From the Province of Alberta
Building a recovery community in Red Deer
Alberta’s government is providing up to $5 million to build a recovery community in Red Deer, which will add 75 treatment beds in central Alberta.
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, $25 million will support the construction of life-changing recovery communities, which will play a critical role in supporting the health, wellness and long-term recovery of Albertans.
“Today’s announcement is a big step towards supporting Albertans in their goal of recovery. We dedicated a portion of our Recovery Plan to ensure infrastructure was being dedicated to the vulnerable people in our communities. These recovery communities are a continuation of our efforts at creating 4,000 addiction treatment spaces in the province and building a full continuum of care for people struggling with addiction.”
Recovery communities, also known as therapeutic communities, are a form of long-term residential treatment for addiction, used in more than 65 countries around the world. Recovery is seen as a gradual, ongoing process of cognitive change through clinical and peer interventions. Program participants advance through the stages of treatment at their own pace, setting personal objectives and assuming greater responsibilities in the community along the way.
“I am excited to announce the first of five recovery communities will be in Red Deer. This is an important step in the expansion of our mental health and addiction recovery strategy. I want to thank the City of Red Deer for their tremendous partnership on this important project. Their commitment to the community and the people struggling with addiction has been second to none.”
Recovery Communities encourage participants to examine their personal behaviour to help them become more pro-social and positively engaged citizens – considered to be based on honesty, taking responsibility, hard work, and willingness to learn. The goal is for a participant to leave the program not only drug-free but also employed or in school or training.
Five recovery communities are being built across the Alberta. It is anticipated recovery communities will begin accepting participants in spring 2021.
“The City of Red Deer is proud to have worked closely with the Government of Alberta on this important initiative. Our friends, family, and neighbours suffering from addiction will have a place to go that’s close to home. We will continue to working with this government hand-in-hand as we build out further supports for the people of Red Deer.”
“I am pleased to hear that a recovery community is coming to Red Deer. This facility is poised to have a dramatic impact on those struggling with addiction in Red Deer and in central Alberta. I look forward to seeing the positive effects it has on its patients and the community as a whole.”
“Addiction is a challenge of human nature. Success in this complex matter must begin with the end in mind: supporting and loving our neighbors to become free from addictions. The announced therapeutic community for Red Deer is an innovative, game changing, service towards loving and supporting our neighbors seeking to become free from addictions, blessing families and communities throughout Central Alberta.”
This historic infrastructure investment complements government’s ongoing commitment to create 4,000 addiction and mental health treatment spaces in the province.
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 benefitting 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. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
- Alberta’s Recovery Plan provides a total of $25 million to build five recovery communities across the province, adding 400 treatment beds – a 30 per cent increase to current capacity.
- Construction of these long-term residential treatment centres is part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure spending announced as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. This spending includes: $6.9 billion Budget 2020 capital spending, $980 million accelerated for Capital Maintenance and Renewal, $200 million for Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program and water infrastructure projects, $600 million in strategic infrastructure projects, $500 million in municipal infrastructure and $1.5 billion for Keystone XL.
Alberta researcher gets award for COVID-19 mask innovation
Salt that crystallizes with sharp edges is the killer ingredient in the development of a reusable mask because any COVID-19 droplets that land on it would be quickly destroyed, says a researcher who is being recognized for her innovation.
Ilaria Rubino, a recent PhD graduate from the department of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Alberta, said a mostly salt and water solution that coats the first or middle layer of the mask would dissolve droplets before they can penetrate the face covering.
As the liquid from the droplets evaporates, the salt crystals grow back as spiky weapons, damaging the bacteria or virus within five minutes, Rubino said.
“We know that after the pathogens are collected in the mask, they can survive. Our goal was to develop a technology that is able to inactivate the pathogens upon contact so that we can make the mask as effective as possible.”
Rubino, who collaborated with a researcher at Georgia State University in Atlanta to advance the project she started five years ago, was recognized Tuesday with an innovation award from Mitacs. The Canadian not-for-profit organization receives funding from the federal government, most provinces and Yukon to honour researchers from academic institutions.
The reusable, non-washable mask is made of a type of polypropylene, a plastic used in surgical masks, and could be safely worn and handled multiple times without being decontaminated, Rubino said.
The idea is to replace surgical masks often worn by health-care workers who must dispose of them in a few hours, she said, adding the technology could potentially be used for N-95 respirators.
The salt-coated mask is expected to be available commercially next year after regulatory approval. It could also be used to stop the spread of other infectious illnesses, such as influenza, Rubino said.
Dr. Catherine Clase, an epidemiologist and associate professor of medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, said the “exciting” technology would have multiple benefits.
Clase, who is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials in the engineering department at McMaster, said there wasn’t much research in personal protective equipment when Rubino began her work.
“It’s going to decrease the footprint for making and distributing and then disposing of every mask,” she said, adding that the mask could also address any supply issues.
The Public Health Agency of Canada recently recommended homemade masks consist of at least three layers, with a middle, removable layer constructed from a non-woven, washable polypropylene fabric to improve filtration.
Conor Ruzycki, an aerosol scientist in the University of Alberta’s mechanical engineering department, said Rubino’s innovation adds to more recent research on masks as COVID-19 cases rise and shortages of face coverings in the health-care system could again become a problem.
Ruzycki, who works in a lab to evaluate infiltration efficiencies of different materials for masks and respirators, is also a member of a physician-led Alberta group Masks4Canada, which is calling for stricter pandemic measures, including a provincewide policy on mandatory masks.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.
Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
Alberta nurses reject government’s call to delay bargaining for new deal
EDMONTON — Alberta’s nurses union says the province’s health delivery agency has rejected a call for a settlement similar to one reached with nurses in Saskatchewan that would have provided stability during the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Nurses of Alberta says in a news release it called on Alberta Health Services to quickly negotiate a contract “in order to achieve labour peace, stabilize the Alberta workforce, and focus on responding to the pandemic.”
But the union says AHS negotiators wanted to delay bargaining, a demand it says it rejected because the agency refused to halt the elimination nursing positions through attrition during COVID-19 and wouldn’t promise to end rollbacks when negotiations resume.
Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release Monday that the union was seeking a seven per cent pay increase, and that both sides had been negotiating a delay in bargaining until March 31 due to the increasing demands of COVID-19.
The Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations said earlier Monday that it had reached agreements with its nurses, although details weren’t being released until the deals are ratified by both sides.
Toews says that Alberta’s nurses are compensated approximately 8.1 per cent more than their western Canadian peers.
“I am disappointed that a deal could not be reached — delaying bargaining would have provided much needed stability for the health-care system as we continue to focus on the pandemic and keeping Albertans safe,” the minister said in the government’s release.
UNA president Heather Smith said in the union’s news release that the negotiations team couldn’t agree to pause negotiations until March 31, and that the next scheduled bargaining dates are Dec. 14 and 15.
“Clearly AHS and this government are more intent on pursing their agenda of rollbacks and reducing the workforce, even during a pandemic, than assuring a stable workforce to respond to the needs of Albertans,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.
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