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Alberta

Child and Youth Advocate says Pepper Spray is used far too often in Alberta Young Offender Centres

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Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Alberta

From the office of Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate

Child and Youth Advocate releases special report on OC spray and segregation in Alberta’s young offender centres

Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate has completed a special report on oleoresin capsicum spray (OC spray, commonly referred to as pepper spray) and segregation in young offender centres.

The Advocate is making four recommendations related to reducing the use of OC spray and segregation as well as increasing accountability measures.

“Young people in custody often have complex needs and may present with difficult and challenging behaviours,” said Del Graff, Child and Youth Advocate. “It is imperative that the Young Offender Branch explores approaches to improve the health and well-being of young people while ensuring a safe environment for everyone. I sincerely hope the recommendations from this report will be quickly acted on to improve the circumstances for youth in custody.”

From January to March 2019, the OCYA received input from over 100 stakeholders through community conversations and one-to-one interviews. Young people, youth justice stakeholders, and community stakeholders shared their perspectives and experiences.

The purpose of this report is to provide advice to government related to improving the safety and well-being of young people in custody.

A copy of the report: “Care in Custody: A Special Report on OC Spray and Segregation in Alberta’s Young Offender Centres” is available on our website:

http://www.ocya.alberta.ca/adult/publications/ocya-reports/

The Child and Youth Advocate has the authority under the Child and Youth Advocate Act to complete special reports on issues impacting children and youth who are receiving designated government services. This is the Advocate’s fourth special report.

The Office of the Child and Youth Advocate is an independent office of the Legislature, representing the rights, interests and viewpoints of children and young people receiving designated government services.

Executive Summary

In 2016, the Young Offender Branch, Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, changed its policy, making it easier for correctional peace officers to use OC spray on incarcerated young people. Since then, the use of OC spray in youth justice facilities has steadily increased. By inflicting pain to control behaviour, the use of OC spray can damage relationships with youth justice staff, undermine rehabilitation efforts, and further traumatize young people.

The use of segregation in young offender centres is also a concern, as it can result in physical, psychological, and developmental harm to young people. Segregation is occurring without sufficient guidelines and safeguards to protect the well-being of young people. The current use of segregation undermines the Youth Criminal Justice Act’s (YCJA) principle of rehabilitation and reintegration. If segregation must occur for safety reasons, it should be short-term and must include meaningful interactions, mental health supports, and programming.

Further, complaints and review processes at young offender centres must be transparent and strengthened so that young people can challenge decisions without facing repercussions. They have the right to be supported through those processes by a person such as an advocate. Public reporting will also help ensure accountability and promote fair treatment of young people in custody.

Increased accountability changes behaviour and choices. Under the old policy, when the tactical team had to be called to use OC spray in youth justice facilities, it was only deployed once in approximately four years. Since correctional peace officers have been able to carry and use OC spray, it has been used on young people 60 times in the last three years. In the last four weeks of finalizing this report, OC spray was used 10 times.  This example is alarming and highlights the importance and timeliness of this report.

The treatment of young people in custody should uphold their human rights, in alignment with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).The current use of OC spray and segregation contradict the intention of the UNCRCand other United Nations rules and conventions.1 The Advocate urges the Young Offender Branch to review its policies and practices to ensure they align with the goals of its legislation and support the human rights of the young people they serve.

The Advocate is making the following four recommendations:

  1. OC spray should only be used in exceptional circumstances, if there is an imminent risk of serious physical harm to a young person or others.
  2. The Young Offender Branch should review and update their policies and standards to reduce the number of hours a young person can be segregated, ensure that they receive appropriate programming and supports, and improve conditions within segregation.
  1. The Young Offender Branch should develop an impartial complaints and review process for young people. An impartial multi-disciplinary committee that includes external stakeholders should hear complaints and reviews, and young people should have access to a supportive adult.
  2. The Young Offender Branch should monitor and publicly report all incidents of OC spray use and segregation annually.

Airdrie

Distracted driving operation results in 79 tickets in Airdrie

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February 28, 2020

Airdrie RCMP execute Distracted Driving Operation

Airdrie, Alta – Airdrie RCMP carried out a two-day distracted driving operation on February 20th and 21st, which resulted in the issuance of 79 violation tickets.

