Link to source

 

Looking for help this summer? Why not hire a student! Financial assistance for wages is available

 

The 2018 Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) application deadline for employers is February 2, 2018Canada Summer Jobs is a Government of Canada initiative. It provides funding for not-for-profit organizations, public sector employers and small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees to create summer jobs for students between the ages of 15 and 30.

The application form as well as the applicant guide are currently available at www.canada.ca/canada-summer-jobs. You can submit your application online, by mail or in person at any Service Canada Centre.

We encourage you to submit your 2018 application online. By doing so, you will benefit from a fast, easy-to-use, and secure way of applying as you will:

  • have access to the Canada Summer Jobs application 24/7, from any location, allowing you to complete it at your convenience;
  • ensure your application is received immediately by Service Canada;
  • receive an instant acknowledgement confirming that your application has been received; and,
  • avoid postal delays.

There are two systems available to enable you to apply online:

  1. Grants and Contributions Online Services (GCOS): If you already have a GCOS account, please use this online platform to submit an online application; or
  2. CSJ online application form.

More information about how CSJ benefits both students and employers is available on our YouTube page

For more information:

Click: www.canada.ca/canada-summer-jobs

Call: 1-800-935-5555 (ATS: 1-800-926-9105)

Visit: a Service Canada Centre

If you are interested in attending an information session, please reply to this email (W-T-CSPD-SCEP-CSJ-EEC-AB-GD@servicecanada.gc.ca) providing the following so we can provide you with the teleconference number:

 

 

Date of session:

Your name:

Your organization:

Your telephone number:

Your email:

Anticipated number of organizations to attend the session:

 

TELECONFERENCE SESSION DETAILS

Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Friday, January 12, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Friday, January 19, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Thursday, January 25, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

 

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Time: 10 am (MST) and 1pm (MST)

Premiers Continue to Focus on Jobs and Economic Growth

Canada – China Free Trade Agreement

Premiers noted the importance of expanding trade as a key factor in growing Canada’s economy and emphasized the need to promote Canada’s trade opportunities in growing international markets such as China.

Premiers welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to explore a potential free trade agreement with China.  Provinces and territories are working to expand trade links with China and other growing economies in Asia. Canada’s Premiers have led trade missions to China in 2008, 2011 and 2014 and will continue to work to strengthen trade and cultural ties between Canada and China.

Building on recent successful international trade negotiations, Premiers call on the Prime Minister to ensure that once negotiations commence, provinces and territories are active participants in negotiating the new trade arrangements with China.

Environmental Approvals

Premiers discussed environmental assessment, in light of recent federal Expert Panel reports.  Canada’s world-class environmental protection laws and review processes must continue to balance the need for responsible resource development and a sustainable environment. 

Premiers called on the federal government to work with provinces and territories to ensure that environmental review processes respect the principle of one-project, one-assessment, do not add unnecessary duplication or delays in the responsible development of Canada’s natural resources, continue to have access to the best available expertise, including through the National Energy Board, and that any changes respect provincial and territorial jurisdiction, and existing co-management regimes.  Changes to the federal process must ensure regulatory certainty and timely decisions while providing transparency and meaningful participation. 

Canadian Energy Strategy

Premiers discussed the ongoing implementation of the Canadian Energy Strategy (CES), released in July 2015. The CES is a flexible framework for provinces and territories to realize a common vision for Canada’s energy future. It supports sustainable energy development while also ensuring a globally competitive energy sector. At last summer’s meeting, Premiers directed Ministers to continue collaborative work across the four priority areas including energy efficiency, delivering energy to people, climate change and the transition to a lower carbon economy, and technology and innovation.

Work to date under CES includes collaboration on innovative solutions to reduce diesel use in remote communities, and joint work to support greater adoption of innovative technologies such as zero emission vehicles and renewable energy generation and storage. Through CES provinces and territories have also made significant progress in harmonization of energy efficiency standards and influencing of federal product efficiency standards and building codes. The CES has also advanced opportunities to enhance regional electricity interties and other energy transmission and transportation infrastructure.  These achievements are in addition to ongoing work regionally and within individual provinces and territories supporting the goals and vision of CES.

Adaptation

Premiers discussed the need for more coordinated planning, funding and innovation in order to adapt communities, regions, industry and governments to long term changes in weather, temperature and environmental conditions.  Premiers are encouraged by adaptation commitments made by the federal government in Budget 2017. However, given the urgency of ensuring climate change impacts are considered, particularly in infrastructure investments, they call on the federal government to clarify how this funding will directly support provincial and territorial adaptation plans and actions.

Premiers also called for improvements to Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements, including reinstatement of funding thresholds that existed before 2015, and reduced red tape to allow for faster reimbursement of upfront provincial and territorial disaster-related costs. Premiers further emphasize the need for strategic federal investment in resilient infrastructure, including support for “building back better” to mitigate future disasters. 

Northern Communities

Premiers call on the federal government to be a stronger partner in supporting pre-emptive strategic infrastructure. The federal government should accelerate previous commitments to adaptation and accommodation of northern communities that are especially vulnerable.

Canada can lead on new innovative technologies which can support adaptation measures such as reducing the reliance of northern communities on diesel.

Infrastructure

Premiers welcome the federal government’s commitment to new infrastructure funding. This funding will support Canada’s economic growth.  Premiers noted the significant level of provincial and territorial planned investment in infrastructure. Federal funding should be in addition to total PT investments in infrastructure over the lifespan of the agreements.

