Dear friends and neighbours,
I would like to wish my constituents a Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season filled with joy, and the love of family and friends. I would also like to wish our friends in the Chinese community a Happy New Year filled with luck and good fortune, as the Year of the Ox begins on February 12, and the Ukrainian community a very blessed Christmas, which they will celebrate on January 7.
Recently, the Alberta Government announced bold measures to protect the lives and livelihoods of Albertans. This pandemic poses the greatest challenge our province has faced in more than a generation. Albertans must act together to protect the vulnerable and help stop the spike in COVID cases. By acting now, we can bend the curve and ensure our health care system has the capacity to protect Albertans. My office staff have received many enquiries regarding exemptions to COVID restrictions. To request an exemption, please send your request to [email protected]
Supports for Alberta’s Small Businesses:
Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of Alberta’s economy. The Alberta Government has been supporting job creators that have suffered the unfortunate impacts of COVID-19. In light of additional health measures, I am pleased to let you know that affected small and medium-sized businesses will receive additional support through the opportunity to apply for a second payment from the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant. For more information, please visit www.alberta.ca/sme-relaunch-grant.aspx.
The global health crisis, economic recession, and low oil prices have significantly affected Alberta’s finances. Our mid-year update shows improvement under responsible fiscal management in the face of the pandemic. Alberta’s government is projecting a $21.3-billion deficit for 2020-21, $2.8 billion less than the last quarter, largely due to improving revenue and government efforts to hold the line on spending. While there is a long road ahead to full recovery, Alberta’s economy is gradually emerging from the depths of the downturn. Alberta has also seen a significant rebound in employment already this year, recovering more than 258,000 of the 360,900 jobs lost between February and April.
Preparing for COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Alberta:
Alberta’s government is fully prepared to receive and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, and up to 435,000 Albertans will be offered vaccine in the first quarter 2021. Alberta’s government has appointed a new COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, which will be chaired by Municipal Affairs Deputy Minister, Lt. General (retired) Paul Wynnyk. This new Task Force will build off the extensive work that health officials have done to ensure Albertans get immunized as quickly as possible. For more information please visit https://www.alberta.ca/index.aspx.
Connecting Families, Removing Barriers to Adoption:
Bill 48, Red Tape Reduction Act 2020 (2), was introduced in the Legislature and if passed it will make it easier to access adoption information for adult adoptees, birth parents, and siblings.
Tougher and swifter penalties for impaired drivers:
Impaired driving has serious consequences for everyone on the road. One out of ten drivers involved in a fatal crash in Alberta was impaired at the time of the collision. Put simply, impaired driving is a crime, and it is avoidable. The Provincial Administrative Penalties Act empowers police to get impaired drivers off the streets immediately, alongside the new SafeRoads Alberta branch. Please visit https://www.alberta.ca/saferoads-alberta.aspx for more information.
Harnessing the power of civil society:
Our government is keeping our commitment to expand civil society capacity and help reduce social issues in Alberta, by launching the new Civil Society Fund. This is a $20 million, three-year fund that will help leverage the existing strengths of civil society organizations and help them deal with the significant impact the pandemic has had on organizations and communities. $7 million has been allocated for fiscal 2020/21, and applications are now being accepted at Alberta.ca/civil-society-fund.aspx. Civil society organizations such as charities, not-for-profits, and volunteer groups, as well as First Nations and Metis Settlements, can submit funding projects that have a positive impact on the civil society sector. Applications are due by January 20, 2021. Please visit https://www.alberta.ca/civil-society-fund.aspx for more information.
I want to thank my constituents who have reached out to me. As always, it is my great honour to serve as your MLA.
I wish all of you the best in 2021.
MLA Rajan Sawhney
MLA, for Calgary – North East
Minister of Community and Social Services
Proudly Serving the Communities of Livingston, Harvest Hill, Coventry Hills, Skyview, Redstone, Cityscape, and Cornerstone
MLA – Calgary North East Rajan Sawhney proudly serves the following Communities: Aurora Business Park, Cityscape, Cornerstone, Country Hills Village, Coventry Hills, Harvest Hills, Keystone Hills, Livingston, Redstone, Skyview Ranch, Stonegate Landing