Lethbridge a new hub for science and research

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University of Lethbridge students give Minister Phillips and MLA Fitzpatrick a demonstration in the new Destination Project SynBridge Lab.

Scheduled to open for classes in September 2019, the $247-million, 38,400-square-metre building is the largest expansion at the University of Lethbridge in more than 40 years. About 750 new jobs were created to complete construction over the past four year, and the project will provide learning spaces for an additional 450 students.

“Our government was proud to fully fund this incredible facility so that residents of southern Alberta can access world-class science programs close to home. I’m inspired to think that because of this investment, students will work with some of our country’s most talented minds to make discoveries, develop new technologies and bring their ideas to life.” 

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

“The Destination Project is a landmark achievement for our community and a gift to the next generation of Alberta leaders. This is the largest investment in the University of Lethbridge since it was built and completion of this world-class facility will attract new talent, expand student enrolment, support our research community and continue to grow the economy.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks and MLA, Lethbridge-West

“The faculty at the University of Lethbridge are world leaders in their respective fields and have been a critical element in the high-quality learning environment that our undergraduate and graduate students enjoy. This expertise will be completely unbridled in the Destination Project, which is arguably one of the most innovative teaching and research buildings in the world.”

Michael Mahon, president, University of Lethbridge 

“The Destination Project is community infrastructure. Not only will the facilities provide unparalleled research and teaching space for our faculty and students, but it will also be a hub where community gathers to learn, innovate and grow.”

Kurt Schlachter, board chair, University of Lethbridge

“The Destination Project will allow current and future students to study in a world-class environment that puts student accessibility and experiential learning at the forefront of one’s education.” 

Laura Bryan, president, University of Lethbridge Students’ Union

The University of Lethbridge aspires to meet gold LEED standards with this building by prioritizing energy efficiency. It will feature several innovative efficiency upgrades, such as a winter garden that facilitates fresh air exchange and passive heating and cooling.

The project will feature an incubation space for students and faculty to collaborate with industry, entrepreneurs and investors. This innovative approach will help researchers and students take their ideas to market and further diversify our economy.

This project is one of seven capital and planning projects for Alberta’s post-secondary system outlined in Budget 2018. Government will invest $479.3 million in these projects by 2020-21, plus an additional $356 million for capital maintenance and renewal.


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Lethbridge drug house boarded up

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The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs obtained a court order closing this house at 235 15 St. N. in Lethbridge for 90 days. Crews have boarded up the house, changed the locks and erected a fence around the property to enforce the closure.

Investigators from the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit of the Alberta Sheriffs worked with Lethbridge Police  to gather evidence necessary for a court order to close a property at 235 15 Street N for 90 days.

The court order took effect at noon Feb. 13, and work crews immediately began boarding up the house, changing the locks and putting a fence around the property. These measures are aimed at breaking a cycle of criminal activity at the property. Any occupants must leave the premises for the 90-day closure period.

“The collaboration between SCAN and concerned Albertans who report suspicious properties is a valuable tool in keeping our communities secure. I commend investigators for their diligent efforts to tackle crime and keep our communities safe.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

The SCAN investigation began in July 2018, in response to complaints from the community. SCAN investigators confirmed drug activity and partnered with Lethbridge police to address the issues.

On Aug. 2, 2018, Lethbridge police executed a search warrant at the property and seized drugs and weapons. SCAN issued a warning letter to the owner, who does not live at the property.

Drug activity at the property continued, prompting investigators to gather more evidence to support a Community Safety Order application in court.

On Dec. 21, 2018, Lethbridge police executed a second search warrant at the property, resulting in criminal charges against several people. Police found drugs, stolen identification and stolen property.

Following negotiations with the property owner, SCAN obtained a Community Safety Order from the Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 5, 2019. The owner agreed to the 90-day closure, which ends on May 13, 2019.

The Community Safety Order remains in effect for one year, giving SCAN the authority to monitor the property and enforce conditions until Feb. 5, 2020.

The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act gives sheriffs the option of targeting problem properties through civil enforcement.

