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Alberta

Complete overhaul of rural policing in Alberta! Province adding 500 RCMP officers and support staff

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6 minute read

Doug Schweitzer

Justice Minister and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer shakes hands with an RCMP officer in Leduc County.

Historic investment in rural policing

Alberta is adding more than 500 RCMP positions in rural communities across the province and fostering new public safety partnership with municipalities.

The Government of Alberta’s new police funding model will inject more than $286 million over five years into frontline law enforcement for these additional RCMP officer and civilian positions. This new cost-sharing partnership will see small and rural communities begin to pay a portion of frontline policing costs, bringing them into line with larger communities and cities.

Under the cost-sharing terms in the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), Alberta pays 70 per cent of policing costs and the federal government covers the remaining 30 per cent. With the additional investment from municipalities, the federal share of the PPSA will increase as well. This partnership will constitute a total increase in rural police funding of more than $286 million over five years with every dollar of the additional funds invested in frontline policing.

The province is creating a new Alberta Police Advisory Board, where municipal leadership will have a seat at the table, working in collaboration with law enforcement to ensure local needs are heard and implemented. This new governance mechanism will ensure that policing is in line with the priorities of those they are protecting.

“Ensuring Albertans are safe, secure, and protected in their communities goes to the heart of who we are as a government. We want to ensure we fund law enforcement in an equitable and sustainable way that will ensure we have more police in our communities. With this new police funding model, we are making the single largest investment in rural policing since the March West and delivering on our promise to enhance public safety.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Crime affects many in my own rural community, and it is an issue that is incredibly personal to me. All Albertans deserve to feel safe in their own homes and confident that they will not fall victim to violent or property crime. This new police funding model will provide increased security and certainty for rural Albertans, and value for taxpayer dollars.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“The Government of Alberta has made an unprecedented investment in their police service, and we are ready to deliver on that commitment. The funding model announced will allow the Alberta RCMP to put additional resources where they are needed most immediately – on the frontline in your detachments, protecting your backyards and your farmyards, pushing back crime in a sophisticated and focused manner.”

Curtis Zablocki, Deputy Commissioner, RCMP

“Rural Municipalities of Alberta appreciates the Government of Alberta’s willingness to consult on this issue, and as a result of input from RMA and rural municipalities, implement a phased-in police-costing model. Rural crime has been an ongoing issue in Alberta in recent years, and rural municipalities recognize they need to share in the costs of the solutions to support safer communities.”

Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

“AUMA has long advocated for a more equitable police-funding model to address RCMP vacancies and the rising costs of policing while improving community safety. We’re pleased to see action on this critical priority by the provincial government, as safe and healthy municipalities build strong communities and a stronger Alberta. Further consultation is critical to supporting local governments with the policing resources they need, and we look forward to actively contributing to the Alberta Police Advisory Board.”

Barry Morishita, president, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association

This partnership places priority on adding uniformed patrol officers in rural RCMP detachments, increasing the total number from under 1,600 to about 1,900, and will also add members to specialized RCMP units that dismantle organized crime and drug trafficking and investigate auto and scrap metal theft.

Furthermore, the new civilian positions will assist with administrative tasks and investigative support to increase response times and help ensure officers have the support network they need to protect Albertans by spending more time on roads and in communities.

Quick facts

  • Small and rural communities, with some exceptions, will begin contributing a portion of their frontline policing costs in 2020. To give communities time to adjust, the new funding model is being phased in: communities will contribute 10 per cent of policing costs in 2020, followed by 15 per cent in 2021, 20 per cent in 2022 and 30 per cent in 2023.
  • Policing costs for each community will be determined by municipal tax base (as measured by equalized assessment) and population to calculate a base cost. Communities will also be eligible for other subsidies that consider other factors that may affect local policing costs.
  • Current annual PPSA amount, 2019-20 (prior to new police funding partnership): $374.8 million
  • Government of Alberta contribution: $262.4 million
  • Government of Canada contribution: $112.4 million
  • Additional investments to current PPSA to April 1, 2024 will be: $286,605,021
    • Government of Alberta contribution: $200,623,515
    • Government of Canada contribution: $85,981,506
  • All additional investments will go towards more frontline resources.

