Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, Wage Subsidy Extended to August, and Preliminary Equivalency Agreement on Methane Reduction

A return to the first semblance of normalcy started in most parts of the province Thursday with stage one of Alberta’s relaunch strategy. Retail businesses, museums, daycares, hair stylists, cafes pubs and restaurants can now reopen with conditions. In Calgary and Brooks which have seen the highest rates of COVID-19, hair stylists and restaurants will have to wait until May 25 to begin reopening. The real test will be in one to two weeks time to see whether there is a significant spike in confirmed cases due to stage one relaunch.

A new webpage was also launched by the Alberta government this week to support businesses and non-profits impacted by COVID-19 to begin to reopen and resume operations safely.

Federally, the 75 per cent wage subsidy program has been expanded into August with expanded eligibility following a slow start to businesses signing onto the program. Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has been mum on whether the current border restrictions with the United States will be extended beyond June 21.

As of May 14, Alberta has 6,457 total cases of COVID-19 including 1,131 active cases, 5,205 recovered cases and 121 deaths.

Below, you’ll find information on other Government of Alberta announcements as well as Orders in Council made in the past week.

Government of Alberta Announcements

  • The UCP government was very positive in public statements regarding federal programs this week, offering their support for federal government funding for large businesses and for COVID-19 infrastructure funding.
  • A two-year expanded $43 million pilot project for electronics recycling was announced by Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon to support job creation and divert reusable material from landfills.
  • A preliminary equivalency agreement with the federal government regarding methane reduction was reached following several years of negotiations and confirms Alberta’s regulatory framework will achieve the same emissions reductions as the federal regulation by 2025.
  • Money has been reallocated from the Community Initiatives Program Project-based grant to the Community Initiatives Program Operating grant in order to help struggling front-line charities and non-profits maintain their core operations and provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Another week, another task force. This time the GoA has created a new student transportation task force (complete with wheels on the bus go round and round puns) with a complement of UCP backbench MLAs and 13 additional members. The group will focus on issues related to student transportation, including student safety, costs, eligibility, partner collaboration and the responsibilities of school authorities and industry partners.

Orders in Council

OC 148/2020: Amends a previous Order in Council to change a location at which access to and from Highway 16 is permitted.

OC 149/2020: Appoints Jo-Ann Hall and Dianne Harder as members of The Board of Governors of Lakeland College, each for a further term to expire on May 12, 2023, and appoints Brent Fischer, Jessica Kelly, former MLA Lloyd Snelgrove and Adam Waterman as members of The Board of Governors of Lakeland College, each for a term to expire on May 12, 2023.

OC 150/2020: Makes changes to the Edmonton Restricted Development Area Amendment Regulation.

OC 151/2020: Repeals the expiry of the Coal Royalty Regulation and adds the word bituminous before coal rights in the royalty reporting section.

OC 152/2020: Repeals the expiry of the Metallic and Industrial Minerals Tenure Regulation and removes requirements for duplicate copies related to prospecting.

OC 153/2020: Makes changes to the Mineral Rights Compensation Regulation and extends the expiry to April 30, 2030.

OC 154-155/2020: Following an increase in global demand, sets a helium royalty rate of 4.25 per cent retroactive to April 1.

OC 156/2020: Makes the Metallic and Industrial Minerals Royalty Amendment Regulation including definitions for quarriable minerals and setting royalty rates for quarriable minerals.

OC 157/2020: Makes administrative changes including what forms are required in the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Amendment Regulation.

OC 158/2020: Appoints former PC Leadership Contestant Byron Warren Nelson as a member of the Fatality Review Board for a term to expire on May 12, 2023.

OC 159/2020: Amends Order in Council numbered OC 160/2019 to correct a cross-reference.

OC 160/2020: Reappoints Wendy Henkelman and Mary Ellen Neilson as members of the board of directors of ATB Financial, each for a term to expire on June 15, 2023, and, effective June 16, 2020, appoints Jim Davidson, Andrew S. Fraser and J. Robert Logan as members of the board of directors of ATB Financial, each for a term to expire on June 15, 2023.

OC 161/2020: Approves the President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance entering into the 2020 Agreement Respecting Multi-jurisdictional Pension Plans with other Canadian provinces.

OC 162/2020: Appoints W. Kent Breedlove, Jack Fujino and Robert Sartor as members of the board of the Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Commission, each for a term to expire on May 12, 2023.

OC 163/2020: Appoints Graham Statt as a member of the board of directors of the PSPP Corporation for a term to expire on February 1, 2023.

Our New West Public Affairs team has worked hard to adjust to this ‘new normal’ as well as we can. We have implanted work from home procedures and are in constant contact with those making real time policy decisions in this unprecedented time.

We have been providing comprehensive, daily updates on COVID-19’s impact here in Alberta and across the country, how orders of government are responding, and most importantly, how to effectively advocate in this environment.

If you are interested in receiving these daily COVID-19 updates, please contact us.

Right now, information is among the most valuable currencies available. We are committed to helping you and your organization navigate your way through these challenges.