Improving supports for youth in central Alberta

Barb Miller, MLA for Red Deer-South celebrates with Red Deer College and Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre as they enter a new agreement to improve supports in central Alberta.

The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) and Red Deer College are working together to create a comprehensive child advocacy centre on the college campus. CACAC will construct and operate a Centre of Excellence, expanding victim support services and increasing programs for vulnerable individuals and children, youth and families closer to home.

Red Deer College students will have access to improved training and tools to assist victims of child abuse and their families. The centre’s specialized focus on training, research, community awareness and education will help build a stronger and more resilient community.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

“Our children, youth, and families in need deserve the best possible supports no matter where they live in Alberta. CACAC does amazing work helping kids in central Alberta lead healthy and happy lives, and expanding their services will be a big win for families and the community.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services

“Government support of this important partnership is a major milestone in establishing a Centre of Excellence at RDC supporting child advocacy. Students at RDC will learn the latest and best practices in supporting children and families through practicums and internships. Our new university will benefit tremendously through partnerships like this and it aligns with our vision to provide applied learning experiences.”

Joel Ward, president & CEO, Red Deer College

“The Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre is proud to announce our official partnership with Red Deer College, made possible by the support of the Government of Alberta. As an organization, we are ecstatic to take another step forward in becoming a Centre of Excellence, specializing in leading practices, training research, community awareness, advancement in education and integrated practice. The new location of the CACAC on Red Deer College campus land will enable a tremendous shift in our community’s future as we continue to push boundaries and champion leading practices. We look forward to working and collaborating with the RDC students – tomorrow’s leaders – in creating a healthy future for our children and community.”

Mark Jones, CEO, Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre

CACAC will receive a plot of land through a lease agreement with Red Deer College to support the construction of the new facility. 


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Supporting paramedics to protect Albertans

Minister Hoffman is joined by representatives from Alberta Health Services and front line paramedics to announce increased funding to EMS.

The new paramedics are part of the Alberta government’s five point emergency medical services (EMS) action plan. Supported with a $29-million increase for EMS in Budget 2018, the province is strengthening EMS across Alberta, alleviating pressures on emergency rooms and supporting frontline workers by:

  • hiring more paramedics in communities across the province
  • deploying new ambulances in urban and rural Alberta;
  • improving the transfer of patients from paramedic teams to hospital emergency departments
  • supporting ongoing expansion of the Community Paramedic program
  • investing $1 million to support the mental health of EMS workers

“Albertans want to know that they and their loved ones will be taken care of if they face a medical emergency. That’s why our government is taking action to strengthen emergency services and support frontline EMS workers. With more ambulances on the road and more paramedics ready to respond, Albertans will have improved access to emergency medical care when it matters.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

“Patient care drives every decision we make. These investments allow us to address some key priorities and improve access to care for Albertans. This targeted spending provides additional support where we need it most both rurally and in our metro operations, and improves our ability to continue to respond to patients whenever and wherever they have an emergency.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

“After years of work to bring attention to the critical state of EMS in Alberta, we are very happy to stand with this Minister, and this government, who not only offered her well wishes but found real money for real boots on the ground. As a result of this announcement today, Albertans across the province can feel just a little more assured that the emergency care they need will be there when they need it.”

Mike Hennig, co-chair, Edmonton Metro EMS Local, Health Sciences Association of Alberta

Quick facts

  • The Alberta Health Budget 2018 provides $524 million for EMS in 2018-19, a $29-million increase from 2017.
  • In February 2018, government invested $11 million to expand the Community Paramedic Program, which allows paramedics to provide care to seniors and other vulnerable Albertans in their homes and now operates in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Camrose, Grande Prairie, Peace River, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.
  • Hospital Emergency Liaison Officers help improve the transfer of care of patients from EMS ambulance crews to the emergency department, freeing the crews to return to the community more quickly.
  • A new psychologist will support the mental health of EMS workers and help paramedics work through the emotional stress involved in delivering front-line emergency medical care.

By the numbers

  • New ambulances
    • Edmonton – 5
    • Calgary – 10
    • Grande Prairie – 1
    • Medicine Hat – 1
    • Expanded hours for 5 ambulances to 24/7 coverage in Vilna, St. Paul, Westlock and Sylvan Lake
  • New EMS staff
    • Edmonton – 28
    • Calgary – 30
    • Grande Prairie – 8
    • Medicine Hat – 8
    • Sylvan Lake – 4
    • Vilna – 4
    • St. Paul – 4
    • Westlock – 4
  • New Hospital Emergency Liaison Officers
    • Edmonton – 8
    • Calgary – 8


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Alberta’s message: We have to keep Canada working

Bilingual print ad in the Montreal Star Metro.

