There is a lot going on and you might be facing a lot of uncertainty. While we work to establish the needs of our community and how we’re able to respond, there are numerous resources for mental health support:
There is a lot going on and you might be facing a lot of uncertainty. While we work to establish the needs of our community and how we’re able to respond, there are numerous resources for mental health support:
CALGARY, March 27, 2020 – Despite temporary school closures and classroom disruptions, that hasn’t stopped Canadian students from prioritizing their learning. Last week, MindFuel announced that it would be offering all of its online K-12 STEM educational resources at no cost to all Canadians. Since making these valuable resources accessible for free, MindFuel is supporting between 3,500 -10,000 teachers, parents and students each day. This represents more than a 100 per cent increase in capacity across Canada, which is broken down by region below:
With online platforms, Wonderville English and Wonderville French, Codingville (a curriculum aimed to develop coding and digital literacy) and Ignition Pack (a digital text book resource for Alberta’s curriculum) available to all of Canada, students have no shortage of curricular aligned interactive games, live and animated videos to keep them occupied and stimulated while at home. In addition, with a full inventory of lesson plans designed for online delivery, teachers are able to keep students engaged during this Stay Safe at Home time.
“Since announcing last week that all of our online educational resources would be available to Canadian students, teachers and parents free of cost, we’ve been astonished at the results and we are working hard to ensure we can support demand capacity. To see tens of thousands of teachers, students and parents in communities all across Canada participate in our online STEM programming has been truly rewarding,” said Cassy Weber, CEO, MindFuel. “Making our resources complimentary helps to offset the many challenges that teachers, parents and students are experiencing across the country with classroom disruptions. We hope students feel challenged and engaged, and that parents and teachers feel reprieve as they are still able to deliver world-class educational programming.”
Students, parents and teachers interested in accessing or learning more about MindFuel’s free online programs are encouraged to visit the MindFuel/staysafe website here.
Founded in the 1980s by James (Jim) Gray, O.C., established as Science Alberta Foundation in 1990, MindFuel is a registered charity focused on creating future generations of innovators and problem-solvers. As a digital literacy and online learning pioneer, MindFuel is helping Canada diversify its economy through a focus on online STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education resources and in the field learning. MindFuel supports teachers with 21st century award-winning learning services and helps immerse students in the fun world of STEM through blended learning, which includes both digital and hands-on training, critical to advancing Canada’s Innovation Agenda. MindFuel places a large emphasis on empowering girls, Indigenous youth and students in rural and remote regions to pursue studies and careers in STEM. In 2018-19, MindFuel programming reached hundreds of thousands of students across Canada in both French and English, and is used in over 170 countries around the world.
For more information on programming, please visit mindfuel.ca.
Codingville.ca enables students (grades 1-12) to learn coding, computational thinking and STEAM concepts with helpful tools and coding activities, designed to engage students of all ages in game-based learning and to enhance skills development. At the end of each course, students can create and share their very own applications/games they have built themselves! In addition, teachers have access to a teacher-training course, designed to support teachers’ abilities to confidently deliver coding in the classroom and support students on their coding adventure.
For more information, and to access this free programming, please visit codingville.ca.
For further information: Media Contact:
Cassy Weber, CEO
March 26, 2020
Horizon North Logistics Inc. (“Horizon North” or the “Corporation”) (TSX: HNL.TO) provided a series of announcements today in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other global commodity conditions, and provided an update on the Corporation’s previously announced agreement with 10647802 Canada Limited, operating as Dexterra Integrated Facilities Management (“Dexterra”).
The Global Environment
Like many other businesses, Horizon North is being challenged by the global uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and diminished commodity prices. Horizon North’s Board of Directors and management team have been closely following these events and remain focused on keeping the Corporation’s employees and customers safe, prioritizing cash flow and responding to customers’ needs. In response to the current global environment, Horizon North is taking a series of steps to help mitigate the negative impacts of these events, including the previously announced pause in the Corporation’s dividend to improve financial flexibility and exercise fiscal prudence.
Our Response to COVID-19
Horizon North continues to support customers, partners and local communities through the Corporation’s Industrial Services and Modular Solutions businesses. In doing so, Horizon North continues to make the safety of employees and customers its top priority and has taken several measures to address the challenges presented by COVID-19, including:
Reductions to 2020 Capital Spending Program
Responding to an anticipated reduction in demand from customers for the Corporation’s services, Horizon North is reducing its 2020 net capital outlook by two-thirds by reducing sustaining capital spend and deferring the remaining spend on both growth projects planned for 2020. Changes to the 2020 capital spending program are as follows:
With these reductions and deferrals, the combined net capital outlook is reduced from $30 million to approximately $10 million for 2020. Given the Corporation’s capital spend to date, the remaining spend for 2020 is anticipated to be $4 million. Further deferrals or reductions may be considered depending on activity levels over the course of 2020.
