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Alberta

Province removes cost for residential addiction treatment

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From the Province of Alberta

Removing financial barriers to addiction treatment

Alberta’s government has eliminated user fees for all Albertans accessing publicly funded addiction treatment beds.

Historically, Albertans were charged a $40 per day user fee for residential addiction treatment, often paid for privately or covered by Alberta Supports. This change, for example, would save patients participating in 60-day publicly funded residential addiction treatment roughly $2,400 that they would have paid out of pocket.

This cost prohibited many Albertans from accessing residential addiction treatment, including students, senior citizens, and people in the workforce who make too much to qualify for Income Support, but not enough to pay privately.

“For the first time in Alberta’s history, publicly funded addiction treatment will be extended to all Albertans. Previously, people struggling with addiction could only access residential addiction treatment if they received Alberta Supports or paid privately. We are giving all Albertans – regardless of their financial situation – the opportunity to recover and build a better life. Recovery is for everyone.”

Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

This change drastically expands access to residential addiction treatment for all Albertans, transforming the system to make treatment accessible to everyone.

“It’s hard to see people who need treatment have to make difficult decisions about how to pay for it. Improving access so that people can get the help they need, without worrying about the financial cost, will change people’s lives, especially during a time of economic uncertainty. This will help Albertans get the support they need now and into the future.”

Kim Turgeon, executive director, Aventa

“Over the years that PEP has supported family recovery, we have heard numerous stories of life-time savings being depleted and homes being re-mortgaged to provide for a loved one’s step into treatment and recovery. The financial strain also impacts the family’s health and wellness in too many ways to mention. The magnitude of this shift in access and support to Albertans is huge.”

Lerena Greig, executive director, Parents Empowering Parents (PEP) Society

In lieu of requiring user fees from Albertans, the Alberta government has introduced a new standardized funding program for licensed agencies providing publicly funded addiction treatment services. This will result in better outcomes for Albertans as well as more consistent and stable funding for operators.

Albertans struggling with addiction can contact the Addiction Helpline at 1-866-332-2322 for support, information and referral to services. The toll-free, confidential helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Quick facts

  • The elimination of user fees applies only to Albertans accessing publicly funded addiction treatment beds.
  • The RATA supports were accessed by clients in the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and Income Support programs.
  • The RATA benefit was previously accessed by about 200 AISH and 2,500 Income Support clients each year.
  • In 2019, Alberta’s government licensed all treatment providers under the Mental Health Services Protection Act.
  • Last year, the provincial government announced $140 million over four years to enhance the mental health and addiction care system and treat 4,000 more individuals.
  • Alberta’s Recovery Plan provides a total of $25 million in capital funding to build five recovery communities across the province. The five recovery communities will add 400 publicly funded treatment beds to the province, which will have the potential to help more than 3,200 Albertans over two years.

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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