The Government of Alberta has taken the unprecedented step of buying advertising in three newspapers, buying significant space on three websites and using the sides of buildings to remind people and premiers that denying access to tidewater costs Canada’s economy $80 million a day. The ads will start on Thursday and run over the weekend in French and English.

“Alberta’s challenges are national challenges and Albertans expect their government to make that case every chance it can. We’re not going to stop until the pipeline is built to keep Canada working.”

Premier Rachel Notley

The Government of Alberta has been letting Canadians know the benefits of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in national advertising for several months. In Ottawa, Alberta has put up a counter that tracks the damage done to the Canadian economy since work on the pipeline was halted in August. It will hit $8 billion on Saturday.

In Montreal, Alberta is spending just over $84,000 to get the message out to keep Canada working through:

  • print ads in Le Devoir, The Montreal Gazette and Star Metro Montreal
  • extensive home page presences on those newspapers’ websites
  • projections onto the sides of almost 20 buildings in central Montreal


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Treatment options opening on Blood Tribe

Blood Tribe paramedics will now be able to give patients who have overdosed the option of going to the safe withdrawal management site to receive health assessment, interventions, and access to local resources and programs. Patients will then have the option of attending the Kainai Transition Society to support recovery and transition back into the community.

The Alberta government is providing $2.2 million over two years for start-up and operational costs for the new program.

“The Blood Tribe has developed a community-based solution to help ease the current overdose crisis. Our government is proud to provide funding for this new program. We will continue to work with the Blood Tribe to ensure they have the support they need to provide treatment and care for people affected by substance use.”

Sarah Hoffman, Health Minister

“Premier Notley, Minister Hoffman and the Alberta Cabinet have been sincerely appreciative and helpful in combating the opioid crisis that has plagued our people over the last few years. We thank them for their continued involvement and providing additional resources towards the medical treatment centre that our Health Board, Department and Council have initiated. Many other departments, tribal members and others have worked collaboratively towards ending this drug problem and we thank them for their courage and commitment. May our Creator help those of our people who are addicted to overcome their problems and seek the help that is being offered by trained people and especially our spiritual leaders.”

Roy Fox, Chief, Blood Tribe

The safe withdrawal management site was proposed by the Blood Tribe community and includes:

  • 24-hour clinical care;
  • a six-bed safe withdrawal management program with medical support from paramedics and local physicians;
  • treatment options to support recovery; and  
  • an option to move to the Kainai Transition Centre Society within 10 to 14 days to support recovery and transition back to the community.

Renovations to get the new site ready are underway, with a goal of opening in early 2019.

A protocol agreement between the Alberta government and Blackfoot Confederacy (including Piikani Nation, Siksika Nation and the Blood Tribe) establishes a formal process for government and the confederacy to collaborate on mutual areas of concern, including health and opioids. The collective response to the Blood Tribe’s opioid crisis is an example of the benefit of this partnership and shared sense of responsibility.


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Remembering victims of gender-based violence

Minister Larivee hosts a vigil to mark the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

“Twenty-nine years ago today, 14 women were murdered at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. It was a heartbreaking loss for their families and loved ones, and it was an incredible loss for all of Canada.

“They died because they were women. They died because they dared to break down barriers and enter fields dominated by men. We lost their leadership, their example and the contributions they never had a chance to make. 

“Sadly, the hatred that fuelled that attack continues today. Violence against women and girls is still too common in Alberta and in an age of social media, we don’t have to look far to find examples of gender-based hate levelled at people we know.

“It is up to each of us to stand up to that hatred. We can do it by challenging demeaning comments, providing support for victims of abuse and doing what we can to shift our conversations towards respect, equality and consent. And we can do it by treating our friends, families, neighbours and strangers with the love and respect that they deserve.  

“Today is not only a day to remember. It is an opportunity to envision a future in which every Albertan lives free from fear of violence. A future that allows all Albertans – regardless of gender – to pursue their dreams and push boundaries without fear.

“I call on Albertans to stand together to end all forms of violence against women and girls to help prevent a tragedy like l’École Polytechnique de Montréal from ever happening again.”

