Here is an update from our hard working MLA Jason Copping. If you live in Calgary – Varsity and want to speak with Jason, his office e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org – if you need to reach me it is email@example.com
Help Flatten the Curve
Our Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced that we are seeing a resurgence in cases, especially in the Calgary zone. We know now that when we work together, practice safety measures, and be mindful of others, we can flatten the curve. Albertans have been doing an excellent job, and if we can recommit ourselves to preventing the spread the cases will decrease once more. Maintain physical distancing, follow public health orders and get tested if you think you might be ill.
Expanding COVID-19 testing at pharmacies
Any pharmacy in the province that wants to participate and is able to meet the safety requirements can now offer testing to Albertans who are asymptomatic and have no known exposure to COVID-19. The expanded pharmacy testing follows the success of Alberta’s pilot program launched in June. An initial group of pilot pharmacies safely tested more than 10,300 Albertans, increasing testing capacity and helping support a safe relaunch.
Did you know you can access your health records online? By signing up for MyHealth Records Albertans can access test results faster. This portal gives you a secure place to see your health information, including immunization records, prescribed medications, and lab test results, including COVID-19 test results. This is the fastest way to get your results as you can see them online as soon as they are available. I encourage Albertans to sign up for a free MyHealth Records account at http://alberta.ca/myhealthrecords.
Masks Mandatory in Calgary
On the advice of Dr. Hinshaw, our government is encouraging all Albertans to follow public health orders and wear a face covering when they are unable to maintain physical distancing from others. On July 21, the City of Calgary voted to make face coverings mandatory in public spaces. Businesses are not expected to deny services as not everyone is required to wear a face covering. The government recently distributed 40 million non-medical masks to Albertans. Many local businesses are selling reusable face masks; if you still need to pick one up, you can find a list of Calgary-owned businesses here.
Return to School
The Government has recently announced that students and staff will return to school under Scenario 1. This is a normal return school with additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The province has dedicated $15million for schools to purchase additional PPE and will now provide masks, face shields, hand sanitizer and two contactless thermometers to each schools. Each school in each district will receive two reusable masks for Grade 4-12 students, as they are now required to wear masks in schools. More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.
Support for Municipalities
The pandemic has presented new challenges to the way we live our daily lives and the way we do business. That is why our government has allocated $1.1 billion to build core infrastructure that will get Albertans working, support municipal and public transit operating costs and create thousands of good-paying jobs now. Alberta’s government is providing municipalities with $500 million in additional funding to build shovel-ready infrastructure projects starting in 2020, creating thousands of jobs as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. In addition, Alberta will match $233 million in federal funding to support municipal operating costs during the pandemic and $70 million to support public transit operating costs – for a total of $606 million under the Safe Restart Agreement.
Alberta Northern Lights Recipients- COVID-9Teen
During these times, the volunteers in our communities deserve our gratitude now more than ever. And the Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Program gives them the recognition they deserve.
On behalf of the Alberta Government, I’d like to congratulate the founders of COVID-9Teen, who also happen to be Calgary-Varsity constituents. Started by high school student Jing Hu and her mother, May Han, the COVID-9Teen volunteer group helps teens connect with their peers, learn new skills, contribute to the wider community, and encourage positive mental and physical well-being during the pandemic.
With a core group of nine, the COVID-9Teen volunteer group offers free weekday online virtual programs for youth with adolescent instructors; on Saturdays, they host a talent show featuring teenagers and children from across Canada. So far, more than 300 youth have participated in their online programs.
Spring Sitting Concluded
The Second Session of the 30th Legislature finished on July 29. During the spring sitting, Alberta’s government passed 34 bills, keeping platform promises while taking action to protect the health and well-being of Albertans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To confront the unprecedented economic challenges and stimulate economic growth in the province, our government also took action by introducing the largest-ever infrastructure program in Alberta’s history as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
I am happy to be back in Calgary for the rest of the summer and hope to be able to meet with many of you via virtual calls and in and around our community.
Some key legislation that passed in the 30th legislature include:
Bill 8, the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, protects vulnerable Albertans at risk of being trafficked, strengthens survivors’ ability to escape physically, emotionally and financially damaging abuse, and is a key part of government’s comprehensive action plan to fight the scourge of human trafficking.
Bill 16, the Victims of Crime (Strengthening Public Safety) Amendment Act, preserves support for victims of crime while expanding the capacity of Alberta’s legal system to deter crime and prevent victimization.
Bill 22, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, will reduce and speed-up the regulatory process throughout government, encouraging investment, increasing Alberta’s competitiveness, and helping our economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.
Bill 28, the Vital Statistics (Protecting Albertans from Convicted Sex Offenders) Amendment Act, prevents convicted sex offenders from changing their names, limiting their ability to reoffend.
Bill 30, the Health Statues Amendment Act, supports our commitment to strengthen public health care so Albertans can continue to have access to high-quality, person-centered health services in a more sustainable and efficient manner.
Bill 31, the Environmental Protection Statutes Amendment Act, provides clarity and consistency for job creators in the sand and gravel industry while still maintaining stringent environmental protection regulations.
Bill 32, the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, supports our economic recovery by providing employees and employers with clearer and more transparent rules promoting fairness and productivity.
Bill 33, the Alberta Investment Attraction Act, also supports our economic recovery by enabling the creation of an arms-length corporation to attract job-creating private sector investment and promote Alberta as a prime investment location for businesses from across Canada and around the world.
Condemning Racism in the Legislature
On June 18, Premier Kenney introduced a Government Motion condemning racism. In his speech following the motion, he was sure to note that while Alberta and Canada have created a welcoming environment for newcomers, we are not perfect. Canada is still plagued by racism systemically and institutionally. Premier Kenney appreciated Minister Kaycee Madu’s call on Cabinet to reassess the lack of diversity within the public service, and referenced the work this government is doing to reform the Police Act.
The Premier closed with the story of John Ware, a black man who escaped slavery in South Carolina to eventually purchase his own ranch near Brooks, Alberta. John faced racism when he moved to our province, but he never let it slow him down, becoming one of the most successful cowboys of all time. When he died in a tragic accident, thousands of people from all across the Northwest Territories attended his funeral to remember such an influential man. You can read the motion and the Premier’s full speech in the Hansard, from pages 1497-99.