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Alberta

Shovels in the ground for Red Deer recovery community

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Construction is starting on the new 75-bed recovery community in Red Deer, which will provide long-term holistic residential treatment for people with addiction and mental health challenges.

Alberta’s government is building for the future with the construction of the Red Deer recovery community. Recovery communities, also known as therapeutic communities, are used in more than 65 countries around the world. This is the first of its kind to break ground in Alberta.

“The Red Deer recovery community will be the first of its kind to be built in Alberta. Alberta’s government is taking tangible steps to ensure that Albertans across the province have access to treatment by building recovery communities, funding over 4,000 more annual treatment spaces and eliminating user fees for all publicly funded treatment.”

Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“With a location identified earlier this year and a contractor now in place, the Red Deer recovery community is moving steadily forward. We appreciate the collaboration of multiple levels of government and central Albertans for their support of this life-saving facility.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

The Red Deer recovery community is being built on a 10-acre parcel of land near the Chiles Industrial Park, adjacent to Highway 2A, and is expected to create 136 jobs during construction.

Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2022. The recovery community will start admitting clients soon after that. Once operational, the recovery community will create more than 100 jobs.

Recovery communities are a form of long-term residential treatment that focus on supporting people who are pursuing recovery. Recovery is seen as a gradual, ongoing process of cognitive change through clinical and peer interventions aimed at improving a person’s overall well-being.

New recovery communities will be fully funded by Alberta’s government. Any Albertan seeking recovery can access the life-saving treatment services that will be provided.

“This recovery community is more than simply a building – it is a symbol of hope that our community and province desperately needs. Helping people enter recovery from addiction and lead a more fulfilling, productive life helps us all. Thank you to the provincial government for adding this support to the City of Red Deer.”

Ken Johnston, mayor, City of Red Deer

“People struggling with addiction and mental health challenges in Red Deer need a place where they can pursue long-term recovery. I’m proud that our government is ensuring that, through a holistic approach, the people of Red Deer have access to treatment and recovery.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education and MLA for Red Deer-North

“I’m excited the Red Deer location is the first recovery community in Alberta to get shovels in the ground. Helping people end their reliance on substances affects everyone around them as well as the community as a whole. I can’t wait to see the recovery community in action.”

Jason Stephan, MLA for Red Deer-South

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is helping Albertans access life-saving addiction and mental health-related prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resources. A $140-million investment over four years is supporting the addition of 4,000 new publicly funded addiction treatment spaces; the elimination of daily user fees for publicly funded residential addiction treatment; a new patient matching tool Recovery Access Alberta; and services to reduce harm, such as the Digital Overdose Response system (DORS), the introduction of a nasal naloxone pilot and the expansion of opioid agonist therapy.

Quick facts

  • Construction of the Red Deer 75-bed recovery community is expected to create 136 construction jobs.
  • Synergy Projects Ltd. was the successful construction vendor selected through a standard government request for proposal process.
  • The construction contract price is approximately $20 million, including the initial $5-million investment made in 2020 through Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
  • Contact 811 Health Link or Alberta 211 for information about addiction treatments and supports available throughout the province.
  • Albertans struggling with opioid use anywhere in the province can call the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program seven days per week at 1-844-383-7688 to access same-day treatment.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Two deputy chief medical officers resign from their positions with Alberta Health

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Edmonton – Alberta’s two deputy chief medical officers of health are leaving their roles — less than a month after Dr. Deena Hinshaw was removed as the province’s top doctor.

Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed during question period Wednesday that both of the doctors have submitted letters of resignation.

“They are still continuing to work at this point in time,” he said in the legislature. “We are in the process of actually looking to fill those roles.”

A statement from Alberta Health said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu, who are listed as public health physicians on the department’s website, have given notice.

When reached by her department email, Salvaterra responded: “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment.”

She later added that she respects and admires both Dr. Hinshaw and Dr. Hu.

“They are brilliant, hard-working, and compassionate public health physicians and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside them for these past 14 months.”

Salvaterra, who has extensive public health experience including as the medical officer of health for Peterborough, Ont., joined the office in October 2021.

Her career in public health includes work in “the COVID-19 response, mental health, the opioid response, women’s health, poverty reduction, health equity, community food security and building stronger relationships with First Nations.”

Hu’s out-of-office message said her “last day at work with Alberta Health was Nov. 18, 2022,” and noted she wouldn’t have access to the department email after that date.

She got extensive training in China and at the University of Calgary before joining the health department in January 2020.

Their resignations came within a month of Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, being removed from her position.

Hinshaw was replaced by Dr. Mark Joffe, a senior executive member of Alberta Health Services, on an interim basis.

“Dr. Joffe will be supported by medical officers of health within AHS, by other staff in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and by the Public Health Division,” said the statement from Alberta Health late Wednesday.

“We expect these changes to have no impact on the department’s and Dr. Joffe’s ability to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act.”

Hinshaw’s dismissal didn’t come as a surprise.

Premier Danielle Smith announced on her first day in office in October that she would be replaced.

Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.

Smith has not placed the blame on front-line doctors and nurses but broadly on AHS senior management. Joffe, while serving as chief medical officer of health, retains his role in AHS senior management as a vice-president responsible for areas in cancer and clinical care.

Hinshaw, an Alberta-trained public health specialist, became a celebrity of sorts in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, as she delivered regular, sometimes daily, updates to Albertans on the virus, its spread and methods to contain it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.

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