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Alberta drops almost all public health restrictions – Municipalities will have to follow suit

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Alberta is a leader in lifting the majority of public health measures, as the province moves to step two of reopening.

Albertans are now able to enjoy social gatherings without limits again and visit businesses without capacity restrictions. Children and youth are free to resume regular school life and enjoy activities without mandatory prior screening.

The provincial mandatory mask mandate has also ended, except in AHS facilities, continuing care and on public transit in order to protect vulnerable Albertans.

Mandatory isolation for COVID-19 core symptoms or a positive test result remains in place. Isolation periods are five days at home and five days of continued masking for fully vaccinated individuals, or 10 days for partially and unvaccinated individuals.

Step two

Now in effect:

  • Remaining provincial school requirements (including cohorting) are removed.
  • Screening prior to youth activities is no longer required.
  • Capacity limits are lifted for all venues.
  • Limits on social gatherings are removed.
  • The provincial mask mandate is lifted in most settings. However, masking will still be required in the following high-risk settings: on public transit, at Alberta Health Services-operated and contracted facilities and all continuing care settings.
    • Municipal bylaws may continue to be in effect.
    • Albertans may wish to consider individual risk factors and choose to wear masks in other public indoor settings.
  • Restrictions on interactive activities, liquor service and operating hours are lifted.
  • Mandatory work-from-home requirement is removed.

Step three

To be determined based on hospitalization rates continuing to trend downwards.

  • COVID-19-specific measures in continuing care and AHS facilities and on public transit will be removed.
  • Mandatory isolation becomes a recommendation only.

Additional details on all restrictions and measures in place are available at alberta.ca.

“I am proud of our province and its people on reaching this milestone. The majority of Albertans came together to keep everyone safe, and this is the result we were working towards. The pressure on our health-care system and the people it serves is lessening and we can now move forward. As we safely get our lives back to normal, we can move forward toward Alberta’s great economic recovery.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

“Thanks to the vaccination uptake in the province and the commitment of millions of Albertans these past two years, we are closing in on normal life. As we shift to an endemic response, I am confident that we can take the lessons we have learned through this pandemic to build an even more robust health-care system for our province’s future.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Saskatchewan ranchers call for investigation into retail meat pricing

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REGINA — A group of Canadian ranchers is calling for an investigation into meat pricing.

The Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association says it’s asking the provincial and federal governments to look into what it calls an “imbalance” between the price ranchers receive for the cattle and the price consumers pay at the meat counter.

The group says many ranchers and feedlots are operating at a loss this year. Grass is still scarce on the Prairies due to last summer’s drought, and the cost of feed grain and fuel has skyrocketed since last year.

But packers and retailers are reporting strong profits this year. The Stock Growers say they believe slaughterhouses may be intentionally running fewer shifts to in order to keep wholesale beef prices high and allow fed cattle supplies to build up in the countryside.

In the U.S., the Biden administration has already expressed concerns about rising meat prices and vowed to implement policies aimed at increasing competition in the meat-packing sector.

According to Statistics Canada, the retail price of beef is up 11.2 per cent year-over-year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

First test production of plastic a milestone for Heartland Petrochemical Complex

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CALGARY — The $4.3-billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex, which has been under construction northeast of Edmonton since 2018, has produced its first plastic pellets.

Owner and operator Inter Pipeline Ltd. said Tuesday the newly commissioned facility has been producing test pellets steadily since late June, an important milestone en route to the expected start of full commercial operation sometime this fall.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex will convert Alberta propane into 525,000 tonnes per year of polypropylene beads, an easily transported form of plastic that is used in the manufacturing of a wide range of finished products.

Steven Noble, spokesman for Calgary-based Inter Pipeline, said the facility will be the first integrated propane dehydrogenation and polypropylene production facility in North America. He said approximately 70 per cent of Heartland’s total production capacity has been already contracted out to long-term customers.

“Through the duration of the project’s construction, we’ve seen demand for polypropylene increase significantly … including at one point hitting an all-time record (market price),” Noble said in an interview. “The demand that we initially forecast certainly hasn’t gone away.”

The Heartland facility is being built with the support of a $408-million grant from Alberta’s provincial government. The cash grant, part of an incentive program aimed at growing the province’s petrochemicals sector, is to be paid to Inter Pipeline in equal instalments over three years once the complex is operational.

Noble said by creating a new market for propane, the Heartland facility is an example of how natural resource development in Alberta is diversifying.

“The fact that we’re now looking at our raw resources in a different way, and figuring out different ways to get value out of them and create other refined products right here at home … is really the part of the story that everyone here is excited about,” he said.

The Heartland Petrochemical Complex is expected to employ 300 people once fully operational.

The polypropylene produced at the facility will be branded as Heartland Polymers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

Amanda Stephenson, The Canadian Press

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july, 2022

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