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Alberta Budget 2024 – Health, Education, and Affordability announcements

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Putting Albertans and Alberta families first

Budget 2024 is a responsible plan that puts Albertans and their families first by investing in strong health care, a modern education system and supports to keep life affordable.

Alberta’s government will ensure that the services and supports Alberta families rely on will be there for them. Budget 2024 continues to prioritize the delivery of high-quality, reliable health services across the province, with funding to continue planning the stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital, attract family physicians to rural areas and add more mental health and addiction facilities.

“With Budget 2024, we are ensuring that our province remains the best place to live and raise a family. We are investing in programs and services like new school builds, improved access to doctors and affordable housing to help Albertans stay healthy and build a successful future for themselves and their families.”

Nate Horner, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

 

Budget 2024 highlights – Health care

  • $475 million to modernize Alberta’s primary health care system, including:
    • $200 million over two years to improve access to family physicians.
    • $10 million for primary health care initiatives in Indigenous communities.
    • $15 million to further develop a compensation model for nurse practitioners.
  • $6.6 billion for physician compensation and development, up from $6.1 billion in Budget 2023.
  • $1 billion over three years to transform the continuing care system to shift care to the community, enhance workforce capacity, increase choice and innovation, and improve the quality of care within the continuing care sector.
  • $287 million over four years, part of a bilateral agreement with the federal government, for new mental health and addiction facilities, as well as for targeted supports for children and youth, adults and Indigenous communities.
  • $62.4 million over three years to create two rural health professional training centres and expand physician education.
  • $20 million over the next three years, including $17 million in new funding, to continue planning for a stand-alone Stollery Children’s Hospital.
  • $35 million in capital funding over the next three years to purchase new emergency medical services vehicles and ambulances, upgrade the existing fleet and acquire additional equipment.
  • $10 million over the next three years to create additional mental health professional spaces in post-secondary schools.
  • $1.55-billion total expense to continue building the Alberta Recovery Model and ensure anyone suffering from the deadly disease of addiction or facing mental health challenges has an opportunity to pursue recovery.

“In Budget 2024, Alberta’s government is continuing to prioritize the delivery of high-quality, reliable health services across the province. This year’s record investment of $26.2 billion in health care will help us continue toward our goals of improving primary health care, adding capacity, reducing wait times, growing the workforce and advancing the Healthcare Action Plan.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

“Budget 2024 gives hope to those suffering from the deadly disease of addiction or facing mental health challenges. We are proud to invest in the Alberta Recovery Model and provide life-saving addiction treatment and care for those in need.”

Dan Williams, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

Budget 2024 invests in a bright future for Alberta students with new and modernized schools, learning supports for students of all abilities and post-secondary programs to help build a skilled workforce.

Budget 2024 highlights – K-12 and post-secondary education

  • $1.9 billion in capital funding over the next three years for planning, design or construction of new and modernized school projects across the province. This includes $681 million in new funding for 43 priority projects that will create 35,000 new or modernized student spaces.
    • A total of 98 school projects are in various stages of the planning, design and construction process in 2024.
  • $842 million in new operating funding over the next three years to further support enrolment growth, bringing additional enrolment-based funding to more than $1.2 billion over the next three years to enable schools to hire more than 3,100 education staff.
  • More than $1.5-billion operating expense funding for educational learning supports for vulnerable students, children with specialized learning needs and other students requiring additional supports.
  • $26 million over the next three years in additional funding for Program Unit Funding (PUF). PUF will total $209 million in the 2024-25 fiscal year.
  • $103 million in capital funding over three years to increase modular classroom spaces to address the most urgent needs for additional student spaces across the province.
  • $55 million in capital funding starting in 2025-26 for the University of Calgary’s multidisciplinary hub to add 1,000 spaces in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.
  • $63 million in capital funding over the next three years for Olds College to renovate and expand student spaces in the WJ Elliot Building.
  • $43 million in capital funding over the next three years for NAIT’s trades and technology learning facility.
  • $13 million in capital funding over the next three years for Red Deer Polytechnic to create a new space to help businesses conduct applied research.

