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Update 3: Northwest Alberta wildfire (May 23 at 4:00 p.m.)

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May 23, 2019 

Thunderstorms are forecast for Thursday and Friday with no precipitation. States of local emergency remain in effect, with residents under a mandatory evacuation order.

Current situation

  • The Chuckegg Creek Wildfire is burning approximately three kilometres south of the Town of High Level in Mackenzie County.
  • This out-of-control wildfire is almost 92,000 hectares.
  • Alberta Wildfire, Alberta Emergency Management Agency and local authorities are cooperating in the response.
  • Albertans should be prepared to be away from home longer than initially planned. Evacuees are asked to report to reception centres in Peace River, High Prairie, Grande Prairie, Slave Lake, Fort Vermilion and Hay River.
  • Firefighters are focusing efforts on containing the wildfire outside High Level. Yesterday, a break in conditions allowed a controlled burn between the wildfire and the town to consume materials that could have become fuel for the wildfire.
  • Peace River is reporting reduced visibility due to the smoke which is expected to stay until tomorrow.
  • Resources on the ground include about 143 wildland firefighters, 154 structural fighters and staff on the ground, supported by 28 helicopters, air tankers, 10 structural protection units and heavy machinery.
  • Continuing dry and windy conditions in most of Alberta have increased the danger of forest fires. Fire bans and off-highway vehicle restrictions are now in place for central and northern areas of the province.
  • Approximately 5,000 people have been evacuated from High Level and the neighbouring communities.
  • Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the Town of High Level and parts of Mackenzie County south of High Level.
  • Dene Tha’ First Nation declared an evacuation order for Bushe River, Meander River and Chateh.
  • A voluntary evacuation is in place for Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement and areas north of High Level.
  • Alberta Health Services evacuated 15 patients from the Manning Community Health Centre due to smoke from the wildfires.
  • The emergency department at Manning Community Health Centre remains open.
  • Power, wireless services and gas have been restored to the Town of High Level, Mackenzie County and the Dene Tha’ First Nation.
  • Detailed information is available on emergency.alberta.ca, which is updated frequently.

Reception centres

  • Reception centres are open at:
    • Slave Lake Legacy Centre (400 6 Avenue)
    • High Prairie Sports Palace (5409 49 Street)
    • Grande Prairie Regional College (10726 106 Avenue)
    • Peace River Misery Mountain Ski Hill (10408 89 Street)
    • La Crete Heritage Centre (25411 Township Road 1060, south of La Crete)
    • Fort Vermilion Community Cultural Complex (5001 44 Avenue)
    • Hay River Dene Wellness Centre
  • Residents are asked to please check in with a reception centre, even if they are staying with family or friends, or finding alternate accommodations.

Highway closures

  • Highway 35 remains closed between five kilometres and 30 kilometres south of High Level. Highway 697 and the La Crete Ferry is identified as a detour. La Crete Ferry is operational with wait times of approximately one hour.
  • Highway 58 from High Level to approximately 70 kilometres from the junction with Range Road 45A remains closed.

Insurance information

  • Evacuated residents should retain all their receipts for food purchases, accommodation and other related expenses to provide to their insurer for possible reimbursement.
  • Most home and tenant’s insurance policies provide reasonable coverage for living expenses during an evacuation. Contact your insurance company for details.
  • Albertans who cannot remember or reach their insurance provider, can contact the Insurance Bureau of Canada at 1-844-227-5422 or by email at askibcwest@ibc.ca. Information to understand your fire insurance coverage is online at ibc.ca/ab/disaster/alberta-wildfire.

Justice and legal matters

  • High Level Court is closed. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 for inquiries on High Level Court matters scheduled for this week and next. All scheduled Fort Vermilion matters will be heard in Peace River. Call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256 if you’re unable to register your name and phone number. Matters will be held by phone if necessary.
  • In many cases, tickets can be paid online. For any other inquiries requiring direction from the court about Peace River and Fort Vermilion court matters, call the Peace River Court at 780-624-6256.
  • If you have an appointment with a probation officer in an evacuated area, report to the community corrections office nearest you. If you do not know where the nearest one is, call 780-427-3109 (to call toll free, first dial 310-0000).
  • If you are an intermittent server in an evacuated area, call the Peace River Correctional Centre at 780-624-5480 (to call toll free, first dial 310-0000) for direction.