Since its inception in 2008, Alberta’s SCAN unit has investigated nearly 5,000 problem properties across the province and has issued more than 70 Community Safety Orders. The majority of complaints are resolved informally, with no need for legal action, by working with property owners to address issues.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: SCAN Insp. Mike Letourneau and Const. Ryan Darroch of the Lethbridge Police Service will be available between 1:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 for on-camera interviews at 235 15 St. N, Lethbridge.


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Alberta invests in innovation to fuel the future

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Premier Notley announces investment in high tech with (L-R) Laura Kilcrease, John Shillington, Minister Bilous and Minister of Finance Joe Ceci.

The Alberta government is investing $100 million to attract more artificial intelligence-based high-tech companies to invest in Alberta. Coupled with last year’s investment of $50 million to create 3,000 new high-tech training seats at post-secondary institutions across the province, this represents a significant diversification initiative.

“Innovation is a critical tool for competitiveness in nearly every sector of the economy, including energy. By investing in technology and the talent that powers it, we are ensuring Alberta continues to be a world leader in clean, efficient energy production and that our economy is more resilient and diversified for the future.”  

Rachel Notley, Premier

The province’s investment in technology will build the industry and business capacity needed to help talented Albertans find jobs here at home. This investment in both Alberta Innovates and the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) will leverage partnerships with Alberta’s leading research universities and support long-term research and job creation.

The overall investment is estimated to result in:

  • more than 6,000 trained, skilled Albertans
  • the creation of over 140 new companies
  • over 30 new multi-national offices, labs in Alberta
  • over $207 million in leveraged investments by industry
  • increased competitiveness and productivity of at least 150 Alberta businesses through the use of artificial intelligence (AI)

“By investing today, we are setting Alberta up for long-term economic diversification and success, while creating thousands of jobs and generating millions in value in the near term.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

An initial investment of $27 million will allow Alberta non-profit Amii to develop a new program that supports companies looking to build their in-house AI capacity, incorporate innovative solutions and drive benefits. It also means the Edmonton-based organization can expand its presence and open a new Calgary office. This new investment, along with the federal government’s commitment of $25 million, will accelerate the positive impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the Alberta economy.

Amii is already home to some of the world’s top talent in AI. Estimates from across the high-tech community suggest this funding will result in about 5,600 new high-paid jobs and roughly $1.5 billion in overall value to Alberta businesses and Amii-affiliated startups.

“This landmark investment will catalyze economic growth stretching beyond Alberta’s machine intelligence sector. Businesses around the world are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence as key drivers of innovation across every industry sector. With this renewed support from the Government of Alberta, Amii will advance transformational business programs offering scientific mentorship and educational opportunities. Together, we’re helping Alberta businesses seize the opportunities presented by machine intelligence.”

John Shillington, CEO, Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute

The funding will also support Alberta Innovates with work focused on company growth and acceleration, applied research and development, industry solutions and establishing a stronger global market presence for Alberta.

“The support for these programs demonstrates the shift in how Alberta Innovates drives innovation and builds on past expertise to accelerate Alberta’s digital transformation towards a data-enabled economy.”

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

Alberta is attracting top-level talent and investment from around the world, including Google DeepMind, the Royal Bank of Canada and Mitsubishi which have all opened research facilities here. Interest from other major high-tech industry leaders is anticipated which will mean additional millions in new private-sector investment in the province and hundreds of new jobs for Albertans.

Quick facts

  • Since 2002, the Government of Alberta has invested about $42 million in AI-related research at the University of Alberta and Amii.
  • Alberta’s researchers are already ranked third in the world in the area of AI and machine learning, thanks in part to Amii.
  • More than 200 companies from around the world have expressed interest in working with Amii.
  • In 2017, the federal government committed $25 million for AI and innovation funding through the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to Alberta, delivered by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.


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Building for Alberta’s future

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Minister Eggen and Edmonton Public School Board vice chair Bridget Stirling with students at Dr. Lila Fahlman School announce the new Dr. Anne Anderson School.

Edmonton’s rapid growth has highlighted the need for a new high school in the city. The Government of Alberta is investing $79 million to build the Dr. Anne Anderson School to provide space for up to 1,800 Edmonton students. The school will have the capacity to expand and accommodate up to 2,400 students in the future. The school is in the planning stage and on track to open in 2021. The City of Edmonton will contribute an additional $5.5 million to the project.