Reductions to Fixed Costs
Horizon North is taking measures to size the Corporation’s business accordingly for the current economic outlook while continuing to provide essential services to customers in the Industrial Services and Modular Solutions businesses. Fixed operating costs, along with general and administrative costs (“G&A”), are being reduced throughout the organization, including:
Update on Liquidity and Banking Covenants
Horizon North continues to be in compliance with all financial and non-financial covenants related to its recently amended credit facility and does not anticipate any covenant related issues within the first quarter of 2020. Horizon North continues to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and weakened commodity prices on operations and financial results.
Update on Dexterra Agreement
As announced on March 9, 2020, Horizon North and Dexterra, a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (TSX: FFH and FFH.U) (“Fairfax Financial”), have agreed to combine to create a leading Canadian support services company (the “Transaction”). With the uncertainty and corresponding anticipated decline in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Horizon North is withdrawing its previously announced financial guidance with respect to the Transaction and the parties’ anticipated financial results, as issued in the Corporation’s March 9 press release and March 10 investor relations presentation, including in respect of the post-closing dividend payments and cost synergies, while steps are taken to help mitigate the financial impact on the parties’ respective businesses. A revised investor relations presentation in respect of the Transaction and the combined operations of Horizon North and Dexterra is available each of the companies’ websites.
Despite the uncertain global environment, Horizon North and Dexterra remain committed to completion of the Transaction, with closing anticipated to occur in the second quarter of 2020, subject to the receipt of all necessary approvals and satisfaction of closing conditions.
Bill McFarland, a Director of Fairfax Financial, Chairman of Dexterra and future Chairman of the combined company on closing of the Transaction said: “Fairfax Financial is excited about the future possibilities for the combined businesses and we look forward to closing the Transaction in the second quarter. We continue to believe that the Transaction will create a pan-Canadian leader in support services and add significant value for all shareholders through capital appreciation and the payment of dividends.”
Rod Graham, President and Chief Executive Officer of Horizon North, said: “We recognize the unprecedented situation being faced in Canada and around the world with COVID-19 and diminished commodity prices. However, we remain committed to a transformational combination with Dexterra that will provide a premier, made-in-Canada company that brings size, scope, scalability and sophistication to the markets we serve. We look forward to leveraging the synergies of this combination over the next several years.”
About Horizon North
Horizon North is a publicly listed corporation (TSX: HNL.TO) providing a full range of industrial, commercial, and residential products and services. Our Industrial Services division supplies workforce accommodations, camp management services, access solutions, maintenance and utilities. Our Modular Solutions division integrates modern design concepts and technology with state of the art, off-site manufacturing processes; producing high quality building solutions for commercial and residential offerings including offices, hotels, and retail buildings, as well as distinctive single detached dwellings and multi-family residential structures. As a result of our diverse product and service offerings, Horizon North is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of our customers in numerous sectors, anywhere in Canada.
Dexterra provides quality solutions for the operation and maintenance of built assets and infrastructure including facilities management and operations, remote workforce accommodation, and forestry services. Dexterra is a Canadian business with a 70-year heritage servicing clients in both the private and public sectors. Dexterra has an outstanding record of creating and managing places that play a vital role in our national economy and our local communities. Our expertise in bringing together the right people with the right skills to transform service delivery and improve your customers’ experiences is what sets us apart. Website: dexterra.com
Additional information related to Horizon North, including the Corporation’s annual information form, press releases, financial statements and MD&A are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com
For further information, please contact Rod Graham, President and Chief Executive Officer or Scott Matson, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, 900, 240 – 4th Avenue S.W., Calgary, Alberta T2P 4H4; Telephone (403) 517 – 4654, Fax (403) 517 – 4678; website: www.horizonnorth.ca
Alberta’s chief medical officer of health provides an update on COVID-19 and the ongoing work to protect public health.
Check against delivery
Good afternoon, thank you all for coming.
It has now been three weeks since Alberta’s first case of COVID-19 was identified.
To many Albertans, it probably feels like a lot more time has passed.
Today, I want to talk about our efforts to slow this virus, and what the next three weeks may hold.
First, I will update you on today’s numbers.
We have confirmed 67 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.
There have now been 486 cases identified in the province.
We suspect that 34 of these cases may be community transmission, an increase of one from yesterday.
