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Alberta

Health Care Overhaul – Services to be provided by nurses in their own clinics

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Strengthening primary care with nurse practitioners

Alberta’s government is expanding opportunities for nurse practitioners to give Albertans greater access to a regular primary care provider when and where they need one.

Too many Albertans cannot find a regular family doctor or have trouble getting an appointment with the one they have. Alberta’s government continues to support and stabilize primary health care across the province by enabling nurse practitioners to open their own clinics, take on patients and offer services based on their scope of practice, training and expertise. Typically nurse practitioners can provide about 80 per cent of the medical services a family physician provides, and this will be reflected in the compensation model when it’s finalized.

Nurse practitioners have completed graduate studies and are regulated by the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta. Like other regulated professions, all nurse practitioners must meet minimum requirements to practise and follow standards set by their regulatory college.

“Nurse practitioners are highly trained and valued medical professionals. By enabling them to open their own clinics, we are ensuring Albertans can more easily access the care they need. This is a significant improvement in our primary health care system that will benefit patients and help improve the overall health and health outcomes of Alberta families.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

As the province enables nurse practitioners to do more of the work they are trained to do, a new compensation model will be created to encourage them to operate independently, adding much-needed capacity to Alberta’s primary care system. Nurse practitioners are extensively trained in their graduate studies to assess, diagnose, treat, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medications, make referrals to a specialist and manage a person’s overall care.

In addition, through a $2-million grant over the next three years, the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta will help to implement a compensation model, recruit other nurse practitioners to participate and provide supports as they work to set up their own clinics.

“There is no doubt about it, we need more health professionals providing primary health care to Albertans. Nurse practitioners are skilled health care professionals who play vital roles in modern health care. This model has the potential to add capacity in communities across the province and help so many Albertans gain access to a regular primary care provider.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health

The new compensation model will be phased in and is expected to launch in early 2024 when nurse practitioners who want to go into independent practice will be asked to submit expressions of interest. The model is expected to include payment for a specified number of clinical hours and other commitments, such as caring for a certain number of patients.

“The Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta is thrilled for the opportunity to support Albertans across the province in accessing a care provider in all health care environments, not just primary care. With this announcement and this grant, the association will be perfectly positioned to ensure that our members will be fully prepared to meet the needs of Albertans in both urban and rural communities. Until now, accessing a nurse practitioner has been challenging. This announcement ends those challenges. The NPAA looks forward to working with Alberta Health to get clinics open and to support NPs in being able to do the work that they are trained to do.”

Susan Prendergast, president, Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta

Nurse practitioners who opt into the compensation model will also qualify for caseload supports once their patient caseloads are established, as announced on Oct. 18. The three-year $57-million support program will help primary health care providers manage an increasing number of patients. Each provider has the potential to receive up to $10,000 annually.

“The shortage of health care professionals in rural communities has always been a challenge that required innovative solutions. The new nurse practitioner model actively addresses this need by enhancing and expanding rural health care deliveries. This new initiative will enable rural Albertans to have better access to primary health care close to home.”

Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for rural health

Alberta’s government will continue working with the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta and the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta as the compensation model is implemented.

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Alberta

Male suspect involved in tragic incident between Beaumont and Edmonton sought by police; EPS release photos of suspect

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News release from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS)

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is assisting the RCMP with the investigation into a tragic incident that claimed the life of an innocent woman last night on 50 Street.

Yesterday, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:40 p.m. various EPS resources were deployed to the area of 50 Street and 22 Avenue SW at the request of the RCMP. It was reported to police that RCMP attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a suspicious U-Haul in Beaumont, when the vehicle fled. The U-Haul subsequently travelled north on 50 Street into Edmonton, where it struck and killed a woman inspecting the exterior of her vehicle. Moments later the U-Haul came to rest just outside a gas station off of 22 Avenue and 50 Street.

After crashing the U-Haul, the male suspect then reportedly stole a Honda Civic that was parked outside the gas station with a child inside. Police did consider an Alert to the public at the time, though thankfully the child was located unharmed in the area of 66 Street and 25 Avenue minutes later. The suspect then fled the scene in the Honda Civic. The stolen vehicle has since been recovered outside of Edmonton.

