Jason Copping: MLA Update – Aug 31, 2021

Posted Under: Jason Copping

The end of August means one thing for most Albertan parents – back to school. I know some of you are feeling hesitant about sending your kids back, but I assure you there is a comprehensive back to school plan to keep students and staff safe. As a father of three daughters who will be returning to school, I know we need to get this right.

Today the first quarter fiscal update was released.  I am happy to share that the economic and revenue forecasts are significantly improved over budget estimates, however a large deficit remains and the province’s economy is not yet fully recovered. There is also good news on the job front as Albert added 73,000 jobs since the start of the year and has now recovered nearly 90 per cent of the jobs lost since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can read the full update here.  

In this edition you will also see me getting out in the community to celebrate National Convenience Week.  I also share with you how we are supporting our aviation industry by creating the Strategic Aviation Advisory Council. Albertans in aviation have faced significant challenges throughout the pandemic. Our government wants to ensure those in aviation can get back on their feet and back to work.

We also have some exciting events coming up in the constituency that I look forward to seeing you at. This includes my very own Back to School BBQ.

As always, if you have questions or would like to share your feedback please reach out to my office at http://calgary.varsity@assembly.ab.ca


Government updates

Back to school plan
As you may know, Minister LaGrange announced the back to school plan a couple of weeks ago of weeks ago. With children under 12 unable to be vaccinated at this time, I understand that there may be some anxiety associated with this year’s return to school. The safety of students and staff continues to be the Government of Alberta’s number one priority. 

Key elements of this plan include:Students and school staff should screen daily for symptoms using the Alberta Health Daily Checklist,Students and school staff must isolate if they have the core COVID-19 symptoms or test positive.In addition, school boards have been given the flexibility to put in place additional measures. For example, the Calgary school boards have put in place a mask requirement for staff and students.  

Government will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and the direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Our government will also continue to work with our education stakeholders, including school boards across Alberta, and will make changes as necessary to ensure a safe and successful school year.

Third vaccine dose available September 1
 Starting September 1, third doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available for all seniors living in congregate care facilities, immunocompromised Albertans and those who are travelling to a jurisdiction that does not accept visitors who have been vaccinated with Covishield/AstraZeneca or mixed doses.

You can book your COVID-19 vaccine here.

New Strategic Aviation Advisory Council 
A new Strategic Aviation Advisory Council (SAAC) will advise government on how the aviation and aerospace sector can boost economic growth in Alberta. Eight newly appointed council members have experience in aviation, tourism, business and economic development. The SAAC will recommend strategies to bolster Alberta’s aviation industry such as:

Pilot training
Air cargo services
Aerospace research and development
Aviation services to support agriculture and emergency medical and fire responseAlberta airport and airline passenger traffic declined significantly due to COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. In 2020, about two-thirds fewer passengers went through the Calgary International Airport and Edmonton International Airport compared to 2019. Alberta’s aerospace and defence sector ranges from air transportation to drones.

Upcoming Community Events

National Convenience Week
 Today I was pleased to visit Grocery Banff Trail Soleil to wish the owners, workers, and all of you a very happy National Convenience Week. You can watch my conversation with Jay, owner of Banff Trail Soleil Convenience Store here

Tour of Woods Homes
I had the opportunity to join my Calgary caucus colleagues at a tour of Woods Homes. It was great to visit their facility and learn more about the important work that they do for children’s mental health. 

Brentwood Community Association AGM
The Brentwood Community Association is hosting their annual general meeting on September 1 at 7pm. It will take place at the Brentwood Sportsplex Hall and registration begins at 6:30pm. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet the city councilor candidates for Ward 4.  

Parkdale Pet Fest
Parkdale Community Association is once again holding its annual Pet Fest.  I am pleased this year to attend and have a booth set up to meet with constituents.  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Banff Trail Community Association AGM
 The Banff Trail Community Association is hosting their annual general meeting on September 18 at 10am and it will take place at the Banff Trail community centre.  
Calgary-Varsity Back to School BBQ

I want your feedback.  Please take a moment to answer the following question.

Do you plan to attend my Back to School BBQ?

a/ Yes
b/ No
c/ Not sure

To answer please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/N3MWG2X.

Thank you to those who took time to answer the previous survey question:

Do you support Dr. Hinshaw’s announcement to maintain COVID-19 measures for another six weeks?

a/ Yes  – 86%
b/ No  – 12%
c/ Not sure  – 2%
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