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Alberta

Alberta responses to federal energy stimulus package: A good start!

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Premier Jason Kenney

From the Province of Alberta

Federal energy stimulus package: Premier Kenney

Premier Jason Kenney issued the following statement on the federal government’s energy stimulus package:

“How we come through this economic crisis will depend in large part on the survival and the successful recovery of our country’s largest industry – the energy sector – on which some 800,000 Canadian jobs depend. We thank the federal government for taking this important first step to support the folks who work in our energy sector.

“The $1 billion partnership to address inactive wells aligns with Alberta’s commitment to ensuring our resources are developed in an environmentally sustainable fashion. This funding will immediately save or create thousands of jobs, keeping energy service companies going during these devastating times. It will also help us bring sites back to their original condition, leaving a cleaner environment for future generations. The $200 million loan to the Orphan Well Association will also help these efforts, demonstrating our commitment to producing Canadian energy under the world’s highest environmental standards.

“More support is needed to deal with the crisis in Canada’s energy sector, but this is a great first step. Our energy sector is facing its biggest challenge ever, and we need to be sure that industry can access the capital it needs to survive and thrive in future years. When the auto sector and the banks were threatened during the global financial crisis a decade ago, the economic strength of Alberta, powered by the energy industry, ensured that Canada was able to provide the urgent support they needed. We will continue to work with the federal government to ensure that the energy sector now gets the support it needs as it faces its own threats from both the COVID-19 pandemic and the Saudi-Russia price war.

“This unprecedented disruption in the world energy markets will eventually recede. Better times for the industry are a matter of when – not if – but only if the industry survives the next couple of years. We need to make sure Alberta is prepared and ready for the global recovery when the time comes. Alberta’s energy industry is the lifeblood of our provincial economy – and the largest subsector of Canada’s economy, as well as one of its biggest employers. The energy sector helps some of our country’s most important industries thrive, including health care, manufacturing and transportation.

“We are grateful for this job-creating initiative, and we will continue to work with the federal government until the energy sector has what it needs to survive and thrive for the benefit of all Canadians.”

From the Alberta NDP Caucus

SCHMIDT STATEMENT ON FEDERAL SUPPORT FOR ENERGY INDUSTRY

Marlin Schmidt, NDP Environment Critic, issued the following statement regarding the federal government’s aid package for Alberta’s energy industry:

“Cleaning up oil and gas sites is good news for our energy sector workers, landowners, and our environment. From day one, we have been advocating for support to cleanup orphan wells. It will put thousands of Albertans back to work while supporting responsible resource development.

“The UCP government must use this money in a way that ensures polluters still pay for the cleanup of their sites. They must also set clear targets and timelines for well cleanup now and into the future. I also hope the UCP will ensure landowners and municipalities are compensated for wells on their land.

“While this is good news for our energy sector and landowners, there are still a lot of Albertans and businesses struggling to make ends meet. I wish Premier Kenney and the UCP would step up and provide real leadership to support all Albertans and all sectors of our province instead of constantly relying on the federal government to act first.”

From the Alberta Federation of Labour

Alberta unions applaud federal support for oil and gas workers

“The money for orphan wells and methane reduction, announced by the federal government today, will help the environment and create jobs at a time when they’re desperately needed,” says the president of Alberta’s largest worker advocacy organization.

“This is a classic win-win scenario,” says Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “The $1.7 billion being dedicated to orphan and abandoned wells can be put to use almost immediately. It will help address a problem that has been simmering in Alberta for years and, in the process, it will put literally thousands of people in the oil field service industry back to work. There is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most constructive things that the federal government can do to help oil and gas workers at this time. It’s greatly appreciated.”

McGowan says he’s also very happy with the work the federal government did to get input from a wide variety of stakeholders.

“Here in Alberta, we’re used to our provincial governments consulting only with industry and then making a policy based on that narrow range of perspectives. But the federal government took a very different approach, consulting with workers, environmental groups, landowners and others, in addition to industry. It’s very refreshing. And, I think it shows that you get better policy outcomes when you take the time to hear from a wider cross-section of people.”

Of the $1.7 billion ear-marked for well remediation, $200 million will go directly to Alberta’s Orphan Well Association and $1 billion will go directly to the Alberta government. Alberta will be required to address concerns about how the whole issue of orphan wells is managed going forward.

“That last point is really important to us,” concluded McGowan. “This money won’t just create jobs; it will also require the Alberta government to clean up its act when it comes to implementing and overseeing rules requiring oil and gas companies to clean up their acts. That’s very good news for our province.”

 

From the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada

PCA: Federal Aid Package for Oil and Gas Sector a Beginning

The $1.7 billion aid package announced today for the oil and gas sector is a welcome start, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) which has seen many of its member company operations in the oil sands sector scaled back, shut down or delayed, resulting in thousands of layoffs.

“It’s a good day when thousands of jobs in Western Canada can be saved,” said Paul de Jong, President of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “However, with a record number of energy companies folding, it will take far more to stave off a full-scale collapse.”

