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Alberta

Province spending $36 million to free up hospital space for Covid patients

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More funding to increase health-care capacity

Up to $36 million in new funding will improve wages and create additional workforce capacity to allow more Albertans to receive care outside of hospitals and free up resources to treat COVID-19 patients during the fourth wave.

Improving home care and facility-based continuing care will mean more Albertans will get the care they need in their homes and communities. This will help reduce pressure on all parts of the health-care system, namely acute care, during a time when hospitalizations are increasing due to COVID-19.

More than 400 Albertans are currently waiting in hospitals to move into continuing care facilities, with many more waiting to return to their homes outside of facility-based care with the support of home care services.

“We know that home care agencies are experiencing staffing challenges. Increasing the pool of available staff will mean we can move additional patients from hospitals to their homes when it is safe to do so. This is a benefit to patients who would rather get the care they need in the comfort of their own homes. It also benefits hospitals as they manage the increasing number of patients who need beds because of COVID-19 complications.”

Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

“Supporting home care agencies recruit and retain staff will enable more patients to receive high-quality care in their homes, improving capacity in our hospitals and allowing more patients to stay close to their loved ones.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

Wage increases for health-care aides

Contracted home care agencies will receive $22 million over two years in additional funding to provide wage increases to their certified health-care aides. The additional funding will provide a pay increase of $2 an hour for the next 13 months for health-care aides working in home care agencies contracted with Alberta Health Services. The purpose of providing this increase in funding rates is to help retain current and recruit additional staff, which will allow more Albertans to be cared for in their own homes. There are currently hundreds of vacant health-care aide positions in the home care system.

Alberta Health Services is also increasing home care hours authorized for agencies; the funding increase will help the agencies meet these hours. This supports the shift to more care in the community, as recommended in the facility-based continuing care review.

Expanding the home care workforce

An additional $14 million is being provided to expand workforce capacity to support home care and continuing care facilities on a short-term basis until March 31, 2022. There is a need to be able to respond quickly to new health system pressures arising from COVID-19. Similar to the comfort care aide program that provided a staffing pool for continuing care facilities, this additional funding will support a variety of innovative approaches to mobilize existing or new staff to where they are most needed for short periods of time.

“The Alberta Continuing Care Association welcomes this additional funding to improve Alberta’s continuing care system as a whole. Our members provide care and services for over 13,000 individuals in long-term care and designated supportive living settings and over 5.2 million hours of home care to Albertans.”

Salimah Walji-Shivji, chair, Alberta Continuing Care Association

“Our caregivers provide exceptional client-focused home support services and go the extra mile to make our clients feel special, comfortable and safe. This additional funding will help to sustain the home care sector and our dedicated staff who deliver high-quality care to Albertans every day.”

Daren Farnel, area director, Bayshore Home Care Solutions

“We thank the Alberta government for their recognition and support of the ever-important work our home care health-care aides provide to keep our clients safe and well in their homes. This announcement is a positive step forward to developing a sustainable funding model to make home care a desirable career choice.”

Sylvie Beauchamp, vice-president, Alberta Home Health Services, CBI Health

Quick facts

  • A Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) study found that a growing number of seniors in Canada could have been supported in their homes through home care, helping to delay or avoid admission to continuing care residences.
  • There are more than 132,000 Albertans who receive home care services annually and nearly 28,000 Albertans residing in continuing care facilities.
  • The $22 million for the health-care aide wage increase will be provided over two years; $12 million in 2021-22 and $10 million in 2022-23.
  • The home care aide salary increase is for staff working in contracted home care agencies. This increase does not apply to Alberta Health Services or Covenant Health home care staff.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

CPL Roundup: Cavalry extends undefeated streak with 2-1 win over Pacific

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CALGARY — Cavalry FC kept its spot atop the Canadian Premier League standings with a 2-1 win over Pacific FC on Thursday. 

Daan Klomp opened the scoring for Cavalry (12-5-8) in the 6th minute and David Norman Jr. doubled the lead with a goal in the 71st. 

Sean Young scored in the 89th for Pacific, who sit in second spot with a 12-7-6 record.

Pacific’s Callum Irving stopped two of the four shots he faced while Cavalry ‘keeper Marco Carducci conceded the lone on-target shot the visitors managed across 90 minutes of play. 

Cavalry is undefeated in six outings, with a 3-3-0 record across the stretch. 

Each side has three games to play in the regular-season schedule. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2021. 

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Regulator lays charges against Tidewater Midstream for acidic water release

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CALGARY — The Alberta Energy Regulator has laid charges against Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. for a release of acidic water in west-central Alberta.

The regulator says the release occurred in Oct. 2019 at Tidewater’s Ram River sour gas processing plant near Rocky Mountain House. 

It says the acidic water flowed into a nearby creek.

Calgary-based Tidewater has been charged with 10 violations under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, including releasing a substance to the environment that caused or may have caused an adverse effect. 

The regulator also alleges that Tidewater failed to report the release of the acidic water as soon as possible, and failed to take all reasonable measures to repair and remedy the spill.

Tidewater is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 8 in Rocky Mountain House.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published October 21, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TWM)

The Canadian Press

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