Right now, 21 individuals are being treated in hospital, with 10 currently in the ICU.
We have also learned that 14 symptomatic individuals from the McKenzie long-term care facility have now tested positive, an increase of eight from yesterday.
They are self-isolating and receiving care.
As of right now, there are no additional confirmed cases in the other continuing care and group home settings that I talked about yesterday.
Today, I am pleased to share that we can confirm 27 Albertans have recovered from COVID-19, an increase of 24 from previously reported numbers.
As I mentioned previously, we are working on streamlining the process for reporting recovered cases and we expect this number to increase in the coming days.
We continue to confirm new cases in every zone, and in all age groups. We are all being impacted by this virus.
Three weeks ago, I said that COVID-19 would test our health system.
To date, our health system has responded remarkably to that test.
While it is a privilege to be seen by Albertans as the face of this response, there are countless unsung heroes behind the scenes.
For example, this time last month, our labs were completing only a handful of COVID-19 tests everyday. They have increased their capacity to over three thousand tests per day.
Contact tracers in all zones are working tirelessly to make sure that anyone who is in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is notified and knows the self-isolate.
Alberta Health Services continues to make great strides to ensure our health system is resourced and ready to respond as the situation evolves.
From Health Link to assessment centres, from hospitals to home care, and all healthcare providers in the community, I want to express my heartfelt admiration for all healthcare professionals in this province who are working to respond to this virus.
They are on the frontlines, working countless hours in difficult circumstances, to slow the spread and keep us safe.
Of course, it’s not just health care workers who are heroes in this response.
Across Alberta, first-responders, community leaders, social services workers, and workers in shelters for vulnerable Albertans, to name just a few… as well as custodians and cleaning staff in facilities that care for people in healthcare or other settings… all of these have undertaken tremendous work to support this response and protect Albertans.
From me and from every Albertan I want to say thank you for all that you are doing to help keep us all safe and healthy.
I also want to recognize the tremendous work that Indigenous leaders, communities and health care workers are doing to respond to this virus.
For example, I am told by my colleagues working with the Indigenous nation in Siksika, that in a matter of days, Siksika First Nation established call lines for information and mental health supports, including a Blackfoot translation line for their elders.
Yesterday, Siksika Health Services launched a new COVID-19 Response Unit. It will operate 24/7 to assess anyone self-isolating in their homes, and offer testing when appropriate.
They have also worked with physicians to quickly establish a satellite clinic in the community to deliver COVID-19 care when needed.
This is just one example, but I know there are many more across Alberta. We will continue to recognize the work of other Indigenous communities in the coming weeks.
This virus has challenged us all, and so many have risen to that challenge with hope and resilience.
Our system has responded with strength and ingenuity, but I want Albertans to understand there will be challenges coming in the next weeks.
We have all seen what has occurred in countries like Italy and Spain.
We are doing everything possible to prevent that from happening in Alberta by limiting the number of people who will need hospital care by preventing the spread of this virus.
To further support and protect those at greatest risk of exposure to COVID-19, AHS has developed an online assessment tool specifically for Healthcare workers, which will launch tomorrow morning.
Any healthcare worker in Alberta who is experiencing symptoms of fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, is asked to visit www.ahs.cacovid to complete the new HCW online assessment.
This unique tool for healthcare workers is in addition to the public online assessment tool that remains available for all Albertans.
Many other decisions may also need to be made in the coming days as our health system works to free up space, increase capacity and use every doctor, nurse and staff member as effectively as possible.
The health system is preparing for every possible scenario in the days ahead.
I continue to remind all Albertans that our decisions will impact our health and the health of everyone around them.
We don’t need a rule or order to make practical adjustments in your daily life to limit the risk for ourselves and our loved ones.
I want to reiterate my call to please stay home if you are sick. Always wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds throughout the day, with soap and warm water. Practice physical distancing in every possible facet of your lives.
Three weeks ago, our new normal became more real as we confirmed our first case. I know it has impacted every one of us.
It will continue to do so, but we will rise to meet these new challenges in the days to come.
As I’ve said before, we need to face this together and respond to this extraordinary crisis with extraordinary kindness.
Continue to look out for yourselves and each other and take care of yourselves
Your health is, and will always be, our top priority.
Thank you. I will now take questions.
Sixty-seven additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 486.
Mental health supports
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has boosted its service to help Albertans should they need to speak with someone about mental health concerns.
If Albertans call the Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642 or the Addiction Help Line at 1-866-332-2323 between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., seven days a week, they will be connected directly to a dedicated team of AHS addiction and mental health staff.
