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Alberta

Coming soon to a street near you…. “Constable Scarecrow”

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From Lloydminster RCMP

Lloydminster RCMP introduces traffic safety initiative

The City of Lloydminster, in partnership with the Lloydminster RCMP Detachment, will be introducing a new traffic safety program starting in May 2019.

The “Constable Scarecrow” project originated in Coquitlam, B.C., last year. Since the program’s inception, Coquitlam RCMP reported the number of drivers exceeding the speed limit was reduced by approximately 50 percent.

The program will include a full-sized metal cut-out of a uniformed RCMP officer which will be placed in strategic locations around the city. These new Constables will be visible next to roadways in high traffic and high collision areas.

“We are excited about the collaboration with the City of Lloydminster. This initiative is a positive step to enhance road safety,” says Inspector Lee Brachmann, Lloydminster RCMP Detachment Commander. “Hopefully we will see a reduction in the number of violations found on the roads.”

Traffic enforcement is integral to reduce collisions. In 2016, 85% of collisions in Alberta involved at least one driver who committed a driving error.

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Alberta

CWB Financial reports Q2 profit down as provisions for credit losses soar

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EDMONTON — CWB Financial Group reported its second-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago as the economy tanked due to the steps taken to slow the COVID-19 pandemic and its provisions for credit losses more than doubled.

The Edmonton-based company says its provisions for credit losses for the quarter ended April 30 totalled $34.9 million, up from $15.2 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The increase came as CWB reported a second-quarter profit attributable to common shareholders of $51.4 million or 59 cents per diluted share, down from $62 million or 71 cents per diluted share a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, CWB says its cash earnings per share for the quarter amounted to 60 cents compared with 74 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 50 cents per share for the most recent quarter, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Chief executive Chris Fowler says the moves the company has taken over the last decade to strengthen and diversify its business have allowed it to face this crisis from a position of stability and confidence.

“The deteriorating economic and financial market conditions put pressure on our operating results, particularly on the estimated provision for credit losses on performing loans and net interest income,” Fowler said in a statement.

“While our estimated provision for credit losses on performing loans increased this quarter based on an adverse shift in macroeconomic forecasts, we continue to see the benefit from our strategic actions over many years to diversify our loan portfolio.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CWB)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

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EDMONTON — The Alberta government is proposing to change the rules on charter schools and home-schooling.

Bill 15 introduced Thursday would allow a group seeking to establish a new charter school to bypass the local school board and apply directly to the government.

“The Choice in Education Act will protect and expand student access to the full range of schooling options while strengthening parents’ rights as primary decision makers in choosing their kids’ education,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

“The bill also reduces red tape for the creation of new charter schools including vocation-focused charter schools.

“We are paving the way to reinvent the vocational high school because we believe as Albertans that practical and experiential learning like vocational learning can prepare young people for fulfilling lifetime careers.”

Charter schools are independently run, non-profit public schools that provide education in a different or enhanced way, such as an all-girls school or a school for the academically gifted.

Alberta has 13 charter schools, most in Edmonton and Calgary.

Kenney’s government lifted the long-standing cap on charter schools last year.

The bill would also allow unsupervised, unfunded home-schooling. Home-schooling parents would have to submit a plan to achieve an acceptable appropriate level of learning outcomes.

NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman said the bill misses the mark and furthers a government agenda to bleed resources from public schools.

“What Alberta parents are telling me they want is a properly funded education system with a modern curriculum and with no barriers to education,” said Hoffman.

Jason Schilling, head of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, said the legislation doesn’t do much to improve school for most students but said he is pleased the bill doesn’t introduce a voucher system for private schools.

“Parents in Alberta already have significant choice, and the vast majority choose public education,” said Schilling.

“In Alberta, public education includes schools in public, separate and francophone school divisions; 93 per cent of Alberta’s students attend those schools. We believe that parents and teachers want to see those students supported most.”

On home-schooling, Schilling said, “unsupervised home education should be a concern to all Albertans. A child’s right to a quality education must not be sacrificed in the name of parental choice.”

If passed, the bill would take effect Sept. 1.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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may, 2020

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