Persons Day: Statement from Premier Notley

“It’s been less than a century since the Persons Case. Just one lifetime ago, Canadian women were denied many of the basic rights and privileges we take for granted today.

“That changed because five women from Alberta dared to challenge injustice. We all live in the society they helped create.

“However, what they achieved was far from perfect. Those new freedoms were still denied to certain groups, including Indigenous women.

“Determined people eventually changed that, too. Now, it’s up to all of us to keep progress moving forward.

“The Government of Alberta is doing its part. We created the province’s first stand-alone Ministry of Status of Women to support gender equality. We’ve raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour, helping women who make up the majority of low-income earners.

“We’re expanding affordable child care, which is the single most effective way to close the gender wage gap. We increased resources for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, so women can live free from fear.

“And in just three years, we’ve transformed Alberta’s public boardrooms. For the first time, more than half of public agency board positions are held by women.

“Injustice hasn’t been conquered. Women in many groups still face steep disadvantages, so the struggle continues. Equality demands nothing less. On Persons Day, I hope that all Albertans can take a moment to remember how far we’ve come and to reflect on the work that still needs to be done.”


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Ti’nu affordable housing officially open

L to R- Sharon Oakley, Town of Banff, Elena Salikhov, CMHC, Banff mayor Karen Sorensen, MLA Cam Westhead and Greg Danchuk of Parks Canada cut the ribbon on the new Ti’nu affordable housing project in Banff.

One hundred and thirty-one new units, including eight barrier-free units, will provide modern, affordable and much-needed housing in a community with a zero per cent vacancy rate.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), along with Cam Westhead, MLA for Banff-Camrose, on behalf Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing, and Greg Danchuk, Visitor Experience Manager of Banff National Park for Parks Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, joined the Town of Banff at the celebration today.

“Everyone should have access to a safe and affordable home. I know there is a critical need for affordable housing in Banff and am proud of our government’s investment in this innovative project. I know it will benefit the community for years to come.” 

Honourable Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing

“Our government invests in affordable housing projects like Ti’nu to help create jobs and improve the quality of life for families who need it most. This beautiful new, affordable apartment complex will help many hard-working families and individuals in Banff access safe and affordable housing that meets their needs. This is truly a fantastic community achievement for everyone involved.”

Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“This is a life-changing project for many and was made possible because the town, the province and the federal government partnered to deliver much-needed affordable housing. It is incredibly rewarding to know the many people, from various stages in life, who now live in Ti’nu, can comfortably stay in Banff and contribute to our community while settled in the place they call home.”

Karen Sorensen, mayor, Town of Banff

Quick facts

  • The Government of Alberta, with support from CMHC, provided an $11.9-million investment for this project, under the Investment in Affordable Housing 2014-2019 Agreement.
  • The Town of Banff also contributed $11.9 million toward this project.
  • Parks Canada provided the land to the Town of Banff at a considerable discount.
  • Banff has had a zero per cent vacancy rate for more than three years.
  • The 2013 Banff Housing Needs Study reported that 61 per cent of households were paying 30 per cent or more of their gross income on housing, while 28 per cent were paying 40 per cent or more.
  • The Banff Housing Corporation, a non-profit organization wholly owned subsidiary of the Town of Banff, will manage the Ti’nu affordable apartment complex.
  • The Government of Canada is currently rolling out its National Housing Strategy (NHS) – a 10-year, $40-billion plan that will create 100,000 new housing units and lift 530,000 families out of housing need, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.
  • The NHS is built on strong partnerships between federal, provincial and territorial governments, and on continuous engagement with others, including municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private sectors to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians.

Associated links

The Alberta Ministry of Seniors and Housing fosters the development of affordable housing and supports access to housing options for Albertans most in need. The Alberta government is investing $1.2 billion for affordable housing capital needs. To achieve these outcomes, the ministry works with seniors, Albertans who require housing supports, their families and caregivers, communities and other government partners. A more detailed description of the ministry and its programs and initiatives is found at www.seniors-housing.gov.ab.ca.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, please visit cmhc.ca or follow them on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.

Editor’s Note: This news release was also issued by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Oct. 17, 2018.

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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

“Our government believes that no one should live in poverty, and that all Albertans deserve the opportunity to take part in our province’s economy, communities and cultural life.

“Together with our community partners, we are taking concrete action to combat poverty and support our values of fairness, inclusion and opportunity for all people.