“Our kids deserve to learn and grow in modern classrooms. We owe it to them and their families to ensure they are learning in good schools. That’s why this government is keeping its promises when it comes to investing in school construction. Thousands of students are now learning in new or modernized schools across Alberta as part of the largest infrastructure build in the province’s history.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

“Dr. Anne Anderson School meets the needs of families in one of Canada’s fastest-growing and youngest cities. Public education is a key Edmonton edge as we compete internationally for newcomers.”

Don Iveson, mayor, City of Edmonton

“We are thankful to the government for the funding for Dr. Anne Anderson School as our district’s infrastructure needs, particularly at the high school level, continue to be great. This new space will provide a safe, welcoming learning environment for thousands of students for years to come.” 

Michelle Draper, board chair, Edmonton Public Schools

The Government of Alberta has funded 244 school capital projects since May 2015. These projects will have created or modernized approximately 170,000 student spaces by the time they are all complete.

There are approximately 700,000 students in Alberta’s K-12 classrooms this school year, and that number is expected to grow by about 15,000 students each year for a number of years to come.

Dr. Anne Anderson was an Albertan who was instrumental in preserving the Cree language and promoting Métis heritage across Canada.

The minister visited students at Dr. Lila Fahlman School, a K-9 school in southwest Edmonton that was completed in September 2017 with a provincial investment of approximately $22 million. Students from this school and others are expected to attend grades 10 to 12 at the Dr. Anne Anderson School once completed.


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New affordable housing opens in Calgary

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(L-R) Councillor Evan Wolley, Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Minister Lori Sigurdson, MLA Deborah Drever and Sarah Woodgate celebrate the grand opening of the Wildwood affordable housing facility in Calgary.

Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson participated in a grand opening ceremony and facility tour to celebrate the official opening of Wildwood affordable housing.

The province provided a $10.9-million grant to construct the new complex, which includes sustainability features such as high-efficiency windows, water heaters and Energy Star label appliances that reduce energy consumption and operational costs.

“Every Albertan has a right to a safe and affordable place to call home, regardless of their income. Our investment in the Wildwood project is helping Calgary individuals and families with low income by increasing access to affordable housing in their community.”

Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing

“The City of Calgary is working hard to address the urgent need for affordable housing in all neighbourhoods. Our council contributed the land and allocated funds from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative to support this project. We’re working collaboratively with the province to help make the Wildwood community and Calgary stronger and more resilient.”

Naheed Nenshi, mayor, City of Calgary

“This development is an important step in our goal of increasing Calgary’s supply of homes for those struggling with housing costs. Currently, only 3.6 per cent of Calgary’s housing supply is non-market. The national average is six per cent. We have a long way to go in the city to get to average.”

Sarah Woodgate, director of Calgary Housing and president of Calgary Housing Company

Quick facts

  • The total budget for this project is $10.9 million.
  • Calgary Housing Company will operate the building in collaboration with the City of Calgary.
  • Construction is complete and nearly all of the families have moved in.


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Supporting students with Type 1 diabetes

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Minister Eggen, St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud, and Deanna and Nathalie Emberg announce Alberta’s new guidelines for supporting students with Type 1 Diabetes in schools.

The Guidelines for Supporting Students with Type 1 Diabetes in Schools are aimed at better accommodating the medical needs of students with diabetes. They complement existing policies, programs and resources provided by the Government of Alberta.  

“Children with Type 1 diabetes have unique medical needs and these guidelines are designed to help school authorities work with their health and community partners to address the medical needs of these students while they are at school. The guidelines will ensure greater consistency in how schools support students with this complex disease.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

Diabetes is a significant public health issue in Canada and around the world. There are roughly 2,300 children in Alberta with Type 1 diabetes. It is likely that one or more students require support managing this disease while at school.

“We’re pleased to see progress made in protecting students with Type 1 diabetes from potentially life-threatening situations. We’re proud to have advanced this important issue thanks to the dedication of our volunteer parent and health-care professional advocates. We look forward to our ongoing work with the Government of Alberta to ensure the guidelines are fully aligned with our recommendations.”

