MLA Update September 18, 2020

Posted Under: Jason Copping

COVID-19 Update

With the official start to fall just around the corner many of you are back into the new normal routine of school and activities.  Of course with fall and colder weather means we are hitting flu season.  The flu added to the COVID-19 virus will mean that we need to be extra vigilant when we are out in the community.  Although there is not a COVID-19 vaccination, I do encourage you to consider getting the flu shot this year.  You can find further information on influenza immunization through AHS.

I also want to remind you that many of our communities have a “CARE” program to support our neighbours and community members who may find it difficult to get out and get groceries, run errands or who need to self-isolate due to COVID.  If you are able to help please reach out to your local community association to see how you can volunteer.

Accessing COVID-19 test results
Albertans can receive their COVID-19 test results from AHS through an SMS text message or an automated phone call.   Individuals who book a COVID-19 test through or drop in for testing at an AHS assessment centre can now choose to get their results through these methods. Anyone who does not consent to receiving results via text message or through an automated phone call will instead receive their results through a call from an AHS team member.

MyHealth Records quick access
Albertans age 14 and up can access the MyHealth Records (MHR) tool immediately after signing up without waiting for mail-out verification.

  • Users can see their COVID-19 test results as soon as they are ready.
  • More than 250,000 Albertans have MHR accounts.

Risk assessment tool
The online risk assessment tool can help people identify if they are at high risk of having a severe outcome. The tool also provides information on how to mitigate that risk.

Continuing care
Starting Sept. 17, continuing care facilities and hospices will have more flexibility with isolation requirements, recreation, dining and volunteers. This new risk-based approach will increase flexibility when risk is low without reducing the overall protections in place.

Government update

Improving parks and creating jobs
Our government will be investing $43 million to enhance, repair and protect our parks while creating more than 290 jobs. This investment will be used to improve trails, pathways and upgrade day-use areas and campgrounds across Alberta. 

Government will also be strengthening ties with non-profits and conservation societies to help maintain and protect our parks and Crown land. I want to personally thank the many volunteers and non-profit societies who put in their time and energy to conserve our ecology. 

Parks and public lands capital project include:

  • Site modernization (22 projects):  refurbishing and replacing infrastructure such as toilets and group-use areas, new landscaping, and improving parking.
  • Maintenance (11 projects and Alberta Parks’ regional lifecycle maintenance program):  repairing and maintaining existing infrastructure throughout the system, including campgrounds, facilities, structures, playgrounds and landscaping.  
  • Trails, recreation and accessibility (32 projects):  in collaboration with local partners, improving motorized and non-motorized recreation activities in parks and public lands.
  • Utilities (11 projects):  improving and replacing water supply and wastewater infrastructure in provincial parks. 
  • Campgrounds (11 projects): improving traditional, equestrian, and rustic campgrounds.

Capital funding by region for parks and public lands:

  • Kananaskis Region Parks – $15,230,000\
  • South Region Parks – $7,208,000
  • Northeast Region Parks – $7,195,500
  • Central Region Parks – $4,475,000
  • Northwest Region Parks – $2,435,000
  • Public lands (across Alberta) – $6,156,000
  • Provincial accessibility projects (TBD) – $500,000

Surgical recovery plan
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta Health Services postponed all non-urgent, elective surgeries last spring to deal with the expected surge of COVID-19 patients.  This reduced surgical activity to 60 per cent.  This approach was similar to other provinces.  Recognizing the lower impact of COVID-19, AHS has ramped up capacity and is now performing almost 85 per cent of pre-pandemic surgical volume, and we continue to ramp up more aggressively than other provinces.

The Surgical Recovery Plan, an important aspect of the Alberta Surgical Wait-Times Initiative, calls for surgical activity to reach pre-pandemic levels by this fall, increasing to 125 per cent of pre-COVID levels and up to 150 per cent as needed by 2021. 

Our objective is to ensure that patients will receive the surgery they need at high quality, safe facilities when they need it, and within clinically recommended wait times. 

Investment and growth strategy
Our government has released the investment and growth strategy, which is a long-term plan to attract investment and diversify Alberta’s economy. As the first step, Alberta will be consulting that we are going to be modernizing our intellectual property laws in order to make us the best place for innovation investment.
Our government is aggressively pursuing investment from around the world to bring jobs back to Alberta. As our first step, we are announcing that Alberta is coming to play when it comes to tech and innovation, with a consultation on modernizing Alberta’s intellectual property laws, in order to make Alberta the most attractive place for investors.

We will be rolling out many of the sector strategies listed in the Economic Recovery Plan in conjunction with the Investment and Growth Strategy.  The strategy is a plan to create jobs and diversify Alberta’s economy

Alberta must be prepared to compete in the global marketplace because every jurisdiction will be pursuing similar investment opportunities.

In our community

Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs – new entrance
I was pleased this week to be at the opening of the new entrance for the Botanical Gardens in Silver Springs.  Thanks to the generous donations through the Brick campaign and to the countless hours by the volunteers and community members who contribute their time to keep the gardens thriving for us to all enjoy.  

As we are all staying closer to home, I encourage you to get out to this year-round garden and enjoy a walk through Calgary’s hidden gem.

The Brick Fundraiser is continuing and if you would like to contribute please visit BGSS

McMahon Stadium 
I was pleased to be able to meet with the McMahon Stadium Society and tour the grounds.  There may not have been football here this season due to COVID-19, but Calgary-Varsity is blessed to have this amazing stadium in our backyard.

Parkdale Community – First accessible outdoor rink
Did you know that the Parkdale Community Association is replacing its outdoor rink?  I want to congratulate the volunteers and community members who are replacing the old rink with one that is redesigned to be fully accessible and inclusive for sledge hockey players and people with all abilities.  This will be the first accessible outdoor rink in Calgary and Western Canada.

I am looking forward to seeing this new outdoor arena. If you want to make a contribution please visit here

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

I will be hosting another townhall this fall.  What topic/issue would you most like to hear about at a townhall?
a.  Health care
b.  Education
c.  Jobs and the economy
d.  Environment and parks
e.  Other _________________________

To answer go to

Thank you to those who took the time to answer the last survey question:  The Alberta deficit is $24.2 billion.  Do you think the government has invested:
Too much – 31.25%
Not enough – 31.25%
Appropriately – 37.50%

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