Alberta Minute: Legislature Returns, Provincial Budget, and Health Care Funding
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
After a hiatus that spanned nearly two months, the Legislature will resume on Tuesday and the budget will be introduced. This will be the last session before the upcoming provincial election which is expected on May 29th, 2023.
While the fine details of the provincial budget are under wraps until its release on Tuesday, some announcements from the Province indicate that Albertans can expect to see funding for municipal police services, increased support for Ukrainian newcomers, and bolstered health care funding (more on these items below!)
- The Province plans to include funding in the budget to support municipalities that want to move away from RCMP policing. Funding will include a commitment of $9.7 million for Grande Prairie should they decide to create a municipal police force. The Province has no plans to force municipalities to abandon the RCMP.
Last Week In Alberta:
- Premier Danielle Smith announced a $275 million investment into addiction and mental health care in Alberta, with priorities that include increasing harm-reduction programs, supporting Indigenous partnerships for addictions treatment, and expanding recovery and treatment access. The plan includes building six recovery communities across the province, with Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Gunn set to open this year, and another three being designed soon. There will be 700 new treatment beds in the Province once all six are up and running.
Alberta’s Auditor General released a report showing that urgent overhauls are needed in continuing care homes to prevent staff burnout and inadequate resident care. According to the report, only 15% of care home staff worked full-time, with the other 85% working casual or part-time hours. When Alberta’s former Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, restricted staff from working at more than one care home in an attempt to stop them from spreading COVID-19 between facilities, it reduced the staffing pool drastically. Health Minister Jason Copping said the government is working on the eight recommendations provided in the report.
- The Province announced a $243 million funding commitment to help improve access to family doctors. A large chunk of the money - $125 million - will be used to implement recommendations from advisory panels on how best to improve the health care system, while $12 million will go toward improving IT systems across the province. A final report with a recommended strategy for improvements to primary care will be completed in the spring.
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