Based on their assessment of the results of the Phase I negotiations, Premiers emphasized that under Phase II:

  • Federal funding including through the Canadian Infrastructure Bank must allow provinces and territories to fund planned priorities and commitments;
  • Federal investments should be flexible enough to support a range of
    projects, from small to large;
  • Federal funding should not result in additional fiscal pressure on provinces and territories, and municipalities, including cost-matching;
  • Federal funding should be flexible and contribute towards advancing critical planning, environmental assessment, and design phases of infrastructure projects;
  • Funds should be flowed directly to provinces and territories, and respect their existing relationships with municipalities.
  • Agreement administration and reporting requirements should be streamlined, reasonable and appropriately resourced. Those requirements should recognize provinces and territories’ existing reporting mechanisms.
  • Agreements should be global (not project by project) and provide sufficient flexibility to re-profile funding between programs to align with investment priorities and respond to areas of greatest infrastructure need.

Jobs/Skills Training

Canada’s economic prosperity, competitive advantage and social cohesion rely on a skilled, innovative, adaptable and flexible workforce, and inclusive labour markets that maximize the participation of all Canadians.  

Premiers acknowledge the federal government’s Budget 2017 commitment to provide additional funding for labour market transfer agreements.  Premiers welcome the federal government’s commitment to a new generation of permanent, more flexible, and streamlined labour market agreements. The agreements should not adversely affect current dollar allocations to any province or territory. New allocations should be based on need. Premiers hope to quickly conclude agreements with the federal government.

In recognition of diverse labour markets and provincial and territorial responsibility for skills training and labour market programming, provinces and territories will continue to work collaboratively with the federal government to foster and grow a highly-skilled workforce, support adult and lifelong learning and identify meaningful ways to improve labour market outcomes for all Canadians, including traditionally underrepresented groups.

Cooperative Federalism

Premiers reiterated their strong desire to work collaboratively with the federal government towards shared objectives. All provinces and territories should continue to have access to federal funds even as jurisdictions work to resolve disputes that may arise from time to time. In a federation, federal, provincial and territorial governments must respect the policy choices and priorities of other governments within their respective areas of competence.

NOTE: John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, did not attend the 2017 Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers.


Les premiers ministres des provinces et des territoires se concentrent sur l’emploi et la croissance économique

Accord de libre-échange Canada – Chine

Les premiers ministres ont souligné l’importance, pour la croissance de l’économie au Canada, de l’élargissement du commerce et ont insisté sur la nécessité de promouvoir dans des marchés internationaux en croissance, tel que celui de la Chine, les possibilités d’échanges commerciaux avec le Canada.

Ils se réjouissent de l’engagement du premier ministre du Canada à explorer la possibilité de conclure un accord de libre-échange avec la Chine. Les provinces et les territoires travaillent à accroître leurs liens commerciaux avec la Chine et avec les autres économies en croissance de l’Asie. Les premiers ministres des provinces et territoires ont dirigé des missions commerciales en Chine en 2008, 2011 et 2014 et entendent continuer de travailler à renforcer les liens commerciaux et culturels du Canada avec ce pays.

Inspirés par le succès des récentes négociations commerciales internationales, les premiers ministres demandent au premier ministre du Canada de s’assurer que les provinces et les territoires puissent participer activement aux négociations des nouvelles ententes commerciales avec la Chine, une fois que ces négociations auront commencé.

Approbations environnementales

Dans la foulée du dépôt des récents rapports de groupes d’experts fédéraux, les premiers ministres ont discuté de la question des approbations environnementales. Les lois en matière de protection environnementale et les mécanismes d’évaluation de classe internationale en place au Canada doivent continuer de concilier le nécessaire équilibre entre l’exploitation responsable des ressources et un environnement durable.

Les premiers ministres demandent au gouvernement fédéral de travailler avec les provinces et les territoires afin que les mécanismes d’évaluation environnementale respectent le principe « un projet, une évaluation », qu’ils ne viennent pas ajouter de dédoublements inutiles et de retards dans le développement responsable des ressources naturelles au Canada, qu’ils continuent de s’appuyer sur la meilleure expertise disponible, notamment celle de l’Office national de l’énergie, et que toute modification à ce chapitre respecte à la fois les compétences provinciales et territoriales et les régimes de cogestion existants. Les modifications au mécanisme d’évaluation fédéral doivent garantir un cadre réglementaire clair et des décisions en temps opportun, tout en assurant la transparence et une véritable participation. 

Stratégie canadienne de l’énergie

Les premiers ministres ont discuté de la mise en œuvre de la Stratégie canadienne de l’énergie (SCE), rendue publique en juillet 2015. La SCE est un cadre souple permettant aux provinces et aux territoires de réaliser une vision commune de l’avenir énergétique du Canada. Elle soutient un développement énergétique durable tout en aidant le secteur de l’énergie au Canada à demeurer concurrentiel à l’international. Lors de leur dernière rencontre estivale, les premiers ministres avaient demandé aux ministres de poursuivre leur travail de collaboration à l’égard des quatre domaines prioritaires de la SCE, soit l’efficacité énergétique, l’acheminement de l’énergie, les changements climatiques et la transition vers une économie plus sobre en carbone, ainsi que la technologie et l’innovation. 