Prime Minister Trudeau announced $1.7 billion in funding to clean up orphaned oil wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The aid is expected to maintain as many as 5,200 jobs in Alberta alone.

“We’re still waiting for a federal aid package that fairly reflects the value and importance of the oil and gas industry,” added de Jong. “Given that this sector accounts for more than a tenth of GDP and employs tens of thousands of workers, the government still has a long way to go in demonstrating a real commitment to its survival.”

Last week, PCA sent Trudeau a letter, urging his government to provide support to the oil and gas sector without further delay.

About the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA)  With offices in BC, Alberta and Ontario, PCA is the voice of progressive unionized employers in Canada’s construction industry. Our member companies are responsible for 40 percent of energy and natural resource construction projects in British Columbia and Alberta and are leaders in infrastructure construction across Canada. PCA member companies employ more than 25,000 skilled construction workers in Canada, represented primarily by CLAC.

From the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

CAPP issues statement recognizing the Government of Canada’s support for the oil and natural gas industry

“The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) recognizes the Government of Canada’s support for the oil and natural gas industry, and appreciates the initiatives announced today which will protect about 10,000 jobs across the country.

The $1.7 billion announced today, for the closure and reclamation of orphan and inactive wells in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, is welcome news. Reducing environmental liabilities is a priority for the oil and natural gas industry and this initiative will allow important work to accelerate, while supporting thousands of jobs.

The government also announced a $750 million emissions reduction fund which will help companies continue their progress to reduce methane emissions. Canada’s oil and natural gas industry has committed to a 45 percent reduction of methane emissions by 2025, and the government is helping ensure that innovation and progress in this key area can continue during the economic crisis.

We are also encouraged by news that the government is working with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to strengthen support for corporations who are most at risk. Liquidity is a real and immediate challenge for oil and natural gas producers and CAPP has been working with the federal government to identify urgent action needed to address the dire situation. We are awaiting additional details on the expansion of support — a critically important matter as companies try to weather the current crisis.

CAPP will continue to talk with all levels of government to ensure adequate support is in place to help businesses and jobs survive this unprecedented economic crisis. Survival of the energy sector will be crucial to Canada’s economic recovery.”

-Tim McMillan, President and CEO – Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

From Cenovus, Brett Harris, Manager of Communications

We are appreciative that the federal government recognizes the dire situation the energy industry is in with the decrease in oil demand due to COVID-19 resulting in unprecedented low oil prices. The industry is in survival mode and needs the government to provide support to help companies preserve cash and access additional liquidity so they can still be here to help rebuild the economy once the immediate crisis passes.

We need more details about the federal aid for inactive and abandoned wells and methane emissions reduction. Cenovus has a strong history of addressing these areas of environmental responsibility and we will continue to take proactive actions so the government funding may help us progress these activities. Again, we still need to see the details.

The most important action the federal government can take to ensure the industry remains strong is by providing a temporary safety net in the form of increased access to liquidity. There are many options for this support to be delivered and we are urging the government to take swift action to pursue that.

Trudeau says $1.7B coming for orphaned-well cleanups

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Alberta ombudsman says she doesn't have the power to probe EMS dispatch consolidation

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s ombudsman says she doesn’t have the power to investigate a complaint about the decision to consolidate ambulance emergency dispatch services in the province.

The complaint was filed by the cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The municipalities have contended that the decision to consolidate the dispatch services to save the government money could put the lives of people in their communities at risk.

In a release late Friday, Ombudsman Marianne Ryan says the decision was technically made by Alberta Health Services, which her office is prohibited by law from investigating.

When the United Conservative government announced the consolidation in August 2020, then health minister Tyler Shandro said the province’s dispatch system would allow for better co-ordination of all ground ambulances and air resources.

At the time, the four mayors of the municipalities, none of whom are now still in office, said they were blindsided by the decision and would fight the change.

“While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction,” Ryan said in the release.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

Last February, a judge granted an interim injunction sought by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services after the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo stopped transferring emergency medical calls to the provincial dispatch centre.

The municipality, which includes Fort McMurray, stopped transferring calls after its council decided the provincial ambulance dispatch service was putting patients at risk due to delays and confusion.

A lawyer for Wood Buffalo had argued it was in the public interest for the municipality to keep handling emergency medical calls through its own dispatch centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta Ombudsman can’t do anything about City of Red Deer complaint about 9-11 Dispatch

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Ombudsman Responds to Municipalities’ Complaint About Ambulance Dispatch

Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman took the unusual step of publicly commenting on a complaint received involving Alberta Health Services.

The City of Red Deer, along with the municipalities of Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo filed a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding Alberta Health Services’ consolidation of ambulance emergency dispatch services.

The Ombudsman Act authorizes the Ombudsman to investigate administrative decisions of government ministries and many related bodies, but the Act specifically prohibits her from investigating decisions of Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them,” stated Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman. “In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”

Investigations by the Ombudsman are conducted in confidence, and it is the Ombudsman’s general practice not to comment publicly on complaints, especially ones that are not being investigated.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

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