“The Alberta Advantage is back and booming, and people from across Canada and around the world are once again flocking to our incredible province. This of course puts added pressures on our schools, and our government is ready to help. Budget 2024 will support 43 new school projects to create and update 35,000 more student spaces. We’re providing $842 million in new funding to help our school boards hire more than 3,000 teachers and educational staff over the next three years. We will also boost funding to vulnerable students by increasing funding to the PUF program by $26 million.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Education

 

“Demand for skilled trades workers and graduates from STEM programs is projected to increase as our economy continues to grow and diversify. That’s why Alberta’s government is making targeted investments in post-secondary institutions to create more opportunities for students in high-demand fields of study.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education

Although inflation is expected to ease this year, many families are still struggling with high grocery and utility costs. Budget 2024 helps keep life affordable and supports Albertans most affected by inflation.

Budget 2024 highlights – Affordability

  • $717 million in capital grants to give Albertans and families access to more affordable housing, in line with Stronger Foundations – Alberta’s 10-year strategy designed to increase affordable housing supply and supports for Albertans.
  • $355 million for the Alberta Child and Family Benefit to provide lower-income families with benefits, an increase of $31 million from last fiscal year.
  • $980 million in savings for Albertans in 2024-25 because of indexation of personal income taxes.
    • Budget 2024 formalizes the schedule to phase in a new personal income tax bracket on the first $60,000 of income, which would save individual taxpayers up to $760 per year once the tax cut is fully implemented.
  • 25 per cent discount for seniors on personal registry services and medical driving tests, scheduled to come into effect in 2024-25.
  • $38-million increase to operational funding for the Seniors Lodge, Social Housing and Specialized Housing and Rental Assistance programs in 2024-25.
  • $22 million increased operating expense over the next three years to index foster, kinship and other caregiver rates, which will support stronger foundations for children in care and provide them with the care and protection they need for a brighter and secure future.

“With each strategic investment in affordable housing, reducing homelessness and supporting our seniors and people with disabilities, we are strengthening our communities and empowering vulnerable Albertans to thrive and succeed.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Seniors, Community and Social Services

 

“Our government is helping make life easier and more affordable for Alberta families. By helping foster caregivers increase stability for children and youth in care, and ensuring survivors of domestic and sexual violence have the resources they need to heal, we’re enabling connections that will lead to a brighter future for Alberta families.”

Searle Turton, Minister of Children and Family Services

Budget 2024 is a responsible plan to strengthen health care and education, build safe and supportive communities, manage the province’s resources wisely and promote job creation to continue to build Alberta’s competitive advantage.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Red Deer Doctor critical of Alberta’s COVID response to submit report to Danielle Smith this May

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

Leading the task force is Dr. Gary Davidson, who was skeptical of mandates at the time.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith will soon be receiving a little-known report she commissioned which tasked an Alberta doctor who was critical of the previous administration’s handling of COVID to look into how accurate the province’s COVID data collection was, as well as the previous administration’s decision-making process and effectiveness. 

As noted in a recent Globe and Mail report, records it obtained show that just less than one month after becoming Premier of Alberta in November of 2022, Smith tasked then-health minister Jason Copping to create the COVID data task force. 

Documents show that the Alberta government under Smith gave the new task force, led by Dr. Gary Davidson – who used to work as an emergency doctor in Red Deer, Alberta – a sweeping mandate to look at whether the “right data” was obtained during COVID as well as to assess the “integrity, validity, reliability and quality of the data/information used to inform pandemic decisions” by members of Alberta Health Services (AHS).  

As reported by LifeSiteNews in 2021, Davidson said during the height of COVID that the hospital capacity crisis in his province was “created,” was not a new phenomenon, and had nothing to do with COVID.

