More higher learning opportunities in central Alberta
Red Deer College is poised to become Alberta’s newest polytechnic, ensuring residents have access to a wide variety of learning options close to home now and in the future.
Becoming a polytechnic enables Red Deer College to better align programming with local student, business and industry needs – including high-quality degrees, apprenticeship education and diploma programs.
Alberta’s government worked in partnership with Red Deer College and student leaders to determine the most flexible and best-fit model for central Alberta, with a goal of ensuring students have access to the education they need and employers in the region have access to the talent they need.
“I am thrilled that Red Deer College will become central Alberta’s polytechnic institution, best positioning it to provide residents with the wide range of educational options they need to build rewarding careers – right in their community. Ensuring all Albertans have access to opportunities to build their skills for in-demand local jobs empowers people to achieve success close to home, helps strengthen and grow communities, as well as attracting investment to the province.”
Red Deer College and the students, faculty and staff on campus play a key role in the community and local economy. The college began operations in 1964, and since then has expanded its offerings to include more than 100 programs across a range of credentials. With strong connections to business, innovation, health care, non-profits and many other organizations, Red Deer College and its students have an important role in the culture and vibrancy of the central Alberta region. The partnerships, work-integrated learning and collaboration already in place will continue to be enhanced through the polytechnic model.
“We are very supportive of the polytechnic designation because this model will allow us to build on our strengths to become an ever more innovative institution that will best serve our students, partners, industry and community members. Becoming a polytechnic achieves all of the goals we have had for many years, and it allows us to consider exciting new possibilities for the future.”
“The breadth of programs and credentials we will offer as a polytechnic institution are exactly what this region needs. By offering students applied and work-integrated learning across all programs – from trades to our own degrees – we will assist graduates to achieve their goals and be highly employable within the ever-changing needs of the labour market. This is the ideal future for our institution.”
“Red Deer is ready for a polytechnic. Students of central Alberta want to learn and live close to their support systems. We need to stop the brain drain and focus on what really matters most – making sure our population is well-educated and remains in this region.”
Red Deer is Alberta’s third largest city and a key social and economic hub for central Alberta. By shifting Red Deer College to a polytechnic and supporting expanded programming to include new degree and apprenticeship opportunities, we are ensuring students have the skills they need to build rewarding careers and employers have the talented workforce they need to grow the economy.
“Red Deer city council, our community and our region remain dedicated to supporting Red Deer College, students and staff who work every day to ensure RDC remains a key competitive post-secondary institution. We need to be a competitive contender in keeping and attracting new population to our city, and one of the most promising means of doing so is through the development of a skilled labour force, offering a broader spectrum of career options locally, and attracting a population who will stay and strengthen our local economy through their future contributions in various sectors.”
These changes also align with the goals of the Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy, and were considered as part of consultations to form the strategy.
An official new name for the institution has not yet been chosen but is expected to be announced in the coming months. Alberta’s government will continue to work with Red Deer College to ensure a successful path to polytechnic status.
- Polytechnic status in Alberta enables institutions to offer apprenticeship education along with degree, diploma and certificate programs.
- Red Deer College is currently approved to offer three degree programs, including the recently approved bachelor of science in biological sciences degree.
- The institution has also put forward four degree program proposals to Advanced Education for program approval review. These include:
- bachelor of arts (psychology)
- bachelor of science (psychology)
- bachelor of business administration
- bachelor of education
- The Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs strategy is a transformational vision and direction for Alberta’s higher education system, which will develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, strengthen innovation and commercialization of research and forge stronger relationships between employers and post-secondary institutions.
Running Reins Ranch in Red Deer County picks up $250,000 grant from province
Running Reins Ranch partners with members of the local Indigenous community to set-up teepee accommodations and host regular cultural programming for guests.
Tourism investment fuels growth in rural Alberta
Alberta’s government continues to support regional tourism opportunities across the province, generating jobs and new tourism destinations for locals and visitors alike.
Ahead of World Tourism Day 2023, Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow visited Running Reins Ranch to see first-hand how tourism investment grants are making a difference in the lives of Albertans.
“Alberta’s government is proud to invest in growing visitor destinations like Running Reins Ranch that celebrate the richness and diversity of Alberta’s rural destinations and provide a sustainable tourism experience for visitors to enjoy.”
As part of the Tourism Investment Program, Running Reins Ranch received a $250,000 grant from Travel Alberta.
“Our investment will support the building of additional unique accommodations at the ranch that will triple their capacity, emphasize their year-round offerings and create five new full-time jobs. This investment in Running Reins Ranch is a perfect example of how Travel Alberta is driving tourism growth in rural communities across the province.”
Running Reins is located east of Innisfail, offering cabin and teepee accommodations and a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors looking to combine the beauty of the Prairies with farm experiences for a one-of-a-kind getaway.