After 15 years as a TV reporter with Global and CBC and as news director of RDTV in Red Deer, Duane set out on his own 2008 as a visual storyteller. During this period, he became fascinated with a burgeoning online world and how it could better serve local communities. This fascination led to Todayville, launched in 2016.

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Alberta

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

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EDMONTON — Michael Hutchinson earned his sixth career shutout, and the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 on Monday. 

Hutchinson stopped all 31 of the shots he faced as the Leafs (17-4-2) shutdown Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and their teammates for a second straight game.

Toronto also blanked Edmonton 4-0 on Saturday with Jack Campbell in net.

Morgan Rielly and WIlliam Nylander had a goal and an assist apiece Monday, while Zach Hyman also scored for the NHL’s top team.

Oilers (14-10-0) goalie Mikko Koskinen allowed three goals on 10 shots before being replaced by Mike Smith to start the second period. Smith had 13 saves in relief.

Toronto was without Auston Matthews for a second straight game as the team’s star centre recovers from a wrist injury. 

Matthews — who has 31 points (18 goals, 13 assists) on the season — is travelling with the team and took part in an optional skate with his teammates on Monday. 

Toronto’s first shot of the night didn’t come until 7:19 into the first period, but it was worth the wait as Rielly put a pass on Hyman’s tape and the forward sent a nifty backhanded shot past Koskinen to give the Leafs a 1-0 lead. 

Three minutes later, Nylander collected the puck off a faceoff and streaked deep into the Edmonton zone. He sailed a backhander over Koskinen’s glove and into the top-left corner of the net. 

A power-play strike rounded out the first-period scoring after Edmonton’s Adam Larsson was called for hooking. 

Rielly uncorked a blast from near the blue line and, while Koskinen got a piece of it, he couldn’t control the puck and it dribbled through his legs and over the goal line, giving Toronto a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. 

The Leafs came into the game with the league’s top-ranked power play, having capitalized on 32.4 per cent of their chances with the man advantage. 

Toronto was 1 for 4 on the power play Monday. Edmonton failed to capitalize on any of its four chances.

The Oilers had ample opportunities to claw out a goal in the third period, outshooting the Leafs 13-8 across the frame, but couldn’t beat Hutchinson.

The 31-year-old goalie’s last shutout came on Jan. 4, 2020, when he led Toronto to a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. 

The Leafs and Oilers will wrap up a three-game series in Edmonton on Wednesday. 

NOTES: Earlier on Monday, the Oilers claimed goalie Alex Stalock off waivers from the Minnesota Wild. … Toronto defenceman Jake Muzzin played in the 600th game of his NHL career. … The Leafs have never lost at Edmonton’s Rogers Place during regulation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta flexes COVID-19 rules for gyms, libraries, delays other reopenings

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EDMONTON — Alberta is lifting more economic restrictions tied to COVID-19 while delaying others.

Premier Jason Kenney says low intensity group activities, such as Pilates, can resume in fitness centres, and libraries can open at 15 per cent capacity.

But he says loosening measures for retail shops, hotels and community centres can’t happen yet.

“While our hospitalizations are dropping … active cases have levelled off recently. And the testing positivity rate has risen a bit,” he told a news conference Monday.

“We have also observed a small increase in the daily number of new variant cases and that is worrisome too.

“That is why we have to proceed cautiously while still moving forward.”

This is Stage 2 of a four-stage plan to reopen the economy announced by Kenney a month ago.

In Stage 1, restaurants were able to reopen for dine-in service, gyms were allowed to resume one-on-one fitness training and some restrictions were lifted on youth sports.

Some medical experts, including the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Association, warned the province last week against further loosening public-health measures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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march, 2021

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