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Overwhelming Oil Price Drops, Calgary Stampede Cancelled, and Investing in Albertan Continuing Care Facilities

It’s been another difficult week for not only Alberta’s economy but Alberta’s spirit as well. Oil prices dropped to unprecedented negative levels on Monday, leading Premier Jason Kenney to call on the Prime Minister for federal action. On Wednesday, it was announced that the Calgary Stampede was officially cancelled due to COVID-19 for the first time in over 100 years. The loss of the summer event along with the cancellations of other summer festivals including Calgary and Edmonton’s Folk Music Festivals and Edmonton K-Days will have an economic and social impact on the province.

Saskatchewan announced a 5-phase plan to reopen to the province starting in early May. Alberta is expected to reveal their strategy next week. Meat processing plants in High River and Brooks have been the source of COVID-19 outbreaks with 440 individuals contracting the virus at the now closed Cargill plant.

The province revealed initial details of the “Site Rehabilitation Program” which is designed to get the energy sector working again doing cleanup of orphaned oil well sites. The $1 billion program is expected to put over 5000 people to work and the first $100 million will begin to flow on May 1. Service companies will be able to apply for the work online. Further details are available, here.

As of April 23, Alberta has 3,720 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 68 deaths.

The Alberta Legislature did not sit this week but remains poised to do so if necessary. In Ottawa politicians returned to Parliament with a new plan for meeting during the pandemic that includes a limited number of MPs and both in person and virtual sessions. Additional COVID-19 supports were also announced by the Prime Minister for students and small businesses.

Below you’ll find a recap of other Government of Alberta announcements and Orders in Council.

Government of Alberta Announcements

  • A review launched in fall 2019 of Alberta’s market power mitigation framework has concluded the existing policy effectively protects against excessive market control from certain parties following the expiry of Power Purchase Arrangements.
  • The government launched a new Alberta Cares Connector program to connect volunteers with organizations in need as well as a volunteer recognition program to honour everyday heroes.
  • Additional funding of $7.3 million per month for Alberta’s continuing care facilities was announced by Health Minister Tyler Shandro to allow for increased staffing levels, a wage top-up for health care aides and additional student practicum positions.
  • Indigenous communities can apply for timeline extensions for industry consultations due to COVID-19.

Orders in Council

124/2020: Appoints Guy Buchanan and former MLA Wayne Drysdale and reappoints Jeffrey Dawson, Graham Gilchrist, J.A. (Jack) Jones, Paul Mazumdar, Dierdre Mullen, Diane Nickle and Gail Sokolan as members of the Municipal Government Board, each for a term to expire on April 30, 2023.

125/2020: Appoints Linda Banister as a member of The Board of Governors of Grant MacEwan University for a term to expire on April 21, 2023; reappoints Cameron Barr and Jasmine Nuthall as members of The Board of Governors of Grant MacEwan University, each for a term to expire on June 27, 2023, and effective June 28, 2020, appoints Robin Julian Martin and John Stelter as members of The Board of Governors of Grant MacEwan University, each for a term to expire on June 27, 2023.

126/2020: Appoints Mona Hale as a member of the board of The Governors of The University of Alberta for a term to expire on April 21, 2023.

127/2020: Appoints Roy Bjorklund as a member of The Board of Governors of Grande Prairie Regional College for a term to expire on April 21, 2023; effective July 12, 2020, designates Bridget Hennigar as chair of The Board of Governors of Grande Prairie Regional College.

128/2020: Appoints Tyrone Brass as a member of The Board of Governors of Keyano College for a further term to expire on April 21, 2023, and appoints Adele Thomson as a member of The Board of Governors of Keyano College for a term to expire on April 21, 2023.

129/2020: Appoints Jenny Adams and Jennifer Cleall as members of The Board of Governors of NorQuest College, each for a term to expire on April 21, 2023.

130/2020: Appoints David R. Erickson and Reynold Tetzlaff as members of the Board of Governors of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, each for a term to expire on April 21, 2023; effective July 4, 2020, appoints Susan Billington as a member of the Board of Governors of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for a term to expire on July 3, 2023.

131/2020: Authorizes the President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance to borrow up to $25 billion in Canadian dollars or its equivalent in other currencies.

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.

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