The traffic safety priority in Alberta for February is distracted driving and the goal of the operation was to spot drivers who were using cell phones while operating their motor vehicles. A covert police vehicle was used to detect these offenders, with photos of violators and detailed notes taken. Traffic stops were then initiated by other police officers who issued the violation tickets. Of the total 79 tickets issued, 45 were for distracted driving.

The Airdrie RCMP is committed to improving the safety of our roads and drivers are reminded to put away their cell phones while driving.

Read more on Todayville Calgary.

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Alberta

Province says books will be balanced again by 2022-23

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Premier Jason Kenney and Finance Minister Travis Toews present the 2020 Budget: A Plan for Jobs and the Economy.

From the Province of Alberta

Third-quarter results show the deficit has declined more than expected. With the deficit $1.2 billion lower than projected in Budget 2019, Alberta taxpayers can expect to pay $35 million less in debt-servicing costs.

Budget 2020 also provides stable funding for health, education and core social services. The budget focuses on finding cost efficiencies and creating jobs while maintaining the high-quality services Albertans expect.

“Budget 2020 continues our focus on creating jobs, growing our economy and streamlining programs and services to ensure a sustainable future. Our plan is working. We are on track to balance the budget by 2022-23 and Alberta’s surplus in that year is expected to be higher than that projected in Budget 2019. We are also maintaining funding for health and education while ensuring each dollar is wisely spent on what Albertans need most.”

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Included in Budget 2020 is A Blueprint for Jobs – the government’s plan to get Albertans back to work. It supports dynamic growth from the technology, energy, agriculture and forestry sectors and supports diversification in other key sectors through initiatives, including:

  • Improving competitiveness through further reductions in the Job Creation Tax Cut.
  • Accelerating growth-oriented projects through the capital plan to provide job opportunities for Albertans.
  • Reducing red tape in all sectors to make Alberta the best place to do business in Canada.
  • Accelerating the reclamation of “legacy sites” – including orphan wells – in ways that prioritize job creation.
  • Filling gaps in the labour market, such as increasing access to training for Class 1 drivers.

“There is no greater job for our government than getting Alberta back to work. Budget 2020 and A Blueprint for Jobs leverage the natural strengths of our province and support new opportunities for diversification, economic growth and job creation. We are putting a growth and prosperity lens on everything we do to ensure the choices we make as a government support economic growth and jobs for Albertans.”

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Budget 2020 capital plan highlights

The 2020 Capital Plan commits $6.9 billion in 2020-21 to build and maintain key infrastructure projects across the province. Over the course of the three-year fiscal plan, an estimated $772 million in new projects will be added, bringing the total capital plan to $19.3 billion. This will create opportunities for private sector participation and support more than 3,000 jobs, increasing employment by 2022. Some of the new projects include:

  • Twinning Highway 40 to facilitate economic growth and improve safety.
  • Funding to renovate the Peter Lougheed Centre to alleviate pressure on Alberta’s most-congested emergency department.
  • New funding for critical laboratory equipment needs in Edmonton and northern Alberta.
  • The Alberta Surgical Wait-Times Initiative, which will fund new operating rooms and purchase new hospital equipment. The initiative will reduce Alberta’s surgical wait times to an average of four months, funding 80,000 additional surgeries by 2022-23.
  • The launch of a new Rural Health Facilities Revitalization Program to provide infrastructure upgrades across Alberta.
  • Funding for the Red Deer Integrated Emergency Shelter for 160 new spaces for the homeless.
  • Funding for the Bow Reservoir Options project to assess the feasibility of a multi-use dam on the Bow River.

Bill 4, also tabled today, implements a fixed budget period. This provision is an amendment to the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act and aligns with a recommendation from the MacKinnon Panel.

A fixed budget period will help organizations that provide services for Albertans to better plan their own budgets. The fixed budget period means a budget must be released each year in the month of February.

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february, 2020

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG(january 12) 2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

sun02feb(feb 2)7:00 pmsun15mar(mar 15)8:00 pm7:00 pm - (march 15) 8:00 pm Festival Hall, 4214 58 St, Red Deer, AB Event Organized By: Country Pride Dance Club

fri28febsun01mar54th Annual Sport & Outdoor Show4:00 pm - (march 1) 9:00 pm

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