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Alberta

Provincial government says photo radar a cash grab.. changes coming

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3 minute read

Minister Mason announces changes to photo radar

From the Province of Alberta

Photo radar must focus on safety

An independent third-party review of photo radar operations in Alberta shows that it has a marginal contribution to traffic safety across the province. Changes to the provincial guidelines governing the use of the devices will enhance transparency, increase oversight and enshrine the principle that photo radar can be used only to improve road safety.

“Our goal is to eliminate photo radar as a tool for revenue generation. Photo radar operations must contribute to significant traffic safety outcomes, like reducing collisions and saving lives. We are updating the provincial photo radar guidelines to provide the direction and clarity that municipalities and police agencies need in order to focus on safety.”

Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation

The independent review shows that the photo radar guidelines need to produce better data to demonstrate how photo radar contributes to traffic safety. The guideline changes will:

  • Improve accountability by clarifying roles and responsibilities for photo radar programs.
  • Require municipal Traffic Safety Plans to use collision data to ensure photo radar programs are directly tied to safety. The plans will be audited by the provincial government to ensure compliance.
  • Require police services and/or municipalities to post and update photo radar locations and their rationale on municipal/police websites every month (links will be provided on Alberta.ca/photoradar).
  • Prohibit the use of photo radar in transition zones (i.e. adjacent to speed limit signs where speed limits change).
  • Prohibit the use of photo radar on high-speed multi-lane roadways, unless there is a documented traffic safety issue.
  • Require annual reporting and evaluation of how photo radar programs are achieving traffic safety outcomes.

Conventional traffic enforcement, such as police patrolling or scanning traffic with radar, is still allowed in locations where automated enforcement is prohibited. Radar is also still allowed in school zones, playground zones and construction zones.

Over the next year, government will work with municipalities to implement guideline changes, allowing enough time for municipalities to adapt. Government will work with municipalities to refine the guidelines for photo radar site selection, operational restrictions and data collection that will allow for improved and ongoing program evaluation.

Quick facts

  • Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE), commonly referred to as photo radar, is prohibited on provincial highways. It can be used only on sections of highway that pass through municipal boundaries.
  • Currently, 27 municipalities in Alberta are using photo radar programs within their jurisdictions.
  • The existing photo radar guidelines have been in effect since 2014.
  • The independent third-party review found that:
    • More and better data is required from municipalities to justify the use of photo radar and to demonstrate how photo radar contributes to traffic safety.
    • Over a 10-year period, photo radar has been directly responsible for a:
      • 1.4 per cent decrease in collision rates
      • 5.3 per cent reduction in the proportion of fatal collisions

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

Alberta's new proof-of-vaccination cards can be easily edited, residents say

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EDMONTON — Albertans needing proof they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 were able to download cards from the province’s website on Sunday, but almost right away some residents said they were easily able to edit them.

Dan Shugar, who lives in Calgary, says the card was in a PDF file which he was able to edit to say his name was “Fakus McFakeFace” and that he’d received doses of “Ivermectin Horsey Paste” and “Bleach.”

He says all of the fields could be edited and making changes was “mindbogglingly easy.”

The government announced the availability of the cards in a news release on Sunday, a day before its “restrictions exemption program” launches.

The program allows businesses and venues to operate without capacity limits and other public health measures if they require proof of vaccination or a negative test result from anyone entering.

Health ministry spokeswoman Amanda Krumins acknowledges in an email that “a motivated individual” can edit the PDF, but that “work continues on a more secure QR code that will be available in the coming weeks.”

“It’s important to point out that falsifying a health record is an offense under (the) Health Information Act,” Krumins wrote.

“That said, we know the vast majority of Albertans will use the system properly and adhere to the legal requirements set out in the current public health orders.”

Premier Jason Kenney had opposed a vaccine passport over what he said were privacy concerns, but said last week it has become a necessary measure to protect Alberta’s hospitals that face the prospect of being overwhelmed in the pandemic’s fourth wave.

Kenney said in a Facebook live video on Thursday night that since he announced the passport system, COVID-19 vaccine bookings have nearly tripled in the province.

Many people, however, reported difficulty in obtaining the required proof they’d been vaccinated in the days that followed the announcement.

Prior to the cards becoming available on Sunday, Albertans had the option of either showing sheets of paper they’d received when they got their shots, or signing up for a system that would allow them to view their vaccine records online. 

The latter option required many people to sign up for a digital ID, and people who tried said they faced long, frustrating delays due to the system being overwhelmed.

The province says the new cards can be downloaded with an Alberta Health number, without the need for creating an online account and with minimal or no wait time.

It says Albertans will still be able to use their existing immunization records, including those received at their vaccination. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2021.

Rob Drinkwater, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Edmonton Police Service investigating suspicious death case

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EDMONTON — The Edmonton Police Service says it is investigating a suspicious death that occurred Saturday evening.

Police say that just after 6 p.m. they received a report of an assault with a weapon in the area of 104 Avenue and 95 Street.

Officers responding to the call found a man with serious injuries.

Police say the officers rendered first-aid but the man died at the scene.

The name of the deceased was not immediately released, and cause of death has yet to be determined.

Investigators are asking anyone who may have witnessed an assault in the area to contact them.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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