Join online discussions and declare October 1 International Day of Older Persons in your community
The Alberta Council on Aging is asking municipalities to declare October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons. International Day of Older Persons is a day to recognize and acknowledge older Albertans and their contributions to our communities; raise awareness about seniors’ interests and concerns; and address misconceptions about older persons and aging.
The Alberta Council on Aging is also launching the Let’s Stop Ageism campaign on October 1. Incorporating digital marketing, arts-based events, and educational programming, this campaign will address ageism head on, raise awareness, promote discussion, and invite community members of all ages to embrace and celebrate older people. Participate on social media using the hashtag #LetsStopAgeism.
For a media tool kit to get involved with the Let’s Stop Ageism campaign, click here.
RMA board members had the opportunity to discuss important issues for rural Alberta with Environment and Parks Minister, Hon. Jason Nixon
RMA had the opportunity to meet with Environment and Parks Minister, the Honourable Jason Nixon last week. Minister meetings are crucial for building relationships with the new government and discussing issues of importance for rural Alberta. The following key areas were discussed with Minister Nixon:
Water Act Approvals
Delays in the Water Act approvals process have financial implications for municipalities.
The importance of reviewing the current Water Act approval process to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to improve and streamline the Water Act process.
Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) Review
The need for a review that focuses on AER accountability. The current ongoing AER review focuses on streamlining the regulatory review process to support industrial development. RMA suggested a second review focused on the AER approval process for license transfers and the AER liability management rating to better prevent insolvencies.
Regional Land-use Planning
Delays in regional land-use plans have left municipalities in limbo as they develop their own municipal land-use plans without overarching provincial direction.
The importance of reviewing the current land-use framework process to address critiques and revise issues that result in delays and the bogging down of the system.
The importance of balancing economic development with environmental responsibility.
Caribou Range Planning Update
RMA will be engaged in caribou sub-regional task forces to advise government on land-use planning on a local scale and expressed the importance of working together to balance conservation methods without negatively affecting economic development.
Agriculture Plastics and Recycling
While there is an agricultural plastics recycling pilot program, a permanent program for all agricultural plastics is necessary.
Incident investigations are intended to determine the cause of an incident, to identify unsafe conditions or acts, and to recommend corrective actions so that similar incidents don't occur in the future. The purpose is prevention, not blame. It is always important for your organization to investigate incidents on its own to be able to better understand and learn from the incident. But how do you investigate? Below is a list of six steps to help get your organization moving in the right direction.
Step 1 – Immediate action
In the event of an incident, immediate action to be taken may include making the area safe, preserving the scene, and notifying relevant parties. The investigation begins even at this early stage, by collecting perishable evidence, e.g. CCTV tapes, samples, and photographic or video evidence.
Step 2 – Plan the investigation
Planning ensures that the investigation is systematic and complete.
What resources will be required?
Who will be involved?
How long will the investigation take?
For severe or complex incidents, an investigation team will be more effective than a single investigator.
Step 3 – Data collection
Information about the incident is available from numerous sources, not only people involved or witnesses to the event, but also from equipment, documents, and the scene of the incident.
Step 4 – Data analysis
Typically, an incident is not just a single event, but a chain of events. The sequence of events needs to be understood before identifying why the incident happened.
When asking why, we need to identify the root and underlying causes, as well as the direct causes. Failures and mistakes don’t just happen by themselves; organizations allow error-enforcing environments that encourage direct causes to develop and persist. Such environments, and the basic management failings behind them, are the root causes – the ultimate source of the incident.
While human error plays a part in the majority of incidents, people are not generally stupid, lazy, forgetful, or willfully negligent. Human errors occur because of influencing factors associated with the work, the environment, an individual’s mental or physical abilities, the organization, and its management systems. Any investigation which sets out to find someone to blame is misguided.
Step 5 – Corrective actions
Many investigations make the mistake of raising actions that deal only with the direct causes – a quick fix, putting last-lines-of-defense back in place. By ignoring the root and underlying causes, not only do they miss an opportunity to reduce the risk of recurrence of the incident, but they also leave open the possibility that other, dissimilar incidents may also occur, arising from the same, common root cause.
Step 6 – Reporting
The investigation is concluded when all outstanding issues have been closed out and the findings have been communicated so that lessons can be shared. Communication mechanisms include formal incident investigation reports, alerts, presentations, and meeting topics.
The above is a very basic overview of an incident investigation. An actual investigation can be much more comprehensive involving many more steps depending on the type of incident. If you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact our office.
Government of Alberta website now updated with program guidelines and resources
On July 2, 2019, the Government of Alberta announced the Shallow Gas Tax Relief Initiative (SGTRI), which allows municipalities to implement a 35 per cent property tax reduction on shallow gas wells and pipelines across the province. Municipalities will be reimbursed by the Government of Alberta for any reductions they provide to shallow gas companies through the forgiveness of an equivalent amount of the education tax requisition that the municipality owes to the province. For this one-time solution, any reductions to the required amount of education property taxes that municipalities would normally collect will be supplemented from general revenues.
Government Resources Now Available
The Government of Alberta has developed resources to assist municipalities implement the SGTRI process, including:
Program Guidelines. The guidelines provide an overview of the program, and the implementation process to support municipal councils and administrators.
Sample Motion. In implementing the SGTRI, municipalities are required to pass a resolution cancelling 35 per cent of the property taxes and coinciding late payment penalties. Municipal administration will notify companies of this motion and issue refunds where more than 65 per cent of property tax bills have been paid.
Certification Form. A signed resolution and certification form must be emailed to Municipal Affairs for review.
The Government of Alberta will also be holding a webinar on October 2, 2019 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm to support administrative officials to implement the SGTRI. Invitations for this webinar will be emailed directly to municipalities with further details.
Municipalities must submit the certification form and a copy of the council resolution to Municipal Affairs by October 21, 2019. Municipalities with an estimated tax impact of more than $300,000 will receive a 50 per cent advance credit on their September 2019 invoice, with the remaining 50 per cent being applied in December.
Questions regarding the SGTRI can be directed to Municipal Affairs at 780.422.7125, toll-free at 310.000, or via email to TaxProgramDelivery@gov.ab.ca.
Learn how Alberta municipalities can pool their resources to address common environment and conservation issues.
Community Conserve is a web-based capacity-building and fund-pooling tool created by the Miistakis Institute and Environmental Law Centre, with the support from the RMA and AUMA. Municipal personnel participate by posting and voting on environmental issues and ideas. The top-ranked ideas are converted into actionable plans and posted on the site. Interested municipalities can then pool their resources to fund those plans.
The Miistakis Institute will be hosting a webinar for RMA members October 15 from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm, explaining how Community Conserve works and how it can help municipalities address environmental and conservation issues.