Les travaux effectués jusqu’à présent dans le cadre de la SCE comprennent notamment une collaboration portant sur des solutions innovantes visant à réduire l’utilisation du diésel dans les communautés éloignées ainsi que des travaux communs pour une utilisation accrue de technologies novatrices, telles que celle des véhicules à émission zéro ou de la production et du stockage d’énergie renouvelable. Dans le cadre de la SCE, les provinces et les territoires ont également accompli des progrès considérables dans l’harmonisation des normes d’efficacité énergétique et ont influencé les normes fédérales d’efficacité énergétique des appareils et les Codes du bâtiment. La SCE s’est intéressée aux possibilités d’améliorer les interconnexions régionales de transmission d’électricité et d’autres infrastructures de transport et de transmission de l’énergie. Ces réalisations s’ajoutent au travail effectué en appui aux objectifs et à la vision de la SCE, en cours à l’échelle régionale et au sein de chaque province et territoire. 

Adaptation

Les premiers ministres ont discuté du besoin d’une planification mieux coordonnée, de financement et d’innovation pour aider les communautés, les régions, l’industrie et les gouvernements à s’adapter aux changements à long terme du climat, de la température et des conditions environnementales. Les premiers ministres sont encouragés par les engagements en matière d’adaptation pris par le gouvernement fédéral dans son budget 2017. Toutefois, compte tenu de l’urgence de s’assurer que les effets des changements climatiques soient pris en compte, notamment pour les investissements en infrastructure, les premiers ministres exhortent le gouvernement fédéral de préciser comment ce financement viendra appuyer directement les plans et les mesures des provinces et des territoires en matière d’adaptation.

Les premiers ministres demandent également des améliorations aux Accords d’aide financière en cas de catastrophe, notamment le retour aux seuils de financement en vigueur en 2015 ainsi qu’une réduction de la bureaucratie afin d’accélérer le remboursement des coûts initiaux des catastrophes assumés par les provinces et territoires. Les premiers ministres insistent également sur la nécessité pour le gouvernement fédéral de réaliser des investissements stratégiques dans une infrastructure résiliente, notamment pour le soutien du « reconstruire en mieux », afin d’atténuer les répercussions de catastrophes futures.

Communautés nordiques

Les premiers ministres demandent au gouvernement fédéral d’être un partenaire plus engagé dans le soutien aux infrastructures stratégiques de nature préventive. Le gouvernement fédéral devrait accélérer la mise en œuvre de ses engagements antérieurs en matière d’adaptation aux changements climatiques des communautés nordiques qui sont particulièrement vulnérables.

Le Canada peut se positionner comme chef de file des nouvelles technologies innovantes qui pourront favoriser la mise en œuvre de mesures d’adaptation telles que la réduction du recours au diésel dans les communautés nordiques.

Infrastructure

Les premiers ministres saluent l’engagement du gouvernement fédéral à offrir un nouveau financement destiné aux infrastructures. Ce financement favorisera la croissance économique du Canada. Les premiers ministres ont également souligné l’envergure considérable des investissements provinciaux et territoriaux prévus en infrastructure. Le financement du gouvernement fédéral devrait s’ajouter aux investissements provinciaux et territoriaux en matière d’infrastructure pour la durée des ententes.

S’inspirant des résultats des négociations de la phase I, les premiers ministres ont insisté sur ce qui suit pour la phase II : 

le financement fédéral, y compris celui accordé dans le cadre de la Banque de l’infrastructure du Canada, doit permettre aux provinces et aux territoires de financer leurs priorités et leurs engagements déjà prévus;

  • les investissements du gouvernement fédéral devraient être suffisamment souples pour permettre de soutenir un large éventail de projets, des plus petits aux plus grands;
  • le financement fédéral ne devrait pas entraîner de pressions financières additionnelles sur les provinces, les territoires, ni sur les municipalités, y compris lors du recours à une formule à coûts partagés;
  • le financement fédéral devrait être souple et contribuer à la réalisation  des étapes essentielles de planification, d’évaluation environnementale et de conception des projets d’infrastructure;
  • les fonds devraient être versés directement aux provinces et aux territoires, tout en respectant les relations existantes qu’ils entretiennent déjà avec les municipalités;
  • la gestion des ententes et les exigences de reddition de comptes devraient être simplifiées, raisonnables et dotées des ressources appropriées. Ces exigences devraient tenir compte des mécanismes de reddition de compte existants des provinces et des territoires.
  • la gestion des ententes et les exigences de reddition de comptes devraient être simplifiées, raisonnables et dotées des ressources appropriées. Ces exigences devraient tenir compte des mécanismes de reddition de compte existants des provinces et des territoires.
  • les ententes devraient être globales (au lieu d’une approche projet par projet) et être suffisamment souples pour permettre une réaffectation du financement entre les programmes afin de s’assurer qu’il concorde avec les priorités et réponde aux principaux besoins en matière d’infrastructure.

Emploi/formation professionnelle

La prospérité économique, l’avantage concurrentiel et la cohésion sociale du Canada reposent sur une main-d’œuvre compétente, innovante, souple et capable de s’adapter, ainsi que sur des marchés du travail inclusifs qui pourront maximiser la contribution de tous les Canadiens.   

Les premiers ministres prennent acte de l’engagement du gouvernement fédéral à offrir, dans son budget de 2017, un financement supplémentaire pour les ententes de transfert relatives au marché du travail. Ils accueillent favorablement l’engagement du gouvernement fédéral à mettre en place une nouvelle génération d’ententes sur le marché du travail qui seront permanentes, plus souples et efficaces. Ces ententes ne devraient pas affecter négativement les sommes allouées actuellement à quelque province ou territoire que ce soit. Les nouvelles allocations devraient être établies en fonction des besoins. Les premiers ministres espèrent une conclusion rapide de ces ententes avec le gouvernement fédéral.