Air quality

Health

  • Mental health support is available by calling Alberta’s 24-hour Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

Post-secondary

  • Apprentices or journeypersons from the High Level area who have questions should call the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Information line at 1-800-248-4823, Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or visit tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca.
  • Post-secondary students with questions about Alberta student loans can call 1-855-606-2096, or toll free in North America at 1-855-606-2096 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Pets and livestock

  • Residents who may have left their pets at home can call 780-926-2201. Volunteers can check on your pets.
  • Mackenzie County has stock trailers to assist with livestock transport. Visit highlevel.ca for more information

Donations and volunteers

Canada Post

  • Canada Post has suspended mail delivery services in the communities of High Level, Meander Creek, Chateh, Rainbow Lake, Zama City, Fort Vermilion, Manning and La Crete.
  • Mail will be held at the Edmonton depot until mail service resumes.
  • Check the Canada Post website for updates.

Income Support, Alberta Supports and AISH

  • Residents receiving benefits from the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) or the Income Support program by cheque rather than electronic deposit, and who are affected by the wildfire in High Level, can visit their nearest Alberta Supports Centres to pick up their cheque.
  • If you are in La Crete, you can pick up your cheque at the local reception centre. If you receive your benefits via direct deposit, your payment will be deposited as usual.
  • For information on child intervention and child care, residents may contact 1-800-638-0715.
  • If persons with developmental disabilities, their families or contracted service providers need human, financial, or in-kind assistance to connect with loved ones, find accommodations or provide assistance to individuals receiving PDD supports, please contact the nearest Alberta Supports Centre for assistance. You can find a list of Alberta Supports Centres online or you can call the Alberta Supports contact Centre at 1-800-232-7215 provincewide between 7:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday to Friday. 
  • For additional information on social benefits, affected individuals can contact Alberta Supports or call 1-877-644-9992, Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Health card

  • To get a replacement Health Care Insurance Card at no cost, you can contact 780-427-1432 or toll free at 310-0000 and then 780-427-1432 when prompted. Your Alberta Personal Health Card can be mailed to a temporary address.  

Other information

  • Residents driving through the area should carry enough fuel as there may be shortages.

Public information

  • You can call 310-4455, open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for wildfire-related information.

Related information

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President Todayville Inc., Former VP/GM CTV Edmonton, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel 41 Signal Regiment, Board Member Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Award Foundation, Past Board Member United Way of Alberta Capital Region, Musician, Photographer.

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Education

President of Vancouver Community College to take the reigns from RDC President Joel Ward.

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RDC welcomes Dr. Peter Nunoda as 11th President

From RDC Communications

Red Deer College’s Board of Governors has introduced Dr. Peter Nunoda to the College community as the institution’s incoming President & CEO, succeeding Joel Ward after ten years.

Dr. Nunoda, who holds a Ph.D. in History, brings an extensive list of skills and more than 30 years of post-secondary experience to the College. Dr. Nunoda has been the President of Vancouver Community College (VCC) since August 2014. He served as Vice President, Academic and Research at Northern Lights College (NLC) for three years, prior to leading VCC. Under Dr. Nunoda’s guidance, domestic enrolment grew three per cent and the number of international students skyrocketed 75 per cent at NLC through a Strategic Enrolment Management Plan.

From 2007-2011, Dr. Nunoda was the Dean of Faculty of Health at the University College of the North. Before that position, he served as the Director of Access Programs and Program Director for Aboriginal Focus Programs at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Nunoda was also an instructor in the Departments of History and Native Studies for 12 years at the University of Manitoba, where he conducted research projects on various topics, including Aboriginal health education and Aboriginal student retention. His subject matter expertise in Aboriginal health also led him to a position with the Indigenous Health Unit at James Cook University in Australia.

During an extensive search that lasted more than 15 months, RDC’s Board of Governors identified Dr. Nunoda as the strongest candidate to lead Red Deer College through an exciting time of growth and change as it becomes Red Deer University. The Board of Governors thanks Leaders International, an executive search firm, for their assistance in hiring Dr. Nunoda.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Dr. Peter Nunoda as the 11th President of Red Deer College,” says Morris Flewwelling, Board of Governors Chair. “His attributes and experiences at the college and university levels, along with his significant work with Indigenous communities, make him the ideal candidate to lead RDC through the continuing growth and transition to become a comprehensive regional teaching university.”

In addition to Dr. Nunoda’s expertise and work experience, he is a big proponent of collaborating with, and connecting with, the community. Along with Central City Foundation, VCC has hosted Fair in the Square, connecting over 3,000 community members at a festival of food, music and activities. In partnership with Vancouver Trolley Company and funding from Telus, the VCC Dental Clinic hosted Tooth Trolley for pre-registered children and their families, providing free dental exams, seminars and fun activities.

