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Alberta

Alberta Chambers of Commerce calls on Province to reopen business

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From the Alberta Chambers of Commerce

ACC calls on government to safely reopen shuttered businesses

Ten months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce is calling on the Alberta government to find ways to safely reopen closed businesses wherever possible. The call comes after Premier Jason Kenney announced last week that current COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place for at least another two weeks.

“Our position has always been—and will continue to be—that Alberta’s government take action informed by the advice of the chief medical officer of health,” says ACC President and CEO Ken Kobly. “At the same time, we’re nearly a year into this pandemic and many businesses have been forced to endure months of shutdowns. This is simply not a sustainable situation for our job creators or our provincial economy.”

Kobly says that there have been success stories of government working with industry to facilitate limited reopening, pointing to new guidelines that have allowed Alberta registered massage therapists to resume work under certain guidelines as an example.

“As I’ve said many times before, public health is and must continue to be our number one priority. And we’ve seen examples of government and industry coming together to find safer ways for Alberta business to operate,” says Kobly. “Albertans are keen to get back to work. Unfortunately, the more time that goes on, the less likely that becomes. Time is of the essence to find ways to safely keep our economy going.”

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Alberta

Alberta announces next phase of COVID vaccinations, doses for about 437,000 residents

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says 437,000 people can soon begin booking appointments for the next round of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Tyler Shandro says those aged 65 to 74 and First Nations, Inuit and Metis people aged 50-plus can begin booking March 15.  

The province has been able to accelerate vaccinations due to a third one being approved by Health Canada, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Shandro says the first 58,000 doses of AstraZeneca will available starting March 10.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has said while AstraZeneca is just as effective as the others, due to incomplete data it recommends it not be given to those over 64.

Shandro says for that reason, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be offered to adults 50 to 64 who don’t have a severe chronic illness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Parkland blames pandemic as Q4 profits and revenue slide on lower fuel sales

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CALGARY — Parkland Corp. is reporting lower fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as affects of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns continue to erode fuel sales.

The Calgary-based convenience store operator and fuel retailer says it had net earnings of $53 million in the last three months of 2020 on revenue of $3.47 billion, down from $176 million on revenue of $4.78 billion in the same period of 2019.

It says it sold 5.4 billion litres of fuel and petroleum products in the fourth quarter, a decrease of seven per cent compared with the year-earlier period.

It says lower volumes were offset by strong per unit fuel profit margins in Canada and in its international operations, as well as robust company convenience store same-store sales growth in Canada of around eight per cent and a healthy 90 per cent utilization of its Burnaby, B.C., refinery.

Parkland says it will hike its dividend by two per cent, its ninth consecutive annual increase.

The company says it plans growth capital spending of between $175 million and $275 million in 2021, along with between $225 million and $275 million in maintenance capital spending, including about $40 million of work deferred from 2020.

“In 2021, we will strengthen our customer offerings and continue our organic growth initiatives, advance our disciplined acquisition strategy and deepen our commitment to providing customers with low-carbon fuel choices as part of our broader sustainability efforts,” said CEO Bob Espey.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:PKI)

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