Reconnaissant que les marchés du travail sont diversifiés et que les provinces et les territoires sont responsables des mesures relatives au marché du travail et à la formation professionnelle, les provinces et les territoires continueront de travailler en collaboration avec le gouvernement fédéral afin de favoriser l’émergence et la croissance d’une main-d’œuvre hautement compétente, de soutenir la formation aux adultes et la formation permanente et de définir des moyens constructifs d’améliorer les perspectives sur le marché du travail pour tous les Canadiens, y compris celles des groupes sous-représentés.

Fédéralisme coopératif

Les premiers ministres ont réitéré leur vif désir de collaborer avec le gouvernement fédéral en vue d’atteindre des objectifs communs. Toutes les provinces et tous les territoires devraient toutefois continuer d’avoir accès à des fonds fédéraux, et ce, même lors de périodes au cours desquelles les gouvernements travaillent à résoudre les différends qui peuvent survenir de temps à autre. Dans une fédération, les gouvernements fédéral, provinciaux et territoriaux doivent respecter les choix politiques et les priorités des autres gouvernements à l’intérieur de leurs champs de compétence respectifs.   

À NOTER : John Horgan, premier ministre de la Colombie-Britannique, n’a pas participé à la Rencontre estivale 2017 des Premiers ministres des provinces et territoires.


Premiers Highlight Key Justice and Social Issues

Criminal Justice

Premiers reviewed the implications of the R v. Jordan decision on provincial and territorial justice systems, and discussed the solutions under consideration on how to reduce court delays while ensuring respect for victims, the rights of the accused persons and public safety.  Possible solutions discussed included reforms to the use of preliminary inquiries, revisiting the use of mandatory minimum sentences, and the importance of appointing more judges to manage anticipated caseloads.

Premiers also reported on the means and measures they have taken so far to reduce court delays and the backlog of judicial proceedings. Premiers reiterated the importance of the federal government providing the required resources and measures to achieve these objectives, as well as quickly implementing the legislative solutions being identified jointly by FPT Ministers responsible for Justice at their September meeting.

Cannabis

The federal government has made a decision to legalize cannabis. Cannabis legalization is a complex issue that requires a focussed approach by provinces and territories. To achieve better outcomes for Canadians as the provinces and territories plan for cannabis legalization, Premiers have established a Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Cannabis Legalization. This Working Group will report by November 1, 2017 to Premiers and identify common considerations and best practices to cannabis legalization and regulation, guided by the objectives of reducing harm, protecting public safety, and reducing illicit activity.

Premiers note that the administration and regulation, public education and law enforcement efforts necessary to support legalization will entail significant costs for provincial and territorial governments.  The federal government, as the government advancing this policy change, needs to invest the appropriate resources to support cannabis legalization.

Premiers also noted that there are challenges associated with the federal government’s proposed implementation date of July 1, 2018.  Premiers reiterated that federal engagement and information sharing will be required in order to manage this transition properly. Issues that need to be resolved include:

  • Road safety and enforcement mechanisms
  • Preparation and training for distribution network
  • Taxation arrangements and cost coverage
  • Public education campaigns
  • Supply, demand and relationship to black market

Premiers will receive a report from the Working Group in November. They are concerned the federal timeline may be unrealistic, given the issues listed above. If these outstanding issues are not properly addressed by the federal government, provinces and territories will require an extension of the implementation date.

Opioids

The opioid overdose epidemic in Canada has led to tragic loss of life and has had a devastating impact on families and communities across the country. Approximately 2,500 Canadians died from an opioid-related overdose in 2016, which is seven people each day. Premiers discussed the work that provinces and territories are undertaking in their own jurisdictions and stressed the importance of intergovernmental cooperation to mitigate this urgent and evolving issue on an emergent basis.

To combat this crisis, provinces and territories are strongly committed to using a harm reduction approach to mitigate this crisis and will continue to deploy a range of evidence-based tools to prevent further tragic deaths, as well as sharing best practices. Additional work must be done in cooperation with health professionals to adapt prescribing practices.

Premiers are pleased with the Government of Canada’s work to approve new supervised consumption sites and encourage the federal government to consider further proposals. Premiers also called on the federal government to undertake further concrete actions to improve public safety in Canada:

  • Provide greater support for enhanced RCMP/Canada Border Services Agency partnership funding;
  • Reinstate federal RCMP resources to intercept opioids such as fentanyl and reduce importation and trafficking of opioids.
  • Increase funding for equipment and training for the RCMP Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response Team and support greater networking of provincial toxicological and poison control services.
  • Federal officials should work directly with U.S. public health officials to identify best practices, risks and areas of cooperation in combatting this crisis.

Pharmaceutical Drug Coverage

For a number of years, provinces and territories have been pioneering work to improve the affordability, accessibility and appropriate use of prescription drugs. This includes the work of the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) on brand name drugs, generic drugs, and special categories of drugs that bring forward particularly complex and difficult challenges. As of March 31, 2017, the pCPA’s efforts have led to a $1.28 billion a year in estimated combined jurisdictional savings.

Premiers noted that discrepancies persist between the prices of prescription drugs sold in Canada and those available in certain other countries. Premiers intend to continue to work collaboratively in order to further reduce drug prices.