“We have a crisis, and we have a crisis because we have no staff, because our staff quit, because they’re burned out, they’re not burnt out from COVID,” Davidson said at the time. 

Davidson also claimed that the previous United Conservative Party government under former Premier Jason Kenney had been manipulating COVID statistics.  

In comments sent to the media, Smith said that in her view it was a good idea to have a “contrarian perspective” with Davidson looking at “everything that happened with some fresh eyes.” 

“I needed somebody who was going to look at everything that happened with some fresh eyes and maybe with a little bit of a contrarian perspective because we’ve only ever been given one perspective,” she told reporters Tuesday. 

“I left it to [Davidson] to assemble the panel with the guidance that I would like to have a broad range of perspectives.” 

After assuming her role as premier, Smith promptly fired the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire AHS board of directors, all of whom oversaw the implementation of COVID mandates. 

Under Kenney, thousands of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare and government workers lost their jobs for choosing to not get the jabs, leading Smith to say – only minutes after being sworn in – that over the past year the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime. 

As for AHS, it still is promoting the COVID shots, for babies as young as six months old, as recently reported by LifeSiteNews.  

Task force made up of doctors both for and against COVID mandates  

In addition to COVID skeptic Dr. Gary Davidson, the rather secretive COVID task force includes other health professionals who were critical of COVID mandates and health restrictions, including vaccine mandates.  

The task force was given about $2 million to conduct its review, according to The Globe and Mail, and is completely separate from another task force headed by former Canadian MP Preston Manning, who led the Reform Party for years before it merged with another party to form the modern-day Conservative Party of Canada. 

Manning’s task force, known as the Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel (PHEGRP), released its findings last year. It recommend that many pro-freedom policies be implemented, such as strengthening personal medical freedoms via legislation so that one does not lose their job for refusing a vaccine, as well as concluding that Albertans’ rights were indeed infringed upon. 

The Smith government task force is run through the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) which is a provincial agency involved in healthcare research.  

Last March, Davidson was given a project description and terms of reference and was told to have a final report delivered to Alberta’s Health Minister by December of 2023. 

As of now, the task force’s final report won’t be available until May, as per Andrea Smith, press secretary to Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, who noted that the goal of the task force is to look at Alberta’s COVID response compared to other provinces.  

According to the Globe and Mail report, another person working on the task force is anesthetist Blaine Achen, who was part of a group of doctors that legally challenged AHS’s now-rescinded mandatory COVID jab policy for workers. 

Some doctors on the task force, whom the Globe and Mail noted held “more conventional views regarding the pandemic,” left it only after a few meetings. 

In a seeming attempt to prevent another draconian crackdown on civil liberties, the UCP government under Smith has already taken concrete action.

The Smith government late last year passed a new law, Bill 6, or the Public Health Amendment Act, that holds politicians accountable in times of a health crisis by putting sole decision-making on them for health matters instead of unelected medical officers. 

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Alberta’s baby name superstar steals the show again

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Olivia and Noah continue to reign as top baby names in 2023.

Olivia and Noah are once again topping the lists in Alberta, highlighting the enduring appeal of the names. Olivia maintains a record setting streak as the most popular girls name in Alberta for the 11th year in a row, while Noah remains top pick for boys’ names for a fifth consecutive year.

“Congratulations to those who welcomed a new addition to their family in 2023. Bringing a child into the world is a truly momentous occasion. Whether the name you chose was in the top 10 or one of a kind, these names are only the beginning of the endless possibilities that lie ahead for each child. I look forward to supporting this generation by ensuring Alberta remains a place where they can thrive.”

Dale Nally, Minister of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction

In choosing names for their new arrivals, parents appear to have found inspiration in a variety of places. Some parents may have been inspired by plants like Ivy, Rose, Juniper, Poppy, Azalea or in nature like Wren, River, Meadow and Flora.

