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Alberta

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

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith promises bill protecting rights to refuse vaccines is coming

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The plan is to introduce an amended Bill of Rights this fall that includes protections for individuals’ personal medical decisions.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has promised that the province’s Bill of Rights will be amended this fall so that there are protections added for people’s personal medical decisions that most likely will include one having the right to refuse a vaccine.

Smith’s promise to add protections for personal choice on vaccinations comes because of the COVID jab mandates put in place for a time in Alberta under former Premier Jason Kenney.

Speaking to Albertans at a recent town hall in Bonnyville, Smith said that the COVID crisis resulted in many people being discriminated against for their own medical decisions and that “it shouldn’t have happened.”

Smith, who leads the United Conservative Party (UCP), said that she believes “every person has to be able to do their own assessment, their own health assessment, to be able to make those decisions.”

The original plan by Smith was to add protections for one’s vaccine status directly Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA). However, this plan was nixed after she was advised by Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel chair Preston Manning that this was not the right legislation for an additional protection.

Instead, Smith promised that a better “law” dealing directly with vaccine status will be forthcoming.

On Monday, Smith confirmed on X that an updated version of the Bill of Rights is coming.

“It’s time. Let’s get this done,” she wrote.

Last year, Smith, as reported by LifeSiteNews, promised to enshrine into “law” protections for people in her province who choose not to be vaccinated as well as strengthen gun rights and safeguard free speech by beefing up the provincial Bill of Rights.

On Smith’s first day on the job and only minutes after being sworn in, she said that during the COVID years the “unvaccinated” were the “most discriminated against” group of people in her lifetime.

She took over from Kenney as leader of the UCP on October 11, 2022, after winning the party leadership. The UCP then won a general election in May 2023. Kenney was ousted due to low approval ratings and for reneging on promises not to lock Alberta down during COVID.

Smith promptly fired the province’s top doctor, Deena Hinshaw, and the entire Alberta Health Services 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.

While Smith has not said much regarding the COVID shots since taking office, she has allowed her caucus members to have broad views when it comes to known safety issues related to the jabs.

UCP MLA Eric Bouchard hosted a sold-out event titled “An Injection of Truth” that featured prominent doctors and experts speaking out against COVID vaccines and mandates.

“Injection of Truth” included well-known speakers critical of COVID mandates and the shots, including Dr. Byram BridleDr. William Makis, canceled doctor Mark Trozzi and pediatric neurologist Eric Payne.

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government and all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under Kenney being no exception.

The mRNA shots have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

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Alberta

Scotia Place – Calgary unveils design for new arena / events centre

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News release from the City of Calgary

Scotia Place, Calgary’s new event centre, designed as a place for community where there is room for everyone

The City of Calgary and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC) are excited to reveal the design for Calgary’s new event centre – formally named Scotia Place.

The design is influenced by the ancestral and historical land of Indigenous Peoples and the culturally significant site that embodies our shared purpose – to gather. It brings together Indigenous cultural perspectives with Calgary’s and the region’s natural beauty, reflecting the four elements of nature – fire, ice, land and air.

A striking feature of the building is the central structure with a textured flame motif that emulates a home fire, which is further amplified when it is lit at night. The home fire, a place of warmth and energy that brings people together to share stories of the past and create stories for the future, rises from the white, glacial-like forms that define the lower parts of the building.

“When you consider that Calgary is already the envy of other cities with a new world-class convention centre in the heart of the Culture + Entertainment District, the addition of Scotia Place is another signal to investors that our city understands how to build a future that leverages hospitality and hosting as its core strengths,” says Mayor Jyoti Gondek. “We are also acknowledging and honouring the foundational role that Indigenous communities have played for generations in making Calgary, and now Scotia Place, a space where we all belong.”

Scotia Place, which is scheduled to open in fall 2027, celebrates the area’s importance as a place for all and will be a landmark attraction in Calgary’s emerging Culture + Entertainment District. More than a building, however, the 10-acre city block is designed for community and connection and includes a community rink, outdoor and indoor plazas spaces, four restaurants, the Calgary Flames Team Store, and future development opportunity in the northeast corner. It will provide gathering places and amenities for the 8,000 people who will live in this new downtown neighbourhood.

“Calgary has a long history of hosting world-class events, drawing millions of visitors to the city each year, generating revenue for local businesses, and boosting the economy,” says Danielle Smith, Premier of the Province of Alberta. “With construction on the Calgary Rivers District and Event Centre now underway, Calgary is one step closer to a revitalized downtown that will bring new energy into the city, attract more exciting events, and create jobs to improve the quality of life for Calgarians.”