To build on the success of this intergovernmental collaboration, Premiers also agreed to continue exploring opportunities to improve drug coverage for Canadians, recognizing the different needs and systems in place in each province and territory.

Premiers call on the federal government to continue to collaborate with provinces and territories on this important work and engage actively in discussions about establishing a National Pharmacare Plan to ensure Canadians have access to the medications that keep them healthy.

Health Procurement

Premiers discussed the shared challenges associated with rising costs and demands in health service delivery, noting the ongoing need to drive innovation and focus on front-line care. Building on the success of the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance, Premiers committed to explore further collaboration in procurement of basic and specialized medical equipment.

Nutrition North Canada

Premiers recognize the need to reduce the high cost of food and ensure availability in isolated northern communities. These costs are high because of remote geography, shipping costs, transportation infrastructure deficits and other issues including a lack of options related to agricultural development. High food costs place a burden on already vulnerable populations struggling with food insecurity and health issues. On an urgent basis, Premiers call on the federal government to increase the accountability and transparency of the federal Nutrition North Canada program so that the subsidy directly reduces the cost of food for residents of isolated communities.

Refugee Claimants

Premiers discussed the importance of immigration and successful settlement of all newcomers, including refugees, and addressing the needs of asylum seekers with dignity, respect and security. Premiers call on the federal government to address the growing wait times for asylum claims to be processed, and to work with jurisdictions experiencing an influx of refugee claimants on a comprehensive, long-term plan which would include additional legal aid funding from the federal government. 

National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Premiers have long called for a National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. They continue to support Indigenous communities in their emphasis on the need to move forward with a family-centered approach that respects and honours those who have experienced loss of loved ones. Premiers also stressed the importance of the Inquiry meeting and engaging with Indigenous peoples in all jurisdictions.

NOTE: John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia, did not attend the 2017 Meeting of Canada’s Premiers. 


Les questions sociales et de justice au cœur des discussions des premiers ministres des provinces et des territoires 

Justice pénale

Les premiers ministres se sont penchés sur les implications de la décision de la Cour Suprême dans l’affaire R. c. Jordan sur les systèmes de justice provinciaux et territoriaux et ont discuté des solutions envisagées afin de réduire les délais judiciaires tout en assurant le respect des victimes, les droits des personnes accusées et la sécurité publique. Parmi les solutions discutées, mentionnons des réformes sur l’utilisation des enquêtes préliminaires, la révision de l’utilisation des peines minimales obligatoires et l’importance de nommer davantage de juges pour gérer le grand nombre de dossiers anticipés.

Les premiers ministres ont également fait rapport relativement aux moyens et aux mesures qu’ils ont pris jusqu’à maintenant pour réduire les délais judiciaires et diminuer l’arriéré des procédures judiciaires. Les premiers ministres ont réitéré l’importance, pour le gouvernement fédéral, de fournir les ressources requises, de mettre en place les mesures nécessaires pour atteindre ces objectifs et de mettre en œuvre rapidement les mesures législatives qui seront proposées conjointement par les ministres fédéral, provinciaux et territoriaux responsables de la justice à leur rencontre de septembre prochain. 

Cannabis

Le gouvernement fédéral a décidé de légaliser le cannabis. La légalisation du cannabis est une question complexe, nécessitant une approche ciblée des provinces et des territoires. De façon à assurer de meilleures perspectives pour les Canadiens alors que les provinces et les territoires sont à planifier l’encadrement de la légalisation du cannabis, les premiers ministres ont créé le Groupe de travail provincial-territorial sur la légalisation du cannabis. Ce groupe de travail, qui fera rapport aux premiers ministres au plus tard le 1er novembre 2017, établira les préoccupations communes et les pratiques exemplaires en matière de légalisation et de réglementation du cannabis, tout en poursuivant des objectifs de réduction des méfaits, de protection de la sécurité publique et de réduction des activités illicites.

Les premiers ministres estiment que le cadre de gestion, la réglementation, la sensibilisation du public et l’application de la loi en vue d’appuyer cette légalisation entraîneront des coûts considérables pour les gouvernements provinciaux et territoriaux. Le gouvernement fédéral, étant celui qui propose ce changement de politique, doit investir les ressources appropriées pour appuyer la légalisation du cannabis.

Les premiers ministres ont aussi fait état des défis associés à la date de mise en œuvre du 1er juillet 2018 proposée par le gouvernement du Canada. Ils ont réitéré qu’ils auront notamment besoin de discuter et d’échanger de l’information avec le gouvernement fédéral pour être en mesure d’assurer adéquatement cette transition. Parmi les questions qui devront être résolues, mentionnons : 

  • sécurité routière et mécanismes visant l’application du Code de la sécurité routière;
  • préparation et formation reliées aux réseaux de distribution;
  • régimes de taxation et prise en compte des coûts;
  • campagnes de sensibilisation du public;
  • approvisionnement, demande et questions entourant le marché illicite.

Les premiers ministres recevront un rapport du Groupe de travail en novembre. Ils craignent toutefois que l’échéancier imposé par le gouvernement fédéral soit irréaliste. Compte tenu des aspects mentionnés ci-dessus, si les questions encore en suspens ne sont pas résolues correctement par le gouvernement fédéral, les provinces et les territoires exigeront le report de la date d’entrée en vigueur de la légalisation.