“Initiatives such as the Alberta Child Benefit, an expanded school nutrition program, $15 minimum wage and an investment of $1.2 billion in affordable housing is helping more Albertans live in dignity.

“By supporting wellness and social inclusion, investing in affordable housing and homeless supports, and enhancing skills training, education and employment opportunities, we are making life more affordable for Albertans.

“As we mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, my thanks go out to the many organizations and individuals who work hard to eradicate poverty in communities across Alberta. I’m inspired by your dedication, commitment and hard work. Our government stands with you and will continue to take action to make life better for all Albertans.”


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Registry services coming to Red Earth Creek

The Red Earth Creek pilot is part of the Alberta government’s overall initiative to improve and modernize the delivery of registry services in Alberta, and will help determine the feasibility of offering mobile in-person registry services to other communities in the future.

“All Albertans, no matter where they live, deserve to have convenient access to registry services. In particular, rural Albertans often have to travel long distances to access these services, which are more accessible in urban areas. This pilot lets us test out an innovative way to improve rural Albertans’ access to the important services registries provide.”

Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta

“Living in the North, I know the long trips my constituents sometimes have to take to access registry services in person, and that’s why I’m so proud our government is offering solutions.”

Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services and Status of Women, and MLA for Lesser Slave Lake

A mobile registry office in the MD of Opportunity No. 17 Red Earth Creek Sub-Office will offer select registry services to residents Oct. 16-18.

The registry services available to Red Earth Creek residents during the week include:

  • Motor vehicle services, including driver’s licence knowledge testing, driver’s licence and ID card applications and renewals, driver abstracts, vehicle registration renewals, and personalized licence plate orders.
  • Requests for birth, death and marriage certificates.
  • Corporate registry searches.
  • Personal property searches.

Service Alberta will use the pilot to help determine if mobile registry services better meet the needs of Albertans in rural and remote locations and determine if there is a business case for private industry to provide mobile registry services.

Background

  • The Association of Alberta Registry Agents and the Alberta Motor Association are the two major stakeholder organizations that make up the Registry Agent Network.
  • The current network of 224 privately owned registry agents delivers over 200 government products and services at in-person locations throughout the province, where 30,000 Albertans receive services daily.


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Grant program supports health and safety on farms

The grant will help offset some of the costs employers may incur in complying with the new regulations. Up to $6 million is available through the program during the next three years.

On Dec. 1, the Occupational Health and Safety Code (OHS Code) will apply to farms and ranches that employ waged, non-family workers. This means Alberta farm and ranch workers will have similar health and safety protections as workers in other industries and other parts of Canada.

“Together with industry, we can continue to promote and deliver programs that support sustainable growth in the sector and foster a culture of safety on the farm. The Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant Program is just one way our government continues to support producers and ensure safe and healthy workplaces across the province.”

Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

“Albertans value the contributions of Alberta’s farm and ranch communities and care about the health and safety of their workers. This program will help farm and ranch employers continue their work to create healthy and safe workplaces and comply with the OHS Code.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

“Through grants like this, government is helping to support a culture of safety on the farm. AgSafe is positioned to be a champion for agriculture in Alberta and a vital partner in advancing the implementation of farm safety.”

Kent Erickson, chair, AgSafe Alberta

Farm Health and Safety Producer Grant Program

  • Applications open Oct. 15, 2018 and the program runs until March 2021.
  • Farms and ranches with waged, non-family workers and a WCB account may apply for the grant.
  • The grant covers up to 50 per cent of eligible safety expenses to a maximum of $5,000 per year or $10,000 over the life of the program per eligible applicant. Expenses going back to Jan. 1, 2018 are eligible under the program.
  • Eligible expenses (with receipts) include things like:
    • First aid kits, fire extinguishers and warning signage.
    • Respirators, eye and hearing protection.
    • Health and safety programs, courses, education and training.
    • Seatbelt installation, warning lights and auger guards to improve equipment safety.


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Alberta prepared for cannabis legalization

Albertans can be confident the province is ready for legal cannabis following more than 18 months of preparation. After one of the largest public consultations in Alberta’s history, the government has built a legal cannabis system that keeps the drug out of the hands of children and keeps profits away from criminals. The system will also protect Albertans on our roads and in workplaces and public spaces.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission (AGLC) is the agency responsible for overseeing this new industry. Together with the Government of Alberta, AGLC is committed to a responsible, secure rollout of legal cannabis in the province.