Others may have taken a literary approach with names like Bennett, Sawyer, Juliet and Atticus or been inspired by notable names from religious texts like Eve, Noah, Mohammed and Gabriel.

As always, popular culture may have had an influence through famous musicians (Aretha, Lennon, Presley, Hendrix), athletes (Beckham, Crosby, Evander), and even fairytale princesses (Tiana, Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel, Belle).

Quick facts

  • A total of 47,263 births were registered in Alberta in 2023
  • Notable changes to the early 2020s lists:
  • Evelyn rose to seventh place on the girls’ names list after tying for 19th place in 2022.
  • Emily returned to the top 10 list for girls after taking a short break in 2021 and 2022 after a 10-year stretch in the top 10 that started in 2010.
  • Violet has cracked the top 10 list for the first time in at least four decades, tying with Ava and Emily in ninth place.
  • The top 10 boys’ names remain the same as last year but with a slight change in order.
  • Historically, girls’ names that held the No. 1 spot for the longest consecutive time period include:
  • Olivia: 11 years (2013-2023)
  • Jessica: six years (1990-1995)
  • Emily: five years (1998-2002)
  • Historically, boys’ names that held the No. 1 spot for the longest consecutive time period include:
  • Ethan: nine years (2001-2009)
  • Liam: seven years (2010-2016)
  • Matthew: five years (1995-1999)
  • Noah: five years (2019-2023)
  • Parents have up to one year to register their child’s birth. As a result, the list of 2023 baby names and birth statistics may change slightly.

Boys’ names and frequency – top 10 names 2018-23

(In brackets is the number of babies with each name)

Place Boy Names (2023) Boy Names

(2022)

Boy Names (2021) Boy Names (2020) Boy Names (2019) Boy Names (2018)
1 Noah (276) Noah (229) Noah (274) Noah (239) Noah (275) Liam (225)
2 Liam (181) Liam (176) Jack (220) Oliver (229) Liam (234) Oliver (212)
3 Oliver (178) Theodore (173) Oliver (208) Liam (206) Oliver (225) Noah (199)
4 Theodore (173) Oliver (172) Liam (198) Benjamin (182) Ethan (213) Ethan (188)
5 Jack (153) Jack (159) Theodore (191) William (178) Jack (198) Logan (182)

Lucas (182)

6 Henry (146) William (146) William (174) Jack (169) William (185) Jacob (181)
7 Lucas (140) Benjamin (138) Ethan (162) Lucas (163) Lucas (174) William (178)

Girls’ names and frequency – top 10 names 2018-2023

(In brackets is the number of babies with each name)

Place Girl Names (2023) Girl Names

(2022)

Girl Names (2021) Girl Names (2020) Girl Names (2019) Girl Names (2018)
1 Olivia (210) Olivia (192) Olivia (210) Olivia (236) Olivia (229) Olivia (235)
2 Amelia (145) Sophia (152) Charlotte (166) Emma (184) Charlotte (188) Emma (230)
3 Sophia

(138)

Emma (149) Ava (165) Charlotte (161) Sophia (181) Charlotte (175)
4 Charlotte

(135)

Amelia (133) Emma (164) Ava (159) Emma (178) Emily (164)
5 Emma (133) Harper (125) Amelia (161) Sophia (151) Ava (161) Ava (161)
6 Isla (120) Charlotte (117) Sophia (137) Amelia (145) Amelia (159) Abigail (153)
7 Evelyn (114) Ava (115) Isla (135) Isla (133) Emily (150) Harper (150)
8 Chloe (101)

Violet

(101)

Isla (101) Abigail (120)

Chloe (120)

Emily (127) Abigail (141) Sophia (146)
9 Ava (99)
Emily (99)
Lily (100) Evelyn (119) Lily (123) Hannah (137) Amelia (145)
10 Hannah (98)

Hazel

(98)

Chloe (92) Aria (112) Abigail (114) Elizabeth (124) Elizabeth (130)

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