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Federal and Provincial governments to spend $400 million to clean up Alberta oil and gas sites, create thousands of jobs

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Funds target cleanup on Indigenous oil and gas sites

Two new rounds of the Site Rehabilitation Program will provide $400 million to create thousands of jobs for Albertans while completing significant environmental cleanup across the province – including on First Nations reserves and Metis Settlements.

The governments of Alberta and Canada are advancing their commitment to ensure Indigenous businesses and communities play a meaningful role in Alberta’s post-pandemic energy strategy by targeting $100 million of federal Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP) grant funding to clean up inactive oil and gas sites in Indigenous communities across Alberta.

Alberta’s government worked with Indigenous communities, Indigenous businesses, the Indian Resource Council and the Metis Settlements General Council to develop the details of this grant allotment, which includes $85 million for First Nations reserves and $15 million for Metis Settlements to work with licensees to close sites located on or around their lands.

“The Site Rehabilitation Program is cleaning up legacy oil and gas sites across the province and creating thousands of much-needed jobs. As stewards of the land, this funding will ensure that Indigenous people benefit from resource development on land that was first inhabited by their ancestors.”

Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy

“Working with Minister Savage and the Government of Alberta, we are creating jobs, cleaning up our environment, and supporting the hard-working people in our oil and gas sector – including in First Nations and Métis communities.”

Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources

This is an investment in a strong future for Indigenous people in Alberta, who will benefit from the jobs created and the reclaimed lands in their communities. Programs like this are game-changers for Indigenous communities.

Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations

“First and foremost, I am thankful to the Creator for another day and for the bounty that Mother Earth provides. The SRP Indigenous set aside will allow Alberta First Nations and Metis Settlements to reduce liabilities by decommissioning and cleaning up well sites across Alberta. During this time, First Nations-owned companies and member-owned companies, along with existing and new partnership creations, can get working to create gainful employment in a difficult period as this pandemic and downturn of the oil industry has caused hardships for many. We look forward to working with the province, ministers, industry, Indian Resource Council and service providers to make this program a success. ‘Our Mother Earth takes care of us, as her children, we need to take care of her.’”

Chief Greg Desjarlais, Frog Lake First Nations #121 and #122

“This $100-million collaboration between First Nations represented by the Indian Resource Council, the Metis Settlements and the Government of Alberta shows unprecedented progress towards reconcili-action in the protection of land, lives and livelihoods.”

Chief William (Billy) Morin, Enoch Cree Nation

A second new funding allotment will provide up to $300 million to oil and gas producers who paid for closure work in 2019 or 2020. This is the program’s largest grant period and is designed to give contractors and licensees the funding and time to work on closure projects of all scopes and sizes – leading to the cleanup of a significant number of oil and gas sites across the province.

“Closure work creates jobs and positive environmental outcomes that enhance Alberta’s ESG record and provides valuable economic benefits to rural communities. PSAC has long advocated for a mechanism to accelerate the decommissioning of orphan and inactive sites to provide the sector with jobs during this prolonged downturn. We are pleased that the Governments of Canada and Alberta have heard us and responded with this important program.”

Elizabeth Aquin, interim president and CEO, Petroleum Services Association of Canada

Including these two rounds, which will open to applications on Feb. 12, $800 million in SRP grants have been made available to eligible applicants since launching in May 2020. In total, the program is expected to generate almost 5,300 direct jobs and lead to indirect employment – and economic benefits – across the province.

The Alberta government continues to work with an Industry Advisory Committee and an Indigenous Roundtable to help make continuous improvements to the program and its processes.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.

Quick facts

  • Through the Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP), launched in May 2020, the Alberta government is directing up to $1 billion of federal oil and gas COVID-19 economic stimulus over two years to get Albertans back to work by speeding up well, pipeline and site closure efforts in the energy sector.
  • As of Feb. 12, $310.3 million of grant funding has been allocated to 633 Alberta-based companies for periods 1 through 4 of the program.
  • Applications for grant periods 5 and 6 will remain open until March 31, 2022.
  • During period 6, Indigenous communities will be provided a community-specific allocation.
  • Contractors have until Dec. 31, 2022, to complete their work through the program.
  • Remaining grant periods for the balance of the $1-billion funding commitment will be announced in the coming months.
Alberta's Recovery Plan

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

Fire investigators can't pin cause of fire at Edmonton-area seniors complex

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ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire investigators say they have been unable to figure out what caused a fire at an Edmonton-area retirement and long-term care complex last week.

Residents were forced to leave when the fire at the Citadel Mews West Continuing Care Facility in St. Albert broke out on May 6.

It destroyed part of the complex and three residents suffered smoke inhalation.

Investigators say the fire started on a ground-floor patio.

They say it spread from patio furniture to the underside of the deck above and from there up the siding into the building’s attic.

A damage estimate has yet to be made and investigators are still trying to determine what caused the blaze.

“This was a large and devastating fire where thankfully no one was seriously hurt,” St. Albert acting fire Chief Scott Wilde said Friday in a news release.

“If you live in a multi-family building, be aware of your building’s fire safety plan and practise your escape.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Alberta health agency obtains restraining order against Calgary mayoral candidate

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CALGARY — Alberta Health Services says it has obtained a restraining order against a Calgary mayoral candidate who the agency says has threatened health workers.

AHS says Kevin Johnston must stay at least 100 metres away from health officers and must not publish any threats or hate speech directed at them.

Johnston is running in this fall’s municipal election and has been a vocal supporter of anti-lockdown protests.

He appears regularly online where he promotes far-right ideology.

AHS says Johnston has been aggressive and threatening towards two particular health workers as well as to the general AHS workforce.

The agency says it wants to protect staff and ensure they feel supported.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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