“This is a big shift for our province and country, but it’s one that Alberta has prepared for over the last 18 months, and we are ready. We are managing and mitigating risks around cannabis legalization in our province, and all Albertans should have confidence that public health and safety remain a top priority.”

Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

The AGLC has signed agreements with 15 licensed producers to supply cannabis products to the AGLC which will then provide it to retailers. On Oct. 17, an AGLC call centre will go live where Albertans can get more information on legal cannabis. The albertacannabis.org website will also be live and allow Albertans to purchase cannabis products online.

“We take our role as the regulator of liquor and gaming seriously. The safety of all Albertans is at the forefront of our work as we provide oversight to these industries, and that remains our focus as we add legal cannabis to our portfolio. We work every day to provide Albertans with choices they can trust.”

Alain Maisonneuve, president & CEO, AGLC

The province’s latest step in preparing for cannabis legalization is to provide new funding to Alberta municipalities. This money will be used to address legalization-related enforcement and other implementation costs at the local level.

“Our cities and towns are the front lines when dealing with many aspects of cannabis legalization. This funding will help offset some of the costs they’re facing. I look forward to continue working with local leaders to understand the real-world effects of legalization.”

Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs

While the province expects a net loss from legal cannabis this year and next, the government recognizes municipalities have costs related to the federal decision to legalize cannabis. In total, the province will provide $11.2 million over two years through the Municipal Cannabis Transition Program. Grants will be available for municipalities that have a population of more than 5,000 residents and are responsible for their own policing. The grants will help offset enforcement and other implementation costs at the local level.

The province will continue to work with municipalities to determine next steps and better understand the impacts during the first two years of legalization.


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Province releases Olympic funding information

In a letter to Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and federal Minister of Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan, Finance Minister Joe Ceci outlined details of the province’s pledge to provide $700 million in support to host the 2026 Games.

The Alberta government has posted a copy of the letter to Mayor Nenshi and Minister Duncan, along with other documents related to Calgary’s bid exploration process, on alberta.ca/calgary2026.

The Government of Alberta’s support is contingent on Calgarians voting in favour of hosting the Olympics on Nov 13. The province is providing details of its commitment and conditions now to ensure Calgarians have the information they need to make a fully informed decision.


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Bar-V-Nook Manor officially opens

MLA Piquette, Randy Orichowski, and Bar-V-Nook residents participate in a ribbon cutting.

The new facility features 60 units, offers increased flexibility for seniors in the level of care they can access and allows them to remain close to their families and communities.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister Responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), along with Colin Piquette, MLA for Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater, on behalf of Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing, made the announcement today.

“I know seniors want to live close to their family, friends and the services they count on. The new Bar-V-Nook Manor will help seniors in Smoky Lake do just that. I am proud of our government’s investment in safe, affordable housing like this facility. To all the new residents: welcome home.”

Honourable Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Seniors and Housing

“Our Government remains committed to helping seniors in Smoky Lake and throughout the country. We are taking actions to support seniors to ensure they can retire with dignity, including restoring the retirement age from 67 to 65, and increasing GIS and OAS. That is why I’m happy to see that construction is now complete at Bar-V-Nook Manor. The new manor will improve the well-being and sense of security for seniors here. Our investment in this community helped create new jobs and boosted the local economy—this is a big win for everyone involved.”

Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources

“The Smoky Lake Foundation is so fortunate to have new, modern, large suites and amenities to accommodate our community’s seniors for the coming decades. We thank the governments of Canada and Alberta for their significant investment in this community.”

Doug Mills, Chief Administrative Officer, Smoky Lake Foundation

Quick facts

  • The governments of Canada and Alberta provided a combined investment of $23 million for this redevelopment project, under the Investment in Affordable Housing 2014-2019 Agreement.
  • The new Bar-V-Nook Manor replaces the existing facility, with capacity increasing from 48 to 60 units.
  • The Government of Canada is currently rolling out its National Housing Strategy (NHS) – an ambitious 10-year, $40-billion plan that will create 100,000 new housing units and lift 530,000 families out of housing need, as well as repair and renew more than 300,000 housing units and reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent.
  • The NHS is built on strong partnerships between federal, provincial and territorial governments, and on continuous engagement with others, including municipalities, Indigenous governments and organizations, and the social and private sectors to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Canadians.