Scott McRae, regional director, Diabetes Canada

“I see these guidelines as a positive step forward. My sincere hope is that these guidelines will point school authorities, parents and school staff in the right direction. Accommodating the needs of students with Type 1 diabetes by placing the child’s well-being at the centre of a system of support will work for families, children and schools.”

Deanna Emberg, parent and diabetes advocate


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Fishing for better recreation on the Bow River

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Anglers and water recreation enthusiasts will benefit from the government’s Bow River Access Plan.

The province is investing $2 million in the recently released Bow River Access Plan to make it easier for people to enjoy the river downstream of Calgary. The plan creates a safe and user-friendly network of five access points along a 52-kilometre stretch of the river from Calgary’s Fish Creek Provincial Park downstream to Wyndam-Carseland Provincial Park.

“The Bow River is a world-famous fly fishing destination and a popular waterway for rafting, tubing, swimming and canoeing. I’m proud our government is supporting Calgary’s angling community by providing long-term, sustainable and enjoyable water-based recreation opportunities. This plan will increase tourism in what is already one of Alberta’s premier regional destinations.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

A number of upgrades have already been completed, including kiosks and signage, and a new washroom facility at McKinnon Flats. Additional enhancements include rebuilding the access road to McKinnon Flats, better parking at Johnson’s Island and working with the leaseholder to improve access at Legacy Island.

“This plan shows that the government recognizes the value of the Bow River and is prepared to invest in infrastructure to support its status as an angling destination. We’re very happy that the Bow River Access plan is moving forward and look forward to continuing the process toward improved river access.”

Nancy Storwick, president, Angling Outfitter & Guide Association of Alberta

The plan represents the government’s commitment to supporting recreation on the Bow River. Improvements will benefit local guiding and outfitting businesses as well as fish and tackle shops.

“People from all over the world travel to experience the world-class fishery of the Bow River. For this reason, we strongly feel that the access plan is a step forward in managing and protecting what the river has to offer. The Bow River Access Plan is a great opportunity to expand the offering to visitors and locals alike.”

Aaron Feltham, general manager, Bow River Troutfitters

“Investment in infrastructure on the Bow River has been overlooked for far too long. Calgary has a world-class fishery that deserves better access. The Bow River Access Plan is the first step in giving Albertans and tourists a more accessible way to utilize this exceptional resource, while also protecting our national treasure for future generations.”

Josh Nugent, owner, Out Fly Fishing Outfitters

“As a business that relies heavily on public access to the Bow River we are extremely happy to see the Bow River Access Plan be adopted. The Bow is one of the most unique trout fisheries on the planet and it is great to finally see some investment into its future. Let’s make sure the trout population stays healthy as well, and we will have a winning combination.”

David Blair, co-owner, Fish Tales Fly Shop

The plan balances recreation opportunities with environmental protection by including measures to ensure the health and sustainability of the Bow River fishery and ecosystems through invasive species monitoring and working with river users on the long-term stewardship of the Bow River. It also commits to exploring additional future access points along the river.

The Bow River Access Plan was developed in consultation with the public, First Nations, Métis and local recreation and conservation organizations. The plan complements the City of Calgary’s Bow River Access Strategy. To read the plan in full, visit Bow River Access Plan.


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New centre to support children’s mental health

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Minister Hoffman announces the new Children and Adolescent Mental Health Centre with MLA Shepherd, Dr. Verna Yiu, Annie Belley and Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation representatives including Mike House.

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre, to be built on AHS-owned land immediately east of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, will include:

  • child and adolescent crisis services, including walk-in and urgent clinics
  • 101 inpatient beds
  • specialized outpatient clinics
  • a mobile response team
  • intensive school-based treatment, with school programming on site
  • mental health programs
  • therapeutic recreational programs
  • a family resource centre

“When a child or teen is struggling with a mental health crisis or needs specialized emotional supports, they need help as quickly as possible. Our government has been clear about our commitment to mental health and we are proud to partner with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation on this project. I am proud to be part of a government that is fighting for children, youth and their families.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

“Being diagnosed bipolar as a teen was, weirdly, a relief, because it allowed me to get the help that I needed. The staff and doctors who cared for me during my time in hospital provided me tools without which I wouldn’t have been able to get my life back on track. This new facility is so exciting because it will not only make it easier for mental health care practitioners to provide help and for patients to access services, it will act as physical, observable proof that mental health is finally being paid the attention it deserves.”