Where to go for help

  • Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
  • Call the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 for 24-hour advice and support if you suspect that someone is experiencing family violence.
  • There are 12 sexual assault centres across Alberta that provide counselling and crisis support, as well as 24-hour support and information lines:
    • 780-423-4102 (Edmonton)
    • 403-237-5888 (Calgary)


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Volunteers honoured with Stars of Alberta awards

Six outstanding volunteers were recognized for their work at the 2018 Stars of Alberta awards in Edmonton.

“Each day, Alberta volunteers step forward to lend their time and talents to the projects and causes that matter to them and to Albertans. This year’s award recipients embody the very best of our province and the amazing family of volunteers that are the heart of our communities. They are truly the volunteer Stars of Alberta.”

Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

This year’s recipients of the Stars of Alberta awards are

  • Joyce Sydnes, Brownvale
  • Allan Macaullay, Devon
  • Emma Moore, Strathmore
  • Sophia Qaderi, St. Albert
  • Irehobhude O. Iyioha, Edmonton
  • Glori Meldrum, Edmonton

Two awards are presented in the youth, adult and senior categories. The annual awards program started in 2000. Since then, 115 Alberta volunteers have received the honour.

The awards are part of government’s efforts to recognize and encourage Albertans to support community initiatives. Volunteer recognition programs help set a standard for service, encourage a sustained commitment to civic participation and inspire others to make volunteering a central part of their lives.

The Stars of Alberta Volunteer Awards coincide with International Volunteer Day on Dec. 5, a global initiative established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985.


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Updated rules protect Albertans from disaster

Emergency management partners set up a temporary dam during a training exercise in spring 2018.

The Emergency Management Amendment Act is now in effect, providing communities with an easy reference as they develop and refine their emergency management plans and programs.

“We have all seen the number and severity of disasters increase over the years – and every time a major event happens, we learn from it. By updating our legislation, we are applying what we have learned and are working with municipalities to help them better prepare for disasters and keep Albertans safe.”

Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Changes to the act also allow for the addition of the Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation.

The regulation will come into force Jan. 1, 2020 to give municipalities sufficient time to implement. The regulation will ensure:

  • Municipalities have up-to-date emergency plans and programs that are regularly reviewed and exercised.
  • Elected officials and municipal employees are trained for their roles and understand their responsibilities.
  • Responsibilities and functions of municipal emergency advisory committees and emergency management agencies are clear.
  • Regional collaboration agreements with other municipalities are clear.

“The update to the Emergency Management Act and addition of the Local Authority Emergency Management Regulation not only demonstrate the importance of emergency management in Alberta, but also support all municipalities by providing a clear and objective set of requirements to assist in ensuring we continually strive to improve our internal processes.”

Merrick Brown, director, Health, Safety, Environment & Emergency Management, City of Medicine Hat

Over the summer, the government engaged with 92 municipalities and five organizations to gather input that helped inform the new regulation. First responders, local elected officials, municipal directors of emergency management, Metis Settlements and First Nations all participated in the discussions. The resulting feedback has been issued in a report that is now available online.

Minister Anderson announced the amendments and the addition of the regulation at the Alberta Emergency Management Agency Summit on Dec. 5. The summit brings together emergency management partners from across Alberta to help strengthen and build relationships and offer opportunities for professional development.

The Emergency Management Amendment Act was introduced in April 2018. It was passed on Nov. 1 and came into force on Nov. 19.


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New legal supports for sexual violence survivors

The Government of Alberta provided a $700,000 grant to the Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton for the pilot initiative.

“For anyone who’s endured the trauma of a sexual assault, trying to figure out where to turn to for help can be scary and overwhelming. Helping survivors of sexual violence understand their legal options is an important step in empowering them to move forward on their healing journey. I’m grateful to the Elizabeth Fry Society and participating lawyers for their partnership in providing new legal resources to people who need those services the most.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Status of Women

For years, we have been hearing from survivors of sexual violence who have been sitting with their pain and suffering, not knowing what options are available to them or what they can do to move forward. This program is about providing legal advice from a rights-based approach, and we hope to help as many folks as possible who have experienced sexual violence. We continue to be amazed by their courage and bravery.

Toni Sinclair, executive director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Edmonton

As part of their involvement in this project, participating lawyers have received specialized training in trauma-informed practice, gender-based and intersectional approaches, and Indigenous historical trauma. The project offers support, resources and referrals to help sexual violence survivors better understand their options as they seek healing and justice.

