MLA Update – Oct. 2, 2020

Posted Under: Jason Copping

COVID-19 Update

$2.1 million for innovative technology projects to help fight COVID-19
Our government is funding seven Alberta-based researchers with $2.1 million.  Alberta has world-class colleges and technical schools with innovative thinkers, world-class researchers and exceptional problem solvers that are tackling the challenges of COVID-19. Alberta is a recognized leader in post-secondary research for a number of sectors – including health sciences – and is one of Canada’s three major artificial intelligence hubs. 

The money will fund research on projects ranging from developing new antibody tests to using machine learning to predict and prevent the spread. Five of these projects are at the University of Alberta and two are at the University of Calgary. 

Alberta hits milestone with over 1 million tests
More than one million people in Alberta have now been tested for COVID-19, this is more per capita than B.C., Ontario or Quebec.

Alberta was among the first provinces to open up testing to all travellers, and was the first to offer asymptomatic testing and the first to work with community pharmacies to expand capacity.

Our government thanks public health officials at AHS and Alberta Precision Labs for the hard work they have done and will continue to do.

The government will continue to work to strengthen the lab system, to reduce wait times and speed up test results.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is approaching and it is a time when we get together with our family and friends and celebrate all that we are thankful for.  This year I know for many the long weekend will look different.  You may be having a smaller dinner, talking virtually to your family or hosting something outdoors. 

As you plan for the holiday, be mindful of the advice of Dr. Hinshaw.  Although this has been an especially tough year for Albertans, I am thankful for all of you who continue to be responsible to prevent the spread.

Government Update


Alberta’s mineral potential
As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, our government has struck an expert panel to help the province diversify its economy and become a world leader in mineral resource production.  The five-member Mineral Advisory Council will help government unlock Alberta’s vast, untapped geological potential for various minerals that are in increasing global demand. These minerals include lithium, vanadium, uranium, rare earth elements, diamonds, and potash – many of which are used to manufacture batteries, cell phones, energy storage cells, and other modern products.

This potential, along with the province’s reputation as a leader in responsible resource development, puts Alberta in a good position to become a preferred international producer and supplier of minerals and mineral products. 

You can find further information on the panel here

University of Calgary to establish the new University Innovation Quarter (UIQ)
Alberta’s government has completed work to enable the University of Calgary to enter a new era of innovation and growth.

Minister of Infrastructure Prasad Panda has approved a 130-year lease for the University Innovation Quarter lands at the University of Calgary, officially transferring all ownership of the lands to the University Innovation Quarter Trust (UIQT). The trust will develop the 77.4-acre lands, formerly known as the University Research Park.

Now, the University of Calgary will establish the new University Innovation Quarter (UIQ) – a research park dedicated to commercializing innovation and new technologies from university research and attracting new research-oriented industries to Alberta. The UIQ will support the creation of up to 6,300 direct new jobs over the next 20 years, including 4,500 jobs in the private sector. Many of the jobs created will be in emerging sectors of the economy, including biomed and life sciences, IT and energy tech.

Cutting methane and creating jobs
Alberta’s government recently announced $750 million for technology and emissions reduction programs through the TIER fund and other public funding. This will directly support 3,400 jobs and up to 8,700 jobs when investments from industry and other funding sources are included, with a total of $1.9 billion being injected into the economy.

This investment includes $52 million for methane programs that will create jobs in the oil and gas sector and cut about 1.5 megatonnes of emissions right away, while also setting the stage for future job growth and reduced emissions after projects are complete.

You can read more on TIER here

Turning Alberta’s research and innovation into jobs and investment
The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Red Deer College and Olds College are receiving almost $2.1 million in grants through the province’s Research Capacity Program (RCP). The money will help these post-secondary institutions perform cutting-edge research in areas like 3D printing, clean energy technology and smart agriculture, helping companies in these fields use this research to grow and expand.

These projects will showcase the innovative spirit that exists at Alberta’s post-secondary’s, and will help diversify the province’s economy by training Albertans with technical skills in new and emerging technologies.

Canadian Energy Centre
The Canadian Energy Centre was established to bring awareness about our energy industry.  We are among the most responsibly produced energy sources on the planet, under the most stringent environmental regulations in the world. Focused on research and facts, I would like to share some of the work of the CEC.  

The wealth of oil and gas workers – Energy industry paid more than $12 billion to employees from other provinces between 2002 and 2016.  

Energy oil and gas firm comparisons by size and country – Canada’s energy sector has a higher proportion of small businesses than other major goods-producing sectors, with the exception of construction. 

Resource sector provides jobs for 28,000 new Canadians – The number of landed immigrants employed in the resource sector grew from 22,000 in 2006 to a high 33,600 in 2014, and in 2019 stood at 28,800. 

International comparisons on gas flaring – There has been a 38 per cent reduction in flaring from oil and gas emissions in Canada in 2018 relative to 2014, even though the production rose by 22 per cent.

In Our Community

AGAT Laboratories
It was a great pleasure to join my colleagues, the Honourable Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, and MLA Jeremy Nixon of Calgary-Klein, to learn about AGAT Laboratories.  AGAT Labs is a full service analytical laboratory solutions company servicing the Mining, Environmental, Energy, Industrial, Food, Life Sciences and Transportation sectors. With its main office in Calgary, AGAT has an additional 43 locations across Canada.Through their 40-year history, AGAT Labs has proven that diversification and investment in the Alberta marketplace can lead to long term success. Despite numerous economic recessions that have hit the company over its tenure, it has continued to grow and expand because of this diversification. AGAT has been able to remain privately owned and fully Canadian despite the competitive landscape being overtaken by foreign entities. The company has also found a way to bridge relationships across Canada by supporting the economy and industries at the heart of other provinces and territories.

I also want to thank the DeSanti Family and Woitas Family for their contribution to giving back to society with a donation being made through the AGAT Foundation to the Prostate Cancer Centre to support the Man Van and mental health.

Dr. Peter B. R. Allen Lifetime Achievement in Health Award 
Alberta’s government is seeking nominations to celebrate people who have dedicated their lives to improving the health-care system and patient outcomes in the province. Dr. Peter Allen was an Alberta neurosurgeon who spent four decades mastering techniques in the operating room, building rapport through kindness and generosity with patients and coworkers alike, and listening closely to ensure he treated people holistically, beyond the neurosurgical condition they faced.

Eligible nominees may come from diverse backgrounds across all health sectors, clinical professions and designations, such as:

  • nurses who have provided, advocated and led improvements in care in emergency rooms or patient homes
  • doctors who have improved the way patients access care in their communities
  • health-care workers who have dedicated their lives to putting patients at the centre of their work with personalized, individual care, using cutting-edged techniques and advocating those techniques be made available to Albertans

Nominations for the inaugural Dr. Peter B. R. Allen Lifetime Achievement in Health close November 9, 2020.

Banff Trail Community Association AGM
I was pleased to be out in the community at the Banff Trail Community Association’s AGM.  Thank you to all the volunteers who continue to contribute their time to the community and give back.  A big thank you to outgoing board members Andy Boothman, Tracy Thompson, and John Bannerman for your service and hard work over the years.  Congratulations to Rolland Lequier for being named the new president of the board.  I look forward to working with you and the community over the next year.

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

Do you believe Alberta’s Recovery Plan (pages 20-29) will diversify Alberta’s economy?
Not sure

To answer go to

Thank you to those who took the time to answer the last survey question:  I will be hosting another townhall this fall.  What topic/issue would you most like to hear about at a townhall?

Health care – 27%
K-12 education – 7%
Jobs & Economy – 33%
Environment & Parks – 7%
Other – 27%

Share This