Open Letter to all Constituents of Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville Communities
MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville
For many of us, this time of year is an important time to observe religious traditions for Easter and Passover. These traditions can bring us comfort and community in challenging times. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, innovative new ways to connect with our faith communities and enjoy our holidays have emerged. Although we are practicing physical distancing, we do not have to feel alone, and I am proud of those organizations who have found ways to bring us together.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Albertans have stepped up to support frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19. In order to coordinate the hundreds of offers of medical supplies and other essential equipment from businesses and non-profits, our government has launched the Alberta Bits and Pieces Program. This program will accept offers of materials that are needed by front-line workers and make sure that they get where these materials are needed most. In its first week, Albertans have already stepped up to the plate and made more than 3,000 offers through the program. If you have any services or equipment to donate to Alberta’s COVID-19 response, I encourage you to visit Alberta.ca/bitsandpieces.
I am also pleased to share that our government is taking strong, immediate action to get Albertans back to work. This week, our government announced $2 billion in accelerated capital investment from the 2020 Capital Plan. The accelerated projects will resurface roads, repair bridges, restore schools, and fill potholes, all to get thousands of Albertans working through the COVID-19 recession. This doubles the planned capital maintenance for 2020-21, allowing government to work with companies province-wide and keep workers employed. While we face challenging times, our government is making investment today so that Albertans emerge from COVID-19 stronger and more
National Wildlife Week
This week, I would like to celebrate National Wildlife Week! Here in Alberta, we are incredibly blessed with a diverse natural environment. We share our province with more than 1,800 types of flowers, 400 species of birds, 90 mammal species, 18 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 65 species of fish. Even though Albertans are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can still take time to learn more about the many plants and animals who live here in our province.
Ambassador for Sport issues #HealthyatHomeAB challenge
While many Albertans are forced to stay home during the COVID-19, that does not mean that we can’t stay healthy. Regular physical activity is an important part of physical and mental wellness, especially as we adapt to our new normal. Olympic Champion and Alberta Ambassador for Sports, Erica Wiebe, has issued the Health at Home challenge, encouraging all Albertans to get outside or get their heart rate up for 15 to 30 minutes every day. I hope that all Albertans will take time every day to stay healthy at home, even if it has to be a little different from their usual routine.
Emergency Management Act amended for further clarity
Our government is taking immediate action to address the needs of municipal and provincial authorities and improve the coordination of their responses to pandemics. This week, our government introduced new amendments to the Emergency Management Act. If passed, these amendments will clarify the Act to allow them to apply in any pandemic situation, reduce administrative burdens for declaring local states of emergency, and make it an offence to defy orders made under states of emergency. As we face the challenge created by COVID-19, our government is putting forward legislation that will make sure all authorities can work effectively and keep Albertans safe.
Working to protect survivors of human trafficking
This week, our government continued to act on its promise to address human trafficking in our province. Bill 8, the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, was introduced this week to the Alberta Legislature for debate. If passed the legislation will take clear action to support trafficking survivors, including enabling police to take quicker actions to rescue survivors, allow survivors to sue traffickers, and create an annual awareness day to draw attention to this important issue. Our government is taking concrete action to support and empower survivors of this terrible crime, and hold perpetrators of this
New visitor restrictions in all continuing care facilities
In order to keep vulnerable Albertans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has ordered a province-wide ban on visitors to continuing care facilities. This ban on visits, except for in cases when a resident is dying, builds on restrictions implemented last week to ensure that all facilities in Alberta follow strict standards and prevent the risk of COVID-19 to vulnerable patients. These measures are not taken lightly, but they are critical to saving the lives of our loved ones from this pandemic.
COVID-19 modelling data released
This week, Alberta Health released its modelling projections outlining possible timelines of the COVID-19 pandemic. These projections highlight the importance of continuing aggressive countermeasures to protect the lives and livelihoods of Albertans in order to stop the pandemic and restart the economy. Based on the extensive testing that our province is doing, these projections suggest that public health orders could be in place until the end of May to protect the health and safety of Albertans. This modelling helps us prepare for the demands on Alberta’s health care system and province-wide response to the pandemic.
Keeping the supply chain open and moving during COVID-19
In this period of crisis, Albertans are relying more than ever on the strength of our supply chain. In order to ensure that goods keep moving during the COVID-19 pandemic, our government is making temporary changes to some commercial transport regulations. These changes include allowing truckers to work longer if safety conditions are met, exempt trucks from working at certain times of the day, and increasing the limits on weight on loads some vehicles can carry. These temporary changes still require that all safety requirements are met, and will allow commercial truck drivers can fill the demand for groceries, medical supplies, and other essential items.
Pandemic supports available for small businesses
I am pleased to share that there are new resources available to small businesses here in Alberta. The COVID-19 response has created serious challenges and uncertainty for small business owners in the past few weeks. Business Link is now available to help small businesses learn about and connect to available COVID-19 supports based on their unique business needs. The platform is offering free programming through June, including one to-one guidance and expert sessions with specialists to help small businesses survive this extremely difficult period. Small businesses are the backbone of our community, and programs like Business Link will be an important resource to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville