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MLA newsletter for May

Alberta at Work

As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the Alberta at Work initiative will announce investments in various job-training programs to get Albertans the employment supports they need, so they can take advantage of this economic boom. Five ministries are working together to support new and transitioning workers to help them succeed in a rapidly changing job market. Labour and Immigration is investing $64 million into programs to help Albertans gain work experience and essential work training. Advanced Education is investing $235 million into programs to support enrollment growth, micro credentials and expanded apprentice education. Community and Social Services is investing $20 million this year to assist long-term unemployed people return to work. Alberta’s government is moving forward with investments in job training that will support Albertans on their career path, providing them with the skills needed today and into the future.

More Support for Truck Driver Training

Commercial driving grants totaling $30 million over three years will support unemployed and underemployed Albertans returning to the workforce, while ensuring that drivers receive mandatory training that helps them be safe on the road.

Annual funding of $10 million for the next three years is earmarked for the Driving Back to Work program to encourage more women to enter the trucking industry and for online and simulator training.  Commercial drivers will also have the option to do their Class 1 road test in either an automatic or manual transmission vehicle starting in early 2023. This change recognizes the reality of the modern trucking industry where more than half of the trucks on Alberta roads have automatic transmissions. Drivers who are tested and passed on an automatic transmission will be limited to driving automatic trucks only.

More scholarships supporting women in STEM

As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, a record number of students will receive the Women in STEM Scholarship this year.  This scholarship supports women studying in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, areas in which women are often under-represented. This year, $732,500 is being distributed to 293 students. This one-time top-up funding will mean 243 more students are receiving funding than last year. Each will receive $2,500 to pay for their studies. When women are supported in pursuing careers in which they are often under-represented, they have new opportunities to reach their full potential, support their families and contribute to Alberta’s growing knowledge-based economy.

Fighting the federal firearm ban

Alberta chief firearms officer Teri Bryant is raising concerns with the federal firearm ban.

Her letter to Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino details several issues Albertans have with the 2020 federal ban. The federal measure prohibits more than 1,500 models of firearms and other related firearm components. It also calls for an amnesty period and a federal program to acquire and destroy the firearms. The banning of an arbitrary selection of firearms and imposing unfair costs and controls on law-abiding gun owners reflects a main concern of Albertans: firearms policies and regulations should be evidence-based instead of ineffective measures that target law-abiding citizens rather than criminals.

New Literacy and numeracy screening assessments

Starting in September 2022, Alberta’s government will now require school authorities to administer language and math screening assessments for students in grades 1 – 3 to help those who are struggling get back on track. Alberta Education will establish consistent beginning, middle, and end-of-year norms for the assessments to measure student results. These assessments will help address Covid-19 related learning loss by ensuring that both parents and teachers understand and assess progress in struggling learners during their critical early years. This builds on the $45 million Alberta’s government provided to school authorities this school year to identify struggling learners and provide interventions and support for the pandemic-related learning disruptions Grade 1-3 students experienced. The screening tools, lens and CC3, have been developed in both English and French by world-class researchers and have been successfully used in the last year to accurately identify the children in need of additional supports.

Relief from high inflation for continuing care residents

Our government will reduce the impact of high inflation on continuing care residents by paying the first three months of this year’s annual increase in accommodation charges for them.  As a part of Alberta’s recovery plan, we are providing $10.4 million to continuing care operators, on behalf of residents, to offset one-quarter of this year’s increase in accommodation charges for Albertans in long-term care and designated supportive living. Operators are permitted by legislation to raise accommodation rates each July 1 by the rate of inflation over the previous year. This year’s increase will be 5.5 per cent. The government will pay operators directly for the increase for July 1 to Sept. 30.

Funding civil society to support economic recovery

New funding for the Civil Society Fund will support 37 projects, helping vulnerable Albertans and contributing to the province’s social and economic recovery.  The Edson Friendship Centre was one of the recipients.

“For over thirty years, the Edson Friendship Centre has opened their doors to our community, helping Albertans from all backgrounds navigate times of challenge. Their support to Indigenous youth and families has been integral to our region, and I am proud of what they have achieved to make our province a better place to live.” 

Martin Long, MLA
West Yellowhead

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