Partnering with Nordiq Alberta to groom ski trails in Kananaskis
I am pleased to see Alberta Environment and Parks partnership with Nordiq Alberta in Kananaskis to maintain grooming for the cross country ski trails. Nordiq Alberta will groom the winter trails in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, Evan-Thomas Provincial Recreation Area, Spray Valley Provincial Park, and Sheep River Provincial Park.
To support grooming operations, Nordiq Alberta will be selling parking passes at trailheads as part of a pilot program. Alberta’s government is also supporting facility and trail upgrades in some of our most popular outdoor spaces, including $15 million for the Kananaskis region.
ALBERTA’S RECOVERY PLAN
Creating jobs for Albertans
As the Minister of Labour and Immigration I was pleased to join my colleague, the Honourable Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation, to launch two new immigration streams which will spur job-creation entrepreneurship, create jobs for Albertans and boost economic growth.
Recent international graduates from Alberta’s universities and colleges can apply to the new International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream to launch business ventures and startups in Alberta. In January, Alberta will also launch the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream to attract talented international graduates from top U.S universities and colleges to start businesses, settle in Alberta communities and create jobs.
Further information on eligibility requirements and the application process for the new immigration stream can be found at http://alberta.ca/opportunity.
Growing Alberta’s venture capital industry
Our government is investing $5 million into the Alberta Enterprise Corporation’s (AEC) Accelerate Fund III, an additional investment that will bring the total funding available to tech startups to $15 million. The AEC provides money to Alberta’s early-stage tech startups and entrepreneurs, matching dollars already raised through angel investing, to assist with the operational and administrative costs of launching a new business.
The Accelerate Fund III follows the first two successful Accelerate Funds and was initially announced in May 2020 with a $10 million investment. It will be managed by Yaletown Partners, a Canadian investment group, with the support of The A100, a non-profit, member funded organization of tech entrepreneurs and executives.
The Tax Statutes (Creating Jobs and Driving Innovation) Amendment Act
As part of the Alberta Recovery Plan, our government has brought forward Bill 35, the Tax Statutes (Creating Jobs and Driving Innovation) Amendment Act. This builds on our other announcements such as the ones above to continue to make Alberta the most competitive jurisdiction to do business and further create diversification and jobs. It will legislate the acceleration of the Job Creation Tax Cut and the Innovation Employment Grant.
HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION
The facts on health care
There is a lot of misinformation out there about Alberta’s health care, including the idea that we are moving to a two-tiered health care system. I would like to point out that this is not the case. Our government supports the 2019 platform commitment that included maintaining a publicly funded and universally accessible healthcare system and maintain or increase healthcare funding.
This government is keeping those promises and taking action to deliver better and more efficient healthcare for Albertans. Platform policies must also be consistent with the Canadian law, including the Charter and the Canada Health Act. Our priority today is improving Albertans’ access to publicly-funded health services, including reducing wait times which have increased in recent years.
With respect to the Alberta Health Services review implementation plan, the Ernst & Young Review consulted with thousands of employees working at AHS on how the system can be modernized to help both lower costs and provide better services to Albertans.
AHS needs to be modernized to reduce wait times and reinvest cost savings back into the system.
The facts on education curriculum
I am sure many of you have seen the story that recommendations on curriculum for K-12 was leaked. I would like to make it clear that these are merely recommendations and do not reflect government policy.
The documents released are not the curriculum. In fact, some of these recommendations are not even realistic – especially for the ages suggested.
No final decisions have been made on future K-12 curriculum. Draft curriculum will be moving forward to the Curriculum Working Group, which includes teachers, this fall. It will be available to the public in January 2021 and the new K-6 curriculum will be piloted in September 2021.
Beginning in the new year and continuing on through the year-long classroom validation process, the draft Kindergarten to Grade 6 curriculum will be made available online at http://new.learnalberta.ca. Parents, teachers, education partners and interested Albertans will be able to provide feedback throughout this process, and I encourage you to participate once the engagement begins.
Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Calgary and Edmonton recently, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has implemented temporary measures to help reduce the transmission and limit the risks of cases.
Effective immediately, a mandatory 15-person limit on all social gatherings in the City of Edmonton and City of Calgary is in effect. This limit applies to gatherings such as dinner parties, wedding and funeral receptions, banquets and other gatherings. It does not currently change measures for structured events such as dining in restaurants, theatres, worship services or wedding and funeral ceremonies.
In one month’s time this limit will be reassessed.
This mandatory limit is in addition to the recommendations such as wearing a non-medical mask in all indoor work settings, limiting each individual to no more than three cohorts, and continuing to physically distance and wash hands regularly.
We are all in this together and I want to encourage you to all to abide by this restriction and continue to follow the guidelines for the health and safety of others.
New COVID-19 pilot for international travelers
Both the Alberta and federal governments will pilot a program, the first of its kind in the country, to safely test an alternative to the current 14-day quarantine requirement for international travelers.
The new pilot will explore the feasibility of using a rigorous testing and monitoring program as a strategy to reduce the mandatory quarantine period, while keeping Canadians safe. Beginning November 2, COVID-19 testing will be offered initially at two ports of entry into Canada; the Coutts land border crossing and the Calgary International Airport.
Participating travelers will receive a COVID-19 test upon entry into Canada before proceeding to required quarantine. Once a negative test comes back they will be allowed to leave their place of quarantine so long as they commit to getting a second test on day six or seven after arrival.