A development permit application for the facility was submitted on July 19, 2024. This was a significant milestone for the project team, consisting of CAA ICON, HOK-DIALOG, and CANA/Mortenson. People interested in following or commenting on the permit can find the application at Calgary.ca/dmap. The application is expected to be heard by the Calgary Planning Commission by end of 2024.

“This is an important day for Calgary,” says Councillor Sonya Sharp, Event Centre Committee Chair. “Today is about so much more than the designs of a building. Today is the unveiling of a place where Calgarians and visitors from around the world will make memories at concerts, and sport and community events. I hope that everyone is as excited as we are, knowing that Scotia Place will become the complete experience in our new Culture & Entertainment District.”

“At CSEC, a key component of our mission is to be the heartbeat of our community, create connections and bring people together,” said Robert Hayes, CSEC President and CEO. “Scotia Place will become the perfect home to achieve and share this mission with all Calgarians. Seeing the design brings the vision of so many contributors to life. We are especially thankful to the City of Calgary and the Province of Alberta for their leadership and support to help bring us to this point. In stride with our partner Scotiabank, we are very proud to play our role in presenting Scotia Place as the culmination of diligence and passion, that is now visual in this breathtakingly beautiful and meaningful facility.”

“For years we have seen firsthand the value these partnerships bring to the communities in which we operate and for our clients,” said Aris Bogdaneris, Group Head, Canadian Banking of Scotiabank. “Scotia Place introduces a bold new vision for what will be Alberta’s premier sports and entertainment venue. For nearly 20 years, Scotiabank has been a proud partner of Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation and together, we are committed to bring fans and our clients an unforgettable experience when they walk through the doors of Scotia Place.”

“We are excited to start the construction of the critical infrastructure needed to build thousands of new homes and to make the Calgary’s new Culture + Entertainment district a reality,” says Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors. “Albertans expect basic infrastructure to be maintained and improved and this commitment from the province goes a long way in helping Calgary build these projects.”

Acknowledging the significance of the building’s location at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers on the ancestral land of the Treaty 7 Peoples and the Metis Nation, The City, CSEC, HOK-DIALOG and CAA ICON worked with an Indigenous Advisory Group that included representatives from the Treaty 7 Nations, the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, and the Urban Indigenous community throughout the design process.

“It was great to be part of a truly representative voice that included all indigenous peoples of southern Alberta regarding the design of this center acknowledging the historic significance of the land it sits on to the Metis people,” said Carmen Lasante Captain of the Calgary Elbow Metis District. “Inclusivity is a core part of who the Metis are. The City has worked hard to include many diverse histories together in creating this space.”

“Engaging in the right way is fundamental to the success of relationship development with the Indigenous communities, as we have played a critical role in the identity of the land now known as the city of Calgary as the Indigenous nations are inextricable linked to the landscape and environment,” says Ira Provost, Piikani Nation Consultation

A key theme heard often during the Indigenous engagement sessions was “Come in, there is room”, making it clear that Scotia Place needs to be a place that is designed for all.

The public plazas are designed to honour the deep-rooted connection that Indigenous Peoples have with the land, incorporating representations of the tipi, Métis Trapper’s Tent, and elements of Alberta’s world-renown natural landscape.

An important design decision was to lower the event and ice surface so that the primary concourse will be at street-level. Calgarians and visitors will be able to move seamlessly between the curb, the primary concourse and the outdoor public plazas.

“We at DIALOG are thrilled to join forces with HOK and combine our unique expertise to transform Calgary’s Event Centre into the catalyst for a dynamic new urban community,” says Doug Cinnamon, Partner Architect at DIALOG.

“Other design principles including public realm activation, the integration of indigenous influences, public art & storytelling, sustainability, and a balance between past, present, and future is central to our vision. The ultimate goal is to ensure seamless accessibility, promote mixed uses, and create vibrant public areas for everyone to enjoy. This joint redesign represents an opportunity to spur investment into the area and enhance its cultural vitality, anchoring Calgary’s position as a thriving, bustling community hub.”

Scotia Place is a generational investment in Calgary’s emerging vibrant Culture + Entertainment District. A modern event centre with universal accessible design throughout and with energy and water conservation built in to maximize efficiencies and the ability to be net-zero by 2050, Scotia place is designed to serve Calgary’s growing community for decades to come.

Construction begins this week. Additional information about Scotia Place including design renderings, a video, and frequently asked questions is available on Calgary.ca/ScotiaPlace.

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