Alberta Minute: Cancer Screenings, Electricity Rates, and Budget Survey Open
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature is adjourned and there are no Committee meetings until January 10th, when the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future will meet. We are expecting an announcement on the new sitting calendar shortly.
The Province is seeking public input regarding Budget 2023. A variety of questions are being posed, including which sectors you think the government should focus its diversification efforts on and how you think the Province should manage a potential surplus. An online survey is open until January 15th and can be accessed on the Government of Alberta’s website.
- Alberta has the lowest gas prices in the country thanks in part to the removal of the provincial fuel tax. The average price in Alberta comes in at around 11 cents lower than the same time last year. Since the fuel tax was first suspended in April 2022, Albertans have saved roughly $850 million.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Minister of Infrastructure, Nathan Neudorf, announced that public-private partnerships (P3s) would no longer be the preferred way to build schools. Despite a push from the Kenney government to build schools in a collaborative way between government agencies and private-sector companies, just 5 of the 48 projects in the education sector have used the model so far. Neudorf cited several challenges with the P3 model, including the potential for high-cost contractors, private sector restrictions on the buildings, and the desire for schools to be built in conjunction with community amenities like recreation centres. P3s will still be used for roads, hospitals, and other projects where it makes financial sense.
The Province announced a plan to temporarily cap electricity for those on the regulated rate option in order to protect customers from price spikes. A temporary price ceiling of 13.5 cents per kWh for January will be in effect, and any costs above that price will have to be repaid over a 21-month period between April 2023 and December 2024. The natural gas rebate will not be triggered this month, as the price falls just short of the $6.50 per gigajoule needed to do so, however some households will receive $75 bill rebates for January and February.
- Alberta became the first province to lower the recommended age for breast cancer screening. Alberta Health Services is providing at-home screening kits and mobile mammogram clinics in addition to lowering the recommended age from 50 to 45. The health authority anticipates that 12,000 more mammograms will be performed annually as a result of the changes.
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