Dr. Nunoda looks forward to using his past experiences in the post-secondary sector, supporting learners and communities, to lead Red Deer College into the future.

Dr. Peter Nunoda, RDC President

“This is an exciting time for Red Deer College as we transition to university status. The future is very bright as we work together to achieve what this community and region have dreamed about for a long time,” says Dr. Nunoda. “It is our responsibility to make the vision of a high quality comprehensive post-secondary institution a reality for the generations to come. I look forward to working with our many stakeholders on this transformational journey.”

Dr. Nunoda and his wife, Joanne, have three children, Erin, Emily and Ethan, who all attend post-secondary institutions in Canada. He is an avid golfer and a dedicated hockey fan.

Dr. Nunoda will commence his duties as RDC President on September 3, 2019.

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Blackfalds

Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, and Red Deer County team up with City of Red Deer to attract employers

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A joint communication from the Town of Blackfalds, the Town of Sylvan Lake, the County of Red Deer, and the City of Red Deer

Regional Approach to Economic Development Revealed

A new Regional Labour Force Profile has been developed for central Alberta as a collaborative effort by the Town of Blackfalds, the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County, the Town of Sylvan Lake and the Province of Alberta – Ministry of Labour and Immigration.

Labour Force Profile

The profile will provide superior labour force information to businesses that are considering growth, expansion, or new development or markets, as well as to prospective entrepreneurs and companies thinking of locating in or starting up in the region.

We can better support and encourage appropriate workforce development intiaitives when we work together. In this case each of the four communities contributed $4,000 to the project to match the funds secured through the provincial Labour Market Partnership Program (LMP).”Jennifer Hartigh, Project Lead

Having accurate and up-to-date labour information is often a key factor when new employers are choosing locations, or when existing employers want to expand. We’re pleased to be able to partner with municipalities to help provide this critical intelligence for central Alberta as part of our commitment to create jobs and expand our economy.”
Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

The area that the four communities represent accounts for 226,396 Albertans, 68% of whom are of working age. This Regional Labour Profile is an important resource to help the region continue to grow, and sustain both the businesses, and families, that call this region ‘home’.

Please refer to the attached Regional Profile for detailed information.

BACKGROUNDER

  • In 2018, Economic Development Officers from the communities of Blackfalds, Red Deer, SylvanLake and Red Deer County approached the provincial Ministry of Labour to partner on a project resulting in the creation of a Regional Labour Force Profile. The communities were lacking in- depth and current data to share with businesses interested in expanding or diversifying or for investors, educational institutes, and entrepreneurs to use in creating and forecasting business plan development.
  • In late 2018, the Ministry of Labour awarded an LMP grant to the Town of Blackfalds, as the project leader and administrator.
  • Each partnering municipality contributed $4,000 toward the project, and by doing so was able to leverage $31,250 in LMP funding from the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada.
  • Data for the Regional Labour Profile was acquired from several sources, including: 2001 to 2016 federal Census from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Business Registry – 2013 and 2018, SuperDemographics 2018 from Manifold Data Mining Inc., EMSI Analyst 2018 Q3, and local municipal census data as available. Consultation with relevant stakeholders also informed the information included in the Regional Labour Profile.
  • Conversations with representatives from Olds College, Red Deer College, Burman University, Express Employment, and Manpower were used to confirm the skills and labour data acquired, and also to uncover opportunities to develop new programming to meet the needs of the regional business community.

Region At A Glance

  • The region accounts for 226,396 Albertans, of whom 68% are of working age (15 to 64).
  • Residents have an average employment income slightly lower than the provincial figure (-4%); however, more than half of the population between the ages of 25 to 64 has completed some form of post secondary education.
  • The regional economy, which grew by 5% between 2013 and 2018, sustains over 119,000 jobs. The region boasts a higher participation and employment rate compared to the rest of the province.
  • When looking at the number of jobs versus the number of workers in the region, a large surplus of workers was found within the following occupational groups:
  • o trades,
    o transport and equipment operators
    o management,
    o education,
    o law, social, community and government services.
  • Residents with the skills and talent to work in these occupations may work outside the region. Conversely, the region has a gap of approximately 270 workers to support natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations. This gap is likely filled by workers coming in from outside of the region.Attached you will find the Regional Labour Profile. For local profiles, contact the municipalities directly.
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