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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 ombudsman says she doesn't have the power to probe EMS dispatch consolidation

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s ombudsman says she doesn’t have the power to investigate a complaint about the decision to consolidate ambulance emergency dispatch services in the province.

The complaint was filed by the cities of Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The municipalities have contended that the decision to consolidate the dispatch services to save the government money could put the lives of people in their communities at risk.

In a release late Friday, Ombudsman Marianne Ryan says the decision was technically made by Alberta Health Services, which her office is prohibited by law from investigating.

When the United Conservative government announced the consolidation in August 2020, then health minister Tyler Shandro said the province’s dispatch system would allow for better co-ordination of all ground ambulances and air resources.

At the time, the four mayors of the municipalities, none of whom are now still in office, said they were blindsided by the decision and would fight the change.

“While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction,” Ryan said in the release.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

Last February, a judge granted an interim injunction sought by Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services after the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo stopped transferring emergency medical calls to the provincial dispatch centre.

The municipality, which includes Fort McMurray, stopped transferring calls after its council decided the provincial ambulance dispatch service was putting patients at risk due to delays and confusion.

A lawyer for Wood Buffalo had argued it was in the public interest for the municipality to keep handling emergency medical calls through its own dispatch centre.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 26, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta Ombudsman can’t do anything about City of Red Deer complaint about 9-11 Dispatch

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Ombudsman Responds to Municipalities’ Complaint About Ambulance Dispatch

Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman took the unusual step of publicly commenting on a complaint received involving Alberta Health Services.

The City of Red Deer, along with the municipalities of Calgary, Lethbridge and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo filed a complaint to the Ombudsman regarding Alberta Health Services’ consolidation of ambulance emergency dispatch services.

The Ombudsman Act authorizes the Ombudsman to investigate administrative decisions of government ministries and many related bodies, but the Act specifically prohibits her from investigating decisions of Alberta Health Services (AHS).

“My office thoroughly analyzed the complaint and confirmed that the decision to consolidate ambulance dispatch services was indeed made by AHS. While many government-related bodies fall under my jurisdiction, AHS is not one of them,” stated Marianne Ryan, Alberta’s Ombudsman. “In fact, the Ombudsman Act specifically states that my powers of investigation do not apply to health authorities. My ability to investigate AHS decisions would require a change in legislation. While the issue being complained about clearly affects many Albertans, I am bound by my governing legislation to only investigate matters that are clearly within my jurisdiction.”

Investigations by the Ombudsman are conducted in confidence, and it is the Ombudsman’s general practice not to comment publicly on complaints, especially ones that are not being investigated.

“Given the substance of the complaint has been widely reported in the media and that it relates to an issue affecting a great many Albertans, I advised the mayors that I would be making a public statement.”

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