Alberta Minute: Universities Delayed, COVID Tests, and Unions Want Another Lockdown
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
While the Legislature continues its break for a few more weeks, Committees are back at it. The Select Special Committee to Examine Safe Supply will meet on Tuesday at 9:00 am to discuss their mandate and the scope of their work.
The Government of Alberta is having difficulty supplying rapid antigen tests to schools. At the time of writing, it is up in the air whether or not they will be able to make good on a commitment to deliver 4 million tests by January 24th. Health Minister Jason Copping says Alberta is waiting on 16 million tests from the federal government that were supposed to arrive by month’s end. Pharmacies are also facing shortages.
- In-person learning was set to resume at post-secondary institutions across Alberta this Friday, after the universities extended winter break to deal with the rise in COVID-19 cases. However, universities are now delaying the return of in-person learning yet again, citing the high rate of Omicron infections in Alberta. Students at the two largest schools - the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta - will be attending classes online until at least late February.
Last Week In Alberta:
The United Nurses of Alberta, the Alberta Teachers' Association and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees called for a wide-ranging lockdown to halt increasing COVID-19 infections. Yes, COVID infections are climbing, however, it’s been almost two full years of life being upended by COVID-19. We know what we are facing, and people can decide for themselves what is safe and what is unsafe.
- China, South Korea, and the Philippines suspended the import of Canadian beef after BSE was found in an Alberta cow in late December. The (mildly) good news is that this particular case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was atypical, meaning it is a form that can occur naturally in older cattle rather than being associated with any kind of contamination. The suspension is hoped to be short-lived as the cow had not entered the food supply or animal feed chain.
- The provincial government announced a new immigration stream specific to the tech sector. The Accelerated Tech Pathway will help tech professionals become permanent residents if they can fill a labour shortage in the sector or plan to buy or start a business in Alberta. Those applicants with job offers for tech occupations will be fast-tracked through the immigration process.
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