Opioïdes

L’épidémie de surdoses d’opioïdes au Canada a entraîné des pertes de vie tragiques et a eu des effets dévastateurs sur plusieurs familles et communautés partout au pays. Environ 2 500 Canadiens sont morts d’une surdose d’opioïdes en 2016, soit sept personnes par jour. Les premiers ministres ont discuté des travaux que les gouvernements des provinces et des territoires ont entrepris respectivement et ont insisté sur l’importance de la coopération intergouvernementale pour atténuer, dès leur apparition, les impacts de ce problème urgent et en constante évolution.

Pour lutter contre cette crise, les provinces et les territoires se sont engagés à utiliser une approche de réduction des méfaits et continueront de déployer une gamme d’outils éprouvés pour prévenir d’autres pertes de vie tragiques, ainsi qu’à échanger des pratiques exemplaires dans ce domaine. Des travaux additionnels devront être accomplis en collaboration avec les professionnels de la santé afin que les pratiques en matière de prescription soient modifiées en conséquence.

Les premiers ministres apprécient le travail accompli par le gouvernement du Canada concernant l’approbation de nouveaux sites de consommation supervisés et encouragent le gouvernement fédéral à envisager d’autres sites du genre. Ils demandent également au gouvernement fédéral d’adopter d’autres mesures concrètes visant à améliorer la sécurité du public au Canada, notamment :

  • Accroître son soutien financier afin de permettre un partenariat accru entre la Gendarmerie royale du Canada et l’Agence des services frontaliers du Canada;
  • Rétablir les ressources fédérales allouées à la Gendarmerie royale du Canada et dédiées à l’interception des opioïdes comme le fentanyl et à réduire l’importation et le trafic d’opioïdes.
  • Accroître le financement consacré à l’équipement et à la formation de l’Équipe de lutte et d’intervention contre les laboratoires clandestins de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada et favoriser un réseautage accru entre les divers centres antipoison et de contrôle toxicologique provinciaux.

Les hauts fonctionnaires du gouvernement fédéral devraient travailler directement avec les fonctionnaires américains de la santé publique afin d’établir les pratiques exemplaires, de définir les risques et de cerner les possibilités de coopération afin de combattre cette crise.

Couverture des médicaments assurés

Pendant bon nombre d’années, les provinces et les territoires ont été de véritables pionniers dans leur travail visant à améliorer le caractère abordable, l’accessibilité et l’utilisation appropriée des médicaments sur ordonnance. Ils ont notamment travaillé, dans le cadre de l’Alliance pancanadienne pharmaceutique (APP) sur les médicaments novateurs, les médicaments génériques et les catégories spéciales de médicaments qui présentent des défis particulièrement complexes et difficiles. En date du 31 mars 2017, les efforts de l’APP avaient permis de réaliser des économies combinées évaluées à 1,28 milliard de dollars par année pour les gouvernements participants.

Les premiers ministres ont constaté que des disparités persistent entre les prix des médicaments d’ordonnance vendus au Canada et ceux disponibles dans certains autres pays. Les premiers ministres ont l’intention de poursuivre leur travail de collaboration afin de réduire davantage les prix des médicaments.

S’appuyant sur le succès de cette collaboration intergouvernementale, les premiers ministres ont également convenu de continuer à examiner les possibilités d’améliorer la couverture des médicaments pour les Canadiens, en tenant compte des systèmes déjà en place dans chaque province et territoire.

Les premiers ministres demandent au gouvernement fédéral de continuer de collaborer avec les provinces et les territoires dans le cadre de ces travaux d’importance et de participer activement aux discussions concernant la mise sur pied d’un Régime national d’assurance médicaments afin que les Canadiens aient accès aux médicaments qui puissent les maintenir en bonne santé.

Approvisionnement dans le secteur de la santé

Les premiers ministres ont discuté des défis communs associés à la hausse des coûts et de la demande en matière de prestation des soins de santé, soulignant le besoin constant de stimuler l’innovation et de se concentrer sur les soins de première ligne. S’appuyant sur le succès de l’Alliance pancanadienne pharmaceutique, les premiers ministres se sont engagés à explorer d’autres avenues de collaboration, notamment en matière d’achat d’équipement médical de base et spécialisé.

Nutrition Nord Canada

Les premiers ministres reconnaissent la nécessité de réduire le coût élevé de la nourriture et d’en assurer une meilleure disponibilité dans les communautés isolées. Ces coûts sont élevés en raison de l’éloignement géographique, des frais de transport, des lacunes dans les infrastructures de transport et d’autres problèmes comme le manque d’alternatives en matière de développement agricole. Ces coûts élevés constituent un fardeau pour des populations déjà vulnérables, aux prises avec des problèmes de santé et d’insécurité alimentaire. De façon urgente, les premiers ministres pressent, le gouvernement fédéral d’accroître l’imputabilité et la transparence du programme fédéral Nutrition Nord Canada, afin d’assurer que les subventions fédérales versées réduisent directement le prix des aliments défrayés par les citoyens vivant dans les communautés isolées.

Demandeurs du statut de réfugié

Les premiers ministres ont discuté de l’importance de l’immigration et des services d’établissement offerts aux nouveaux arrivants, incluant les réfugiés, et de celle de répondre aux besoins des demandeurs d’asile avec dignité, respect et sécurité. Les premiers ministres demandent au gouvernement fédéral de s’attaquer aux délais croissants dans le traitement des demandes d’asile et de travailler avec les gouvernements provinciaux et territoriaux aux prises avec un afflux de demandeurs du statut de réfugié à l’élaboration d’un plan global et à long terme, lequel comprendrait un financement supplémentaire de l’aide juridique du gouvernement fédéral. 

