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Alberta

Province hopes new physician training in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie will mean more rural doctors

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Addressing rural physician shortages

To help bring more physicians to rural Alberta, Alberta’s government is working to offer physician training in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. 

Alberta has the best front-line health-care workers in the world, and Alberta’s government is working to ensure that Albertans have access to the care they need, when and where they need it. Rural Albertans are disproportionately affected by the nation-wide shortage of healthcare workers and their community members cannot access physician training close to home.

Alberta’s government is investing $1 million to explore ways that regional post-secondary institutions, such as the University of Lethbridge and Northwestern Polytechnic, can help deliver medical education outside of Edmonton and Calgary. Research shows that positive learning experiences in rural health-care settings lead to more physicians choosing to pursue careers in rural areas.

“Over the past year, we’ve made strategic investments to address health care labour shortages, including through the largest expansion of post-secondary seats in Alberta’s history. Partnering with Alberta’s two medical schools and institutions in northern and southern Alberta to train doctors locally is the best path to ensuring we meet rural needs.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

The funds will be used by the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge and Northwestern Polytechnic to support collaborative planning. This will include detailed plans to support regional health professions training centres in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.

“Expanding medical training in rural areas creates new opportunities for students who want to remain in their communities while making other students familiar with regions of the province and types of work they may not have considered before. Expanding training opportunities is just one way we’re addressing the shortage of rural doctors to ensure Albertans get the care they need when and where they need it.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

Plans for rural training opportunities include hands-on learning experiences in rural communities surrounding regional hubs. These opportunities will support the recruitment of physicians to teach and train medical students and residents, while increasing access to physician services.

“An investment in rural medical training is a direct investment in the future of rural and remote health in Alberta. We look forward to building on our existing relationships with partners across Alberta and significantly expanding the opportunities for future health professionals to learn and enter practice outside our largest urban centres, toward the goal that drives everyone involved in the health professions in this province — readily available, easily accessible, world-class health care for all.”

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, dean, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

“We at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine are excited about working collaboratively with our colleagues across the province to provide innovative educational solutions for health workforce shortages particularly in the rural areas. There are many factors and initiatives required to help the situation and expanding physician training capacity in Alberta post-secondaries can lead to a healthier population.”

Dr. Todd Anderson, dean, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine

This funding is the latest investment from Alberta’s government to ensure students have access to the education, training and skills students need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. At the same time giving confidence to industry, businesses and investors that regional workforce needs will be met.

Previously in Budget 2022, Alberta’s government announced the targeted enrolment expansion initiative which invested more than $171 million into Alberta’s post-secondary system to create nearly 10,000 new seats over three years in high-demand programs. More than 2,400 of those new seats were in nursing, health care aide and paramedic programs.

Alberta’s government has also signed a new agreement with the Alberta Medical Association. This includes $15 million annually to support physician recruitment and retention for physicians who practise full-time in underserved areas, an additional $12 million annually for the Rural Remote Northern Program, and a one-time investment of $2 million to increase funding for the existing RESIDE program that provides incentives for family physicians to practise in Alberta’s underserved rural and remote communities.

Quick facts

  • There are two medical schools in Alberta, located at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
  • The Ministries of Health and Advanced Education are jointly responsible for the education of physicians in Alberta. Advanced Education is responsible for undergraduate medical education. Health is responsible for postgraduate medical education or residency training, including international medical graduates, rural medical programs, resident physician compensation, and the Academic Medicine and Health Services Program.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Maxime Bernier says it’s ‘astounding’ Alberta is ‘pushing’ COVID boosters, tells Danielle Smith to stop it

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The People’s Party of Canada leader tells the Alberta government: ‘It’s over! Get over it!’

People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith should tell provincial health bureaucrats to “back off” and stop “pushing” the mRNA COVID boosters on “anyone,” considering a recent announcement from health officials recommending yet more COVID shots.

“I find it astounding that Alberta public health bureaucrats are still pushing the mRNA boosters on anyone, and especially on children who have never been at risk, almost two years after almost all other pandemic measures have been ended,” Bernier told LifeSiteNews.

“Danielle Smith’s government should tell its bureaucrats to back off and stop stupidly feeding a needless sense of fear surrounding the virus that lingers among certain groups of society. It’s over! Get over it!”

Earlier this week, officials from Alberta Health Services (AHS), whose chief medical officer throughout the COVID crisis, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, was fired by Smith in 2022, updated its COVID booster recommendations to every “three months” starting at babies only six months old.

“Starting April 15, 2024, select groups of Albertans at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 will be eligible for an additional dose,” the AHS noted on its website.

AHS health officials still assert that all “vaccines are safe, effective and save lives,” and that one can get a COVID shot at the same time as a flu vaccine.

On April 16, Bernier commented on the AHS’s new COVID jab guideline changes on X, in which he asked, “What’s going on in Alberta with their “conservative” government?

Bernier, who was a firm opponent of both the COVID shots and mandates, told LifeSiteNews that AHS’s recommendations are puzzling, given “more and more scientific evidence is emerging of dangerous side effects when injecting from these experimental substances.”

“Even though these are only recommendations, and nothing is mandated, this ‘guidance’ by government agencies influences people’s decisions,” Bernier said.

Those under 18 still need written or verbal consent from their parents to get the shot.

AHS is recommending booster jabs for seniors, healthcare workers as well as those with underlying medical conditions. They also recommend that First Nations people and “members of racialized and other equity-denied communities,” as well as pregnant women get the shots as well.

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government as well as all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under former Premier Jason Kenney being no exception.

The mRNA shots themselves have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

Danielle Smith took over from Kenney as leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) on October 11, 2022, after winning the leadership. Kenney was ousted due to low approval ratings and for reneging on promises not to lock Alberta down as well as enacting a vaccine passport. Smith was opposed to COVID jab mandates.