The EPS and RCMP continue to actively seek the identity and whereabouts of the male suspect described as being approximately 5’11” who was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes. CCTV photos of the suspect are included below.

“We are incredibly saddened to hear about the tragic death of the innocent woman who was killed on 50 Street,” says Det. Nigel Phillips with the EPS Investigative Response Team. “Our hearts are with her family and friends who will now have to carry on with this unfathomable loss.”

“We are doing everything we can to track down the suspect and we trust the public will help us identify and locate him as soon as possible.”

Assist to identify and locate: Male suspect running in area of 50 Street & 22 Avenue SW
While the RCMP is leading this investigation, the EPS is assisting and working collaboratively with its law enforcement partners.

Anyone with information about the suspect’s identity and/or their whereabouts is asked to contact the EPS immediately at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.

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Alberta

Low emissions, Indigenous-owned Cascade Power Project to boost Alberta electrical grid reliability

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The Cascade Power Project. Photo courtesy Kinetcor

From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

New 900-megawatt natural gas-fired facility to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s power needs

Alberta’s electrical grid is about to get a boost in reliability from a major new natural gas-fired power plant owned in part by Indigenous communities.  

Next month operations are scheduled to start at the Cascade Power Project, which will have enough capacity to supply more than eight per cent of Alberta’s energy needs.  

It’s good news in a province where just over one month ago an emergency alert suddenly blared on cell phones and other electronic devices warning residents to immediately reduce electricity use to avoid outages.  

“Living in an energy-rich province, we sometimes take electricity for granted,” says Chana Martineau, CEO of the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation (AIOC) and member of the Frog Lake First Nation.  

“Given much of the province was dealing with -40C weather at the time, that alert was a vivid reminder of the importance of having a reliable electrical grid.” 

Cascade Power was the first project to receive funding through the AIOC, the provincial corporation established in 2020 to provide loan guarantees for Indigenous groups seeking partnerships in major development projects. 

So far, the AIOC has underwritten more than $500 million in support. This year it has $3 billion  available, up from $2 billion in 2023.  

In August 2020 it provided a $93 million loan guarantee to the Indigenous Communities Consortium — comprised of the Alexis Nakota Sioux NationEnoch Cree NationKehewin Cree NationOChiese First NationPaul First Nation, and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nation — to become equity owners. 

The 900-megawatt, $1.5-billion facility is scheduled to come online in March. 

“It’s personally gratifying for me to see how we moved from having Indigenous communities being seen as obstacles to partners in a generation,” says Martineau. 

The added capacity brought by Cascade is welcomed by the Alberta Electrical System Operator (AESO), which is responsible for the provinces electrical grid. =

“The AESO welcomes all new forms of generation into the Alberta marketplace, including renewables, thermal, storage, and others,” said Diane Kossman, a spokeswoman for the agency.  

“It is imperative that Alberta continue to have sufficient dispatchable generation to serve load during peak demand periods when other forms of generation are not able to contribute in a meaningful way.” 

The Cascade project also provides environmental benefits. It is a so-called “combined cycle” power facility, meaning it uses both a gas turbine and a steam turbine simultaneously to produce up to 50 per cent more electricity from the same amount of fuel than a traditional facility.  

Once complete, Cascade is expected to be the largest and most efficient combined cycle power plant in Alberta, producing 62 per cent less CO2 than a coal-fired power plant and 30 per cent less CO2 than a typical coal-to-gas conversion.  

“This project really is aligned with the goals of Indigenous communities on environmental performance,” says Martineau. 

The partnership behind the power plant includes Axium InfrastructureDIF Capital Partners  and Kineticor Resource Corp. along with the Indigenous Communities Consortium. 

The nations invested through a partnership with OPTrust, one of Canada’s largest pension funds.  

“Innovation is not just what we invest in, but it is also how we invest,” said James Davis, OPTrust’s chief investment officer. 

“The participation of six First Nations in the Cascade Power Project is a prime example of what is possible when investors, the government and local communities work together.” 

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