Enquête nationale sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées

Les premiers ministres ont longtemps demandé la tenue de l’Enquête nationale sur les femmes et les filles autochtones disparues et assassinées. Ils continuent de soutenir les organisations autochtones régionales et nationales qui insistent sur la nécessité d’aller de l’avant avec une approche axée sur les familles, qui respectera les personnes ayant vécu la perte d’êtres chers et leur rendra hommage. Ils ont également insisté sur l’importance, pour l’Enquête, de rencontrer les peuples autochtones de toutes les provinces et territoires du Canada et d’échanger avec eux.

À NOTER : John Horgan, premier ministre de la Colombie-Britannique, n’a pas participé à la Rencontre estivale 2017 des Premiers ministres des provinces et territoires.


Annual report: navigating a challenging year

In a year marked by a massive wildfire, low oil prices and continued economic downturn, government responded by supporting families and jobs.

After hitting a low point in mid-summer 2016, Alberta’s economy began showing signs of recovery, with 44,000 full-time jobs added between July and March. The Alberta Activity Index, a weighted average of nine monthly indicators, showed a 7.7 per cent increase in economic activity from May to March.

The Government of Alberta 2016-17 Annual Report highlights work by the government to protect essential programs and services, and encourage diversification and job creation during dramatic upheavals in the province’s economy and finances.

“The catastrophic tumble in oil prices took a deep toll on Alberta families last year and that was only compounded by the Wood Buffalo wildfire. But Albertans are resilient and compassionate. When times are tough, we help each other. While Alberta’s economy returns to growth and jobs continue to come back, we recognize this is not yet felt by all Albertans. That’s why we continue to work hard to make life better for all Alberta families.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board & Minister of Finance

Government followed through on its promises and provided stable funding for core programs, including health care, social services and education, in 2016-17. This ensured families had access to the supports and services they count on especially in tough times. The new Alberta Child Benefit and expanded Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit helped families living on low incomes in a time of hardship with direct financial assistance.

Investment in infrastructure kept many Albertans working on badly needed schools, health facilities and roads. Construction was completed on 83 new schools and modernization projects, the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital addition, twinning of Highway 63 between Fort McMurray and Grassland, and the Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton. Significant progress was made on the Calgary ring road, post-secondary facilities, housing and many other projects.

Government cut the small business tax rate by 33 per cent to two per cent and introduced the Alberta Investor Tax Credit and Capital Investment Tax Credit to spur jobs and encourage economic growth and diversification.

The province ended 2016-17 with a $10.8 billion deficit, $263 million higher than estimated in Budget 2016 and consistent with second and third quarter forecasts. This reflects the impact of the Wood Buffalo wildfire, and accounting treatments regarding the $1.1 billion for future coal transition payments and $2 billion from the Balancing Pool, both at the recommendation of the Office of the Auditor General. Neither item had an impact on actual spending but both count toward the deficit.

Government found savings and efficiencies without compromising services or resorting to reckless cuts. A new deal with Alberta’s doctors saves up to $500 million over two years. Restraint continues through limiting discretionary spending and freezing management and political staff salaries. The ongoing agencies, boards and commissions review will save $16 million when cuts to salaries and perks of highly paid executives come fully into effect. Government also found $250 million in various in-year savings and expense reductions in 2016-17.

Government has limited overall operating expense growth to an average of about 3 per cent, despite pressures from strong population growth and the economic downturn, and compared to annual growth of 4.6 per cent between 2009-10 and 2014-15.

Revenue was $42.4 billion, up $1 billion from budget. Gains from higher-than-expected Heritage Fund investment income and bitumen royalties were partly offset by lower personal and corporate income tax revenue as low oil prices and wildfire disruptions weighed on economic activity and incomes.

Operating expense was $44.8 billion, a $519 million increase from budget, largely to address pressures from continued population growth and the economic downturn. Changes in spending included funding for student enrolment growth in schools and higher caseloads for income support, AISH and children’s programs.

Alberta’s economy contracted an estimated 3.5 per cent in 2016, but positive indicators began to appear later in the summer and continued into early 2017. Manufacturing sales climbed during the last half of the fiscal year, with food processing, wood product manufacturing and chemicals improving. By the end of 2016-17, rig activity had nearly doubled, retail sales recovered almost all the losses from the downturn, and non-energy exports and manufacturing shipments rebounded.

2016-17 key facts

  • The Alberta government continues to have net assets totalling $37.7 billion, contributing to one of the strongest balance sheets in the country.
  • Wood Buffalo firefighting and support expense was $710 million, offset by $495 million in federal assistance.
  • The Wood Buffalo wildfire slowed the economy by an estimated 0.6 per cent. Lost revenue from royalties, personal and corporate income taxes was estimated at about $300 million.
  • Population growth was 1.8 per cent in 2016.
  • The Heritage Fund’s book value was $15.4 billion, an increase of $182 million from March 31, 2016. 
  • WTI averaged US$47.93 per barrel (up from the budget estimate of $42).
  • The US-Canadian dollar exchange rate averaged US¢76.2/Cdn$ in 2016-17 (2.7 cents higher than the Budget 2016 estimate).
  • The light-heavy differential for crude oil was US$13.93 ($1.28 narrower than the budget estimate).