The three-year pilot program is being rolled out in municipalities served by the Elizabeth Fry Society, including Edmonton, Red Deer, Stony Plain, Morinville, St. Albert, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Ponoka, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, and a number of Indigenous communities.

The project is open to adult survivors of all genders who have experienced sexual violence in Alberta, regardless of how much time has passed since the incident.

Survivors of sexual violence wishing to learn more about the program can email legal_advice@efryedmonton.ab.ca or call 780-784-2213.


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Albertans inducted into 4-H Hall of Fame

Minister Carlier (right centre) with 2018 4-H Hall of Fame inductees Mark and Pat Sayers (left) and Nora Paulovich (right).

Mark and Pat Sayers, and Nora Paulovich are the 2018 inductees into Alberta’s 4-H Hall of Fame.

“The 4-H program would not be possible without the selfless dedication of a group of very passionate volunteers, and this year’s inductees stand as a testament to that. These leaders exemplify how generations of Albertans continue to value and enhance the 4-H program in our province. It is an honour to welcome them into Alberta’s 4?H Hall of Fame.”

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 in their communities. Candidates are nominated by their 4-H peers and are evaluated based on their demonstrated leadership qualities, community references and contributions to 4-H, agriculture and their local communities.

4-H Alberta is recognized as the premier youth leadership organization in Alberta. Working together in a vibrant, thriving environment, 4-H Alberta leaders connect people, ideas and communities for a lifetime of benefit. 4-H Alberta is the largest youth organization in the province, with more than 250,000 alumni.

Biographies

Mark and Pat Sayers, from Lethbridge County, have been dedicated 4-H leaders and volunteers on countless clubs, councils and committees for 25 years. No matter the task or responsibility, Pat and Mark have had a significant impact on the many people whose paths they crossed during their time with 4-H.

Nora Paulovich, from Manning, has been a tireless 4-H leader and volunteer for more than 20 years. Nora combines her passion for the positive development of members with the 4-H motto of Learn to Do by Doing. She is an excellent organizer, 4-H mentor, and able to assist other clubs and leaders when dealing with challenging situations. She has made positive impacts to the 4-H program both in the Peace region and across the province.


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Recognizing Albertans with disabilities

Events are being held across the province to create awareness and understanding of disability issues and to recognize the accomplishments and contributions people with disabilities make to Alberta.

“Albertans with disabilities are essential to our communities. Their accomplishments and contributions help build a stronger, more inclusive province for all. Our government is proud to be making life better for people with disabilities by ensuring they have stable, predictable supports, and live with dignity. This is the Alberta we want and are working toward.”

Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

As part of the celebrations, individuals, groups and organizations across Alberta are being presented with the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities Awards. The awards recognize leadership and achievement in creating and promoting inclusive communities.

The 2018 award recipients are

  • Access for All Barrier-Free Playscape, Red Deer
  • Anne Pype, Barrhead
  • April Ruzycki, Medicine Hat
  • Associated Canadian Travellers, Grande Prairie
  • Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta
  • City of Edmonton Programs for Persons with Disabilities, Edmonton
  • Colin Cantlie, Calgary
  • Daralynn Swensrude, Edmonton
  • Romeo Crow Chief, Siksika
  • Sean McEwen, Calgary
  • Valley Bus Society, Drumheller

“We are honoured to present the Premier’s Council Awards to these deserving Albertans. Their leadership in building barrier-free and inclusive communities is creating a future where all persons, regardless of ability, can reach their full potential and lead meaningful lives.”

Sheila Serup, chair, Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities

The Government of Alberta is making life better for people with disabilities by

  • Appointing Alberta’s first Advocate for Persons with Disabilities.
  • Increasing the Persons with Developmental Disabilities budget by $150 million.
  • Creating jobs for persons with disabilities through the Internship for Persons with Disabilities.
  • Improving the application process for the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program and increasing the AISH budget by $182 million.
  • Improving access to service dogs and approving five new qualified service dog organizations, bringing the provincial total to eight, that can train and test service dogs, including dogs that support people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Launching a review of the Persons with Developmental Disabilities program.
  • Proclaiming Disability Employment Awareness Month.
  • Repealing the PDD Safety Standards and stopping the Supports Intensity Scale (SIS).
  • Recently passed legislation that will:
    • Increase benefit rates for Albertans who receive AISH and Income Supports, including living allowance and supplemental benefits.
    • Increase asset limits for the AISH child allowance and AISH personal benefits.
    • These benefits would increase annually to keep pace with inflation.


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