Annie Belley, Albertan with lived experience

The province is investing $200 million for the new centre. The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation is committing $26 million and will receive the naming rights for the centre in recognition of that contribution.

“Since 2007, we’ve invested millions in pediatric mental health programs at the Stollery and more than $4 million in pediatric mental health research at the University of Alberta. More than 90 per cent of donors and non-donors we surveyed in northern Alberta tell us that mental health is a top priority for them and their families. That’s why we’re building on our long-term commitment to children’s mental health by raising $26 million over five years for specialized facilities and family-centred care programs at the new child and youth addiction and mental health centre in Edmonton that will bear the Stollery name.”

Mike House, president and CEO, Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation

“Alberta Health Services is grateful to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation for its extraordinary commitment to child and adolescent mental health in Edmonton and northern Alberta. This support will have a transformational and long-lasting impact on patients and families who will benefit from the care and services provided in this facility.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, AHS

The Alberta government continues to improve mental health services following the Valuing Mental Health review. The new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre directly addresses supports for children, youth and families, one of the priority populations identified in the review.

The design phase of the project is expected to get underway in the next few months. Construction of the centre is slated to begin in spring 2021 and be complete in 2024. The project is expected to create between 200 and 250 construction jobs.


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Calgary company guilty of improper waste disposal

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The company, also known as Moore’s Industrial Services, was penalized $30,000 for improper disposal of waste in relation to an investigation into incidents that occurred between June 11 and June 13, 2016. Five other charges under the act against the company were withdrawn.

Most of the penalty is directed towards a creative sentencing order. To this end, the Nose Creek Watershed Partnership and the Bow River Basin Council will receive $25,000 to update and refine the wetland inventory for the Nose Creek Watershed. The sentence also included a directive to publish details of the offence and how this event led the responsible party to develop a water cut-off device that could prevent similar future incidents from occurring.

Alberta Environment and Parks focuses on education, prevention and enforcement to ensure all Albertans enjoy a clean and healthy environment. The ministry enforces environmental regulations when individuals or companies fail to comply with legislation.


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Group exploring measures to ban conversion therapy

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The working group will be co-chaired by MLA Nicole Goehring and advocate Glynnis Lieb. It will include academics, representatives from health and legal professions, community advocates, faith leaders, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, subject matter experts and those with lived experience of conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy can be defined as any treatment, counselling or behaviour modification that aims to change or modify someone’s sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

“Conversion therapy is a damaging, hateful practice that has no place in our province. Albertans deserve to trust that any measures to end this practice are as strong as possible, will withstand legal challenges and have the support of those who need them most. I thank the members of the group for fighting for vulnerable Albertans, and look forward to receiving their recommendations and taking action to ban conversion therapy in Alberta.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

“I’ve heard from Albertans and community leaders that any ban on conversion therapy must be community-driven and can’t let anyone fall through the cracks. I’m honoured to help lead this life-saving work and look forward to working with my fellow members to bring forward strong recommendations to protect Albertans and end this practice.”

Nicole Goehring, MLA for Edmonton-Castle Downs, co-chair of Conversion Therapy Working Group

“No one deserves to be discriminated against or subject to harmful practices based on their innate sexual orientation. Conversion therapy is wrong and I’m pleased to see our government taking action to eliminate this practice in Alberta. It’s an honour to be a part of this life-saving work.”

Glynnis Lieb, executive director of the Institute of Sexual Minority Studies and Services at University of Alberta, co-chair of Conversion Therapy Working Group

The group will meet regularly for five months and will have opportunities to engage with stakeholders and those with lived experience as part of this work. The group members will be supported by an Alberta Health staff secretariat as they prepare their final written report.


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