Right to Left: Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow, Owners of Running Reins Ranch Terry and Janice Scott, and team member Grace Finlan.
“This funding is a game-changer for us and our business. We are excited to bring our vision to life and provide visitors with unforgettable experiences while supporting the economic growth of the surrounding community.”
Tourism is Alberta’s No. 1 service export sector. In 2019, Alberta welcomed 34.6 million visitors, generating $10.1 billion in expenditures and supporting more than 80,000 full-time jobs. The Tourism Investment Program is Travel Alberta’s commitment to investing $15 million annually with communities and operators to develop the province’s tourism sector. Developing Alberta’s rural and agri-tourism sector is an essential component of the government’s efforts to grow Alberta’s tourism economy to more than $20 billion by 2035.
- In 2022-23, Travel Alberta funded 166 projects across 73 communities – about 75 per cent of the projects and 70 per cent of the funding were in smaller urban and rural areas of the province.
- In December 2022, Alberta’s government released its Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan, with supporting initiatives that demonstrate the government’s commitment to building healthy and prosperous communities across rural Alberta and Indigenous communities.
Company at centre of E. coli outbreak at Calgary daycares faces licensing charges
Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange speaks to the media about an E. coli outbreak linked to multiple Calgary daycares in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Colette Derworiz in Calgary
The company that runs a commercial kitchen at the centre of an E. coli outbreak that has infected hundreds at numerous Calgary daycares has been charged with operating without a business licence.
The City of Calgary announced Wednesday that Fueling Minds Inc. and its two directors face a total of 12 charges under municipal business bylaws and face a total fine of up to $120,000.
The company declined to comment on the charges in an emailed statement Wednesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Alberta chief medical officer Dr. Mark Joffe said the number of cases has plateaued at 351, and tests and interviews indicate the cause of the outbreak was meat loaf and vegan loaf.
He said there are also 37 confirmed secondary cases and four children remain in hospital.
Fueling Minds provided meals to six of its own daycares that were affected by the outbreak, which was declared Sept. 4, and also to five separate daycares.
The city alleges Fueling Minds did not have the proper licence to serve those other five.
Joffe said the investigation into the cause of the outbreak included interviews with hundreds of parents and daycare staffers and the testing of 44 food samples.
“We believe that meat loaf and vegan loaf meals that were served for lunch on Aug. 29 most likely contained the E. coli bacteria that led to these infections,” said Joffe.
“Unfortunately, neither of these items could be tested as they were either eaten or discarded before this outbreak was identified.
“While we now have a likely source, what we do not know exactly is what was contaminated or how.”
The company’s statement said the “exact source of the infections has not yet been identified” and it continues to work with Alberta Health Services on its ongoing investigation.
Joffe said the province is to hire a third party to verify its work and findings.
Premier Danielle Smith said former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson would lead a panel to investigate what went wrong and make recommendations on how to make commercially prepared food safer in daycares.
Smith said the panel does not have a set timeline, but she expects to hear from him monthly and would implement interim recommendations if necessary rather than wait for the final report.
“Mr. Hanson will be joined by Alberta parents, childcare operators, food service operators, and food safety and public health experts,” said Smith.
“The panel will be examining all aspects of this tragic situation, large and small, as well as taking a full broader look at the legislation and regulations that govern food safety in our province.”
Smith said she met with parents of affected children, and a policy change they suggested was posting kitchen health inspection reports in a daycare rather than just online.
Health Minister Adriana LaGrange and Searle Turton, minister for children and family services, are already reviewing food handling in commercial daycare kitchens.
The kitchen remains closed and in recent months has been flagged for numerous health violations, including food transportation concerns.
Diana Batten, the Opposition NDP critic for childcare and child and family services, said Wednesday’s developments were a good start to getting answers.
“This will really help some of the families I’m speaking with,” she told reporters.
“However, it brings up or illustrates there’s a lot of problems inside the system. We heard Premier Smith talk about how we should trust now that the system is safe. Why? We continue to identify more concerns.”
Batten said a panel isn’t going to help solve those problems.
“It’s just spending more money and, honestly, putting a Band-Aid on what is honestly a huge public health crisis.”
The province has promised parents affected by the closures in the original 11 daycares a one-time payment of $2,000 per child to cover off financial hardship. Those facilities were closed Sept. 4 but have since reopened.
Eight more daycares faced closures or partial closures in the days that followed as secondary cases were identified.
Smith said last week that the compensation program would only be available to parents of the 11 daycares at the root of the outbreak.
Turton, however, confirmed parents affected by the later closures would also be eligible for the one-time payments, and that was the plan all along.
“The program hasn’t expanded,” said Turton.
“It’s important to note that just more daycares since the original announcement have actually become eligible for those payments.”
— With files from Dean Bennett in Edmonton
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Sept. 27, 2023.
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