Bernier: It’s ‘deplorable’ some provinces still mandate COVID shot for Heathcare workers

While Alberta does not mandate the COVID shots for healthcare workers anymore, British Columbia still does as well as some health regions in Ontario, a fact that Bernier called “deplorable.”

“I find it deplorable that nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers in B.C. and Ontario still have to be vaccinated to work in hospitals and that thousands of them have not been reintegrated,” Bernier told LifeSiteNews.

“The authoritarian covid measures adopted by all governments have been traumatic enough for millions of Canadians. All of them should be lifted.”

Last year, LifeSiteNews reported on how the details of the Canadian federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine contract with Pfizer for millions of doses of the mRNA-based experimental shots were recently disclosed after being hidden for over three years.

The contract with Pfizer shows the government agreed to accept the unknown long-term safety and efficacy of the shots. The details of the Pfizer contract do not disclose how much the government spent on the jabs.

A bill introduced by Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre that would have given Canadians back their “bodily autonomy” by banning future jab mandates was voted down last year after Trudeau’s Liberals and other parties rejected it.

Adverse effects from the first round of COVID shots have resulted in a growing number of Canadians filing for financial compensation over injuries from the jabs via the federal Vaccine Injury Program (VISP).

VISP has already paid well over $11 million to those injured by COVID injections.

Earlier this year, LifeSiteNews reported on how officials from Health Canada have admitted that there is “residual plasmid DNA” in the COVID shots after a Conservative MP asked the agency through an official information request if the DNA fragments were in the shots.

As for Bernier, earlier this month he called out Poilievre for dodging a question regarding Canada’s participation in the United Nations’ pro-abortion Paris Climate Agreement.

Throughout most of the COVID crisis, Canadians from coast to coast were faced with COVID mandates, including jab dictates, put in place by both the provincial and federal governments.

After much pushback, thanks to the Freedom Convoy, most provincial mandates were eliminated by the summer of 2022.

There are currently multiple ongoing class-action lawsuits filed by Canadians adversely affected by COVID mandates.

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Alberta

Canada’s advantage as the world’s demand for plastic continues to grow

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From the Canadian Energy Centre

By Will Gibson

‘The demand for plastics reflects how essential they are in our lives’

From the clothes on your back to the containers for household products to the pipes and insulation in your home, plastics are interwoven into the fabric of day-to-day life for most Canadians.

And that reliance is projected to grow both in Canada and around the world in the next three decades

The Global Plastics Outlook, published by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), forecasts the use of plastics globally will nearly triple by 2060, driven by economic and population growth.  

The use of plastics is projected to double in OECD countries like Canada, the United States and European nations, but the largest increases will take place in Asia and Africa. 

“The demand for plastics reflects how essential they are in our lives, whether it is packaging, textiles, building materials or medical equipment,” says Christa Seaman, vice-president, plastics with the Chemical Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), which represents Canada’s plastics producers.  

She says as countries look to meet climate and sustainability goals, demand for plastic will grow. 

“Plastics in the market today demonstrate their value to our society. Plastics are used to make critical components for solar panels and wind turbines. But they also can play a role in reducing weight in transportation or in ensuring goods that are transported have less weight in their packaging or in their products.” 

Canada produces about $35 billion worth of plastic resin and plastic products per year, or over five per cent of Canadian manufacturing sales, according to a 2019 report published by the federal government.  

Seaman says Canadian plastic producers have competitive advantages that position them to grow as demand rises at home and abroad. In Alberta, a key opportunity is the abundant supply of natural gas used to make plastic resin.  

“As industry and consumer expectations shift for production to reduce emissions, Canada, and particularly Alberta, are extremely well placed to meet increased demand thanks to its supply of low-carbon feedstock. Going forward, production with less emissions is going to be important for companies,” Seaman says.  

“You can see that with Dow Chemical’s decision to spend $8.8 billion on a net zero facility in Alberta.” 

While modern life would not be possible without plastics, the CIAC says there needs to be better post-use management of plastic products including advanced recycling, or a so-called “circular economy” where plastics are seen as a resource or feedstock for new products, not a waste. 

Some companies have already started making significant investments to generate recyclable plastics.  

For example, Inter Pipeline Ltd.’s $4.3 billion Heartland Petrochemical Complex near Edmonton started operating in 2023. It produces a recyclable plastic called polypropylene from propane, with 65 per cent lower emissions than the global average thanks to the facility’s integrated design. 

Achieving a circular economy – where 90 per cent of post-consumer plastic waste is diverted or recycled – would benefit Canada’s economy, according to the CIAC.  

Deloitte study, commissioned by Environment & Climate Change Canada, estimated diverting or reusing 90 per cent of post-consumer plastic waste by 2030 will save $500 million annually while creating 42,000 direct and indirect jobs. It would also cut Canada’s annual CO2 emissions by 1.8 megatonnes.  

Right now, about 85 per cent of plastics end up in Canada’s landfills. To reach the 90 per cent diversion rate, Seaman says Canada must improve its infrastructure to collect and process the plastic waste currently being landfilled. 

But she also says the industry rather than municipalities need to take responsibility for recycling plastic waste.  

“This concept is referred to as extended producer responsibility. Municipalities have the responsibility for managing recycling within a waste management system. Given the competing costs and priorities, they don’t have the incentive to invest into recycling infrastructure when landfill space was the most cost-effective solution for them,” she says.  

“Putting that responsibility on the producers who put the products on the market makes the most sense…The industry is adapting, and we hope government policy will recognize this opportunity for Canada to meet our climate goals while growing our economy.” 

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