Devon/ Drayton Valley MLA Mark Smith

Devon/ Drayton Valley MLA Mark Smith

MLA Mark Smith: Programs and planning in recovery plan

Edmonton has been chosen as one of the main NHL hub cities! This is a testament to our consistent progress forward as we combat COVID-19 and our world-class infrastructure. As our province continues reopening, our government will ensure support is in place to help struggling Albertans and create good jobs.

The overwhelming majority of Albertans are following instructions from public health officials and taking precautions to protect the most at-risk among us. The world is witnessing our success and there is no doubt this factored into the decision to make Edmonton an NHL hub city.

I am pleased to share that our Economic Recovery Plan includes $25 million to support the construction of five life-changing recovery communities for the holistic treatment of mental health and addiction.

This will add 400 treatment beds to Alberta – a 30 per cent increase in capacity. Approximately 400 people will be employed during the construction of the five recovery communities, that will each employ 35-50 people once operational.

Our evidence-based approach to substance use recovery is already used in more than 65 countries around the world, including the highly regarded Portuguese model. These recovery communities will serve Albertans who require long-term stay to support their recovery from addiction.

Our government is also working to enhance financial literacy in classrooms through grant partnerships with Enriched Academy and Junior Achievement chapters in Alberta. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, Enriched Academy will pilot an online financial education program for up to 4,000 students in grades 10-12. In the same school year, Junior Achievement’s Southern and Northern Alberta chapters will collaborate on providing 4,500 students with hands-on, experiential financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship education. Financial literacy is critical to the success of our children, the partnerships our government has established give school authorities and teachers more program options this fall to choose from to ensure students achieve essential learning outcomes.

First Nations must be a part of Alberta’s economic recovery from the COVID recession, that’s why our government is taking action to ensure Indigenous companies and communities benefit from participation in our $1 billion Site Rehabilitation Program (SRP).

This includes appointing an Indigenous liaison to help facilitate Indigenous participation in the program, and establishing an ongoing working group with Indigenous communities and companies. Through the first round of the SRP, Backwoods Energy, owned by the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, has been approved to conduct closure work on 55 sites on Enoch Cree Nation. Another Indigenous company, Western Petroleum Management, was approved to conduct work on 257 sites across the province.

The response we are hearing from Indigenous communities to this program is overwhelmingly positive and we are looking forward to providing the tools they need to become the economic powerhouses we all know they can be.

— MLA Mark Smith