Associated links

The Alberta Ministry of Seniors and Housing fosters the development of affordable housing and supports access to housing options for Albertans most in need. The Alberta government is investing $1.2 billion for affordable housing capital needs. To achieve these outcomes, the ministry works with seniors, Albertans who require housing supports, their families and caregivers, communities and other government partners. A more detailed description of the ministry and its programs and initiatives can be found at www.seniors-housing.gov.ab.ca.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need, and offers unbiased housing research and advice to all levels of Canadian government, consumers and the housing industry. For more information, please visit cmhc.ca or follow them on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook.

To find out more about the National Housing Strategy, visit www.placetocallhome.ca.

Editor’s Note: This news release was also issued by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on October 12, 2018.

Government of Canada logo


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2018-19 Minister’s Youth Council meets for the first time

Members of the 2018-19 Minister Youth Council.

Students on the 2018-19 Minister’s Youth Council will meet in Edmonton October 12-15.

This is the first of three meetings for the council. Students will meet the minister for the first time and begin to provide valuable input on education initiatives. Throughout the weekend, the students will participate in activities and engagement sessions with Minister Eggen and Alberta Education staff.

Topics will include ongoing curriculum development, anti-racism and the international exchange program. Council members will also work with Alberta Education staff to develop goals and a vision for this Minister’s Youth Council term.

“I can’t wait to kick off this year’s Minister’s Youth Council and meet with students from across the province who are eager to share their ideas. These gatherings are a great opportunity for students to not only have their voices heard, but to help us continue to strengthen our education system in Alberta.”

David Eggen, Minister of Education

Quick facts

  • Recruitment for the Minister’s Youth Council took place between February and June 2018. All junior and senior high students from across Alberta were eligible to apply.
  • Over 300 junior and senior high students from across Alberta applied to be part of the council.
  • A total of 32 students were selected for the council.
  • Minister’s Youth Council members are in Grades 8-12.
  • Council members will attend three meetings in Edmonton:
    • Oct. 12-15, 2018
    • Feb. 1-4, 2019
    • May 3-6, 2019


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Alberta makes progress on payday loan protection

An Act to End Predatory Lending mandates reporting on the payday loan industry every year, starting in 2018. The act was fully implemented in November 2016, and the 2017 report reflects the first full year of operations under the new rules.

The annual report provides details of the payday loan industry in Alberta for the previous year, including the total value, number, and average size and term length of payday loans issued.

“We know that life is better when it’s more affordable. That’s why we took swift action to protect borrowers, and this report shows that action is working. Today, borrowers pay lower fees, have more time to pay off their loans and are paying them off in smaller installments. This means hard-working Albertans who use payday loans can keep more of their hard-earned money in their pockets.”

Brian Malkinson, Minister of Service Alberta

For the first year of reporting, payday lenders confirmed issuing nearly $285 million in payday loans to just over 96,000 individual borrowers. In 2014 and 2015, prior to An Act to End Predatory Lending being implemented, payday lenders reported issuing more than $500 million in payday loans.

It is estimated that by reducing the maximum allowed cost of borrowing from $23 per $100 to $15 per $100, payday lending protections saved Alberta payday loan borrowers over $10 million in loan fees in 2017.

The report also highlights the progress that has been made toward the development of new options for consumers, with three organizations now offering alternatives to payday loans.

Quick facts

  • Payday lenders operating in Alberta have been licensed since 2009.
  • Alberta now has the lowest interest rate for payday loans in Canada ($15 per $100). All fees must be included in this rate.
  • A payday loan is a loan of $1,500 or less that has a term of 62 days or less.
  • Eighteen payday lenders currently operate about 140 branches in Alberta.
  • Innovation around alternative forms of credit will be discussed further at an event hosted by Service Alberta later this month for lenders, financial institutions and community organizations.

Background

  • With the passing of An Act to End Predatory Lending, Alberta led the nation in lowering payday loan rates.
  • Alberta also established some of the strongest payday loan protections in the country. These include:
    • Requiring all mandatory and optional fees be included in the maximum allowable cost of borrowing.
    • Requiring that payday loans can be repaid in installment payments.
    • Prohibiting a range of activities by payday lenders such as:
      • Actively soliciting individuals through direct contact by email, phone, etc.
      • Charging a fee to provide cash to a payday borrower, such as cheque-cashing.
      • Soliciting, negotiating or concluding an agreement for another form of credit with a borrower while a payday loan is outstanding.
      • Using, disclosing or selling borrower information except in relation to the provision, administration or collection of a payday loan.


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