Alberta News in Brief for October 31

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 11:28am


Second degree murder charges laid after assault death

October 31, 2016. Jordan Hector Soloway, 29, from Elk Point, has been charged with second degree murder in the death of a 32-year-old male from the Kehewin First Nation. The man succumbed to his injuries while in hospital and was pronounced deceased on Oct. 17. An autopsy was conducted at the office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Edmonton and additional tests are pending.  Soloway had initially been charged with aggravated assault following the Sept. 5 incident. Soloway remains in custody and is scheduled to attend Bonnyville Provincial Court on Nov. 1. RCMP are not releasing the name of the victim.


Treaty 8 COO named to province’s energy efficiency agency

October 31, 2016. Joseph Jobin, chief operating officer of Treaty 8 First Nations, has been named as one of six members on the province’s newly-created Energy Efficiency Alberta agency. Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office Shannon Phillips has tasked the agency with promoting and supporting energy efficiency and community energy systems (including micro-generation and small-scale generation) for homes, businesses and communities.

Initial programs include a direct install residential program, a residential consumer products program, and a business, non-profit and institutional rebate program. The agency will be chaired by David Dodge, from Green Energy Futures.


Athabasca University, FNHMA establish credit transfer agreement

October 31, 2016. The First Nations Health Managers Association has reached a transfer of credit articulation agreement with Athabasca University. The agreement outlines the transfer of credits that can be awarded to an individual for the FNHMA’s certified First Nations health management program. "This is a landmark moment for FNHMA, as our members now have the opportunity to continue their education journey should they wish to do so,” said FNHMA Executive Director Marion Crowe. “This demonstrates and acknowledges the level of competence and knowledge gained from participating in the FNHMA courses." FNHMA is a key organization involved in expanding health management capacity for First Nations. Athabasca University is one of the world's fastest growing online and distance education institutions, serving over 40,000 students. AU has a long-standing practice of working collaboratively with other Canadian and international post-secondary educational institutions, with professional associations and employer groups, and with First Nations institutions and communities to facilitate access to university-level study.


Government introduces new measures in plan against opioids

October 31, 2016. The province is implementing a range of new tools to address overdoses and deaths related to fentanyl and other opioids. The new measures are improving the collection and publishing of data to better target interventions; expanding access to opioid replacement therapy; funding several community agencies working to establish supervised consumption sites; and improving prescription drug monitoring and implementing new tools to prevent prescription drug misuse in partnership with the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta. “We are working closely with our community partners and affected families to ensure we are making the right investments,” said Brandy Payne, associate minister of health. The latest information on fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta indicates 47 people died during the third quarter of 2016. That compares to 81 during the previous three-month period and 66 in the third quarter of 2015. As of Sept. 30, 2016, 193 people died of apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl in Alberta this year compared with 205 fentanyl-related deaths during the same period in 2015. The province is asking the Chief Medical Officer of Health to take action to further expand access to harm reduction services, especially opioid replacement therapy. Liberal leader David Swann had been pushing the government for months to change the way it was fighting against opioid overdose and addiction and to be more forthcoming with the collection and dissemination of data. “It’s far too early in this epidemic to claim any successes but this small dip in tragic and preventable deaths is encouraging,” Swann said.


Province to study need for supervised consumption services

October 31, 2016. The province is allocating funding to explore the need for supervised consumption services in Alberta. These health services are shown to prevent overdose deaths and improve access to medical and social supports to vulnerable people and are not found to increase drug use and criminal activity. A $230,000 grant to Access to Medically Supervised Injection Services Edmonton will support the community engagement process and the development of a proposal to initiate the federal application process. A $500,000 grant will allow other Alberta communities, where needle exchange programs are in place, to assess their need for supervised consumption services. “Our coalition of organizations and individuals recognize the need and value in adding supervised consumption services in Edmonton. This is an evidence-based practice adding to the spectrum of prevention, harm reduction, and treatment services,” said Shelley Williams, of AMSISE.


Province starts process of electoral boundary review

October 31, 2016. The province has appointed Justice Myra Bielby to chair the Electoral Boundaries Commission. Bielby has been a Court of Appeal judge since 2010. The Electoral Boundaries Commission reviews the province’s electoral boundaries, which involves the size and shape of the ridings. The commission will hold public hearings and make recommendations to the legislature in time for the next general election. Other members of the commission will be appointed shortly.