Related information

Multimedia

Alberta stands firm in support of forestry

June 27, 2017 Media inquiries

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Oneil Carlier issued the following statement in response to the United States’ anti-dumping action against Canada and Alberta’s softwood industry:

“We continue to stand with Alberta’s forest workers, their families and the communities that rely on a robust forest industry.

“International tribunals have consistently ruled in our favour following U.S. allegations of Canadian lumber subsidies and we are confident we will prevail again for the fifth time.

“Defending Alberta jobs and fair market access remains our top priority as we work closely with the federal government and other affected provinces.

“Together, we have developed plans to help support Albertans in addressing the possible effects of a prolonged trade dispute.

“We are also working with industry to increase domestic use and access to other international markets to open up new economic opportunities for our forestry sector.

“As we move forward, we will continue to advocate for secure access for our lumber products into the important U.S. market.   

“Our Washington, D.C. office remains heavily engaged on this file and is working closely with former Canadian ambassador Gary Doer who is providing a strong voice in Washington, on behalf of our government, Alberta’s producers and our softwood lumber interests.

“At the end of the day, it is in the best interests of all parties that a new Softwood Lumber Agreement is reached to continue our strong trade relationship, create certainty for consumers and support working families and businesses in the forestry sector.”

 

Sun rises on solar rebates

The beginning of summer marks the official launch of Energy Efficiency Alberta’s $36-million Residential and Commercial Solar Program.

Starting June 21, homeowners can receive up to 30 per cent off solar panel installation costs, to a maximum rebate of $10,000. Businesses and non-profit organizations are eligible for up to 25 per cent of system costs, to a maximum rebate of $500,000. Rebates are based on the size of the installation and calculated at $0.75 per watt.

“This solar program helps Albertans lower their utility bills and invest in their homes. Solar jobs are growing and the industry is putting Albertans back to work. Solar electricity puts the power in Albertans’ hands, making life more affordable while diversifying the economy and reducing carbon pollution.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office

“We are introducing bold, new environmental sustainability initiatives across Canada in an effort to reduce our environmental impact. It was heartening to learn that Energy Efficiency Alberta and the Residential and Commercial Solar Program will be encouraging others to take action. This reinforces our efforts by allowing us to invest in technology that further reduces our carbon footprint.”

Peter Simons, CEO, Simons

“Solar uptake has doubled since 2015 and will only continue to grow as costs come down. This rebate program has been a missing piece in making the push toward solar and renewable generation in Alberta.”

Monica Curtis, CEO, Energy Efficiency Alberta

“This is an exciting day for solar in Alberta. This program will create good jobs in engineering, project management, manufacturing, sales, construction and more. It will also help Albertans reduce emissions, save on electricity costs and add value to their homes and businesses.”

David Vonesch, COO, SkyFire Energy

All applicants to the two-year program must own or have long-term rights to their property. Systems must also be designed and installed by qualified installers using CSA-approved panels and components or applicable certification to Canadian standards.

Once a system is installed, inspected and connected, Albertans will receive a direct deposit in 10 to 15 business days. Albertans wanting to ensure their project is eligible can apply directly at Energy Efficiency Alberta for pre-approval. Systems installed prior to April 15, 2017 are not eligible for a rebate.

Quick facts:

  • The Residential and Commercial Solar Program is expected to create roughly 50 megawatts of solar capacity and support the creation of 900 jobs in Alberta’s solar sector by 2019.
  • Without incentives, Alberta’s solar uptake is projected to grow from two megawatts to just 30 megawatts over the next five years. With this program, solar uptake is expected to quadruple each year – increasing to eight megawatts in 2017 and up to 140 megawatts by 2022.
  • An average Alberta household uses 7,200 kWh per year, which would be generated by a 5.5 kW system in Calgary or a 6.3 kW system in Edmonton.
    • A 5.5 kW system in Calgary would be eligible for a rebate of $4,100 on a solar PV system costing approximately $15,000-$17,000.
    • A 6.3 kW system in Edmonton would be eligible for a rebate of $4,700 on a solar PV system costing approximately $17,000-$19,000.

Related information

Helping youth learn about healthy relationships

Healthy Families Healthy Futures has earned an $84,826 Status of Women grant to teach youth about consent and gender-based violence.

The program uses Red Cross’s Healthy Youth Relationships Program – an evidence-based approach focused on youth to shift attitudes to build a more respectful, inclusive and abuse-free society.         

“Youth outreach can prevent unhealthy relationships before they start. Respectful partnerships make our communities safer and advance our goal of gender equality.”

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women

Healthy Families Healthy Futures has partnered with the Aspen View School Division, the Athabasca Native Friendship Centre and Community Action for Healthy Relationships to expand its training and workshops for young peoplein Athabasca, Barrhead, Westlock and area.

The initiative will involve schools, agencies and clubs working with youth. The program currently reaches only one or two schools per year.

“Youth in our communities need evidence-based information that is practical and easy to understand that will help them make good decisions about their bodies and their relationships. Expanding our work helps us reach more kids – especially those who might otherwise be left behind.”

Kelly-Lynn Spafford, manager, Healthy Families Healthy Futures

About Status of Women grants

Status of Women’s first-ever grants program funds 34 innovative projects by not-for-profit and charitable organizations for a total of $1.5 million in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

Successful projects, such as Community Action for Healthy Relationships in Youth, work to end violence against women and girls, help women get good jobs and training and increase the number of women in leadership roles.

Related information