This change will support 811 operators to focus on COVID-19 calls during the day and improve wait times for others needing telephone advice. Calls placed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. will continue to be routed through 811.
Pausing some health construction projects and non-essential service contracts
In order to protect patients, families and staff providing key services inside health-care facilities, AHS has informed some contractors and vendors that provide non-essential services at some health facilities that their projects will be temporarily paused.
These include non-essential delivery services and facility maintenance, such as flooring replacement, departmental renovations or lighting retrofit projects.
Alberta Infrastructure is also working with AHS to ensure that construction projects being done inside health facilities do not impact the operations of the facility.
As each project is reviewed and assessed, Infrastructure will provide notice to affected contractors if any projects are deferred.
Emergency isolation supports
Emergency isolation supports are available for Albertans who are self-isolating or who are the sole caregivers for someone in self-isolation, and have no other source of income. Applicants can view eligibility criteria and apply at alberta.ca. To carefully manage the flow of applications, we are periodically closing access to MADI and the Emergency Isolation Support. We will provide daily updates about system availability.
Access to justice
Provincial Court of Alberta’s case management offices are closing and the Court of Queen’s Bench has updated processes.
Effective March 27, the Provincial Court of Alberta will close all of its case management offices. More information: https://albertacourts.ca/pc/resources/announcements/closure-of-case-management-offices-(cmo)
The Court of Queen’s Bench will allow remote commissioning of affidavits in certain situations. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/npp-remote-commissioning-of-affidavits.
The Court of Queen’s Bench has updates regarding modified hearings, processes for criminal, civil and family matters and rescheduled hearings. More information: https://www.albertacourts.ca/qb/resources/announcements/covid-19-amendments-to-master-order-2.
Despite higher retail demand, Alberta’s food supply remains secure. Government is in regular contact with other levels of government, producers, distributors, retailers and processors to ensure it stays that way. We are working with food banks and Indigenous communities to understand their needs and ensure everyone has access to the food supplies they need.
Medical evaluation for drivers’ licences
Alberta Transportation has extended the timeline to 90 days for most drivers requiring a medical evaluation to complete their medical form when applying for or renewing their licence. This will reduce the current strain on the health-care system. Medically high-risk drivers will still be required to present their medical evaluation at the time of their application or renewal.
Offers of help
The Alberta Emergency Management Agency Unsolicited Offers Program has been set up in response to growing offers of generosity from individuals and organizations to help with the challenges many Albertans are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those wanting to help can go to alberta.ca/COVID19offersprogram for more information.
Assistant Communications Director, Health
To the University of Alberta Community:
It is my honour and privilege to announce that Bill Flanagan has been named the 14th president and vice-chancellor of the University of Alberta, effective July 1, 2020.
A week ago, I planned to share this exciting news with you today in person, but the rapid response to COVID-19 led to a quick and necessary change in plans. As board chair, I have been proud of our community’s response and want to thank all of you for your extraordinary efforts. Just as teaching, learning and working have moved to remote delivery, so has this major announcement moved online. I now have the pleasure of introducing you to our next president.
When the Presidential Search Committee began its work last June, we recognized that the University of Alberta is at a critical juncture. We are being called to respond to dramatic changes, not only in immediate reaction to COVID-19, but also to longer-term shifts—shifts in the post-secondary landscape in Alberta, to provincial and national economies undergoing rapid change and diversification, and to the essential role that comprehensive research-intensive universities must continue to play in the knowledge-economies of the future. The decisions and solutions we reach today will set the trajectory of this university for years and decades to come.
After an extensive international search and careful consideration of many outstanding candidates, we are proud to select Bill Flanagan—an outstanding academic leader and innovator—to guide that trajectory and position the University of Alberta to excel.
Born and raised in Alberta, Bill Flanagan joins the University of Alberta from Queen’s University, where he served as the dean of law for 14 years from 2005 to 2019. He holds a BA (English and Philosophy) from Carleton University, a JD from the University of Toronto, a DEA in International Economic Law from Université Paris I-Sorbonne, and an LLM from Columbia University. His scholarly work spans property law, corporate law and international trade law.
Strategic and entrepreneurial, President-elect Flanagan has a proven ability to identify opportunities for growth to the benefit of the research and teaching mission of the whole university. In a period of constraint and declining public funding, under his leadership faculty numbers and programming expanded, and fundraising success increased fivefold. With added resources, the school’s reputation for research and teaching excellence deepened, and students’ learning experience was enriched by a larger range of learning opportunities and fully renovated learning environments.
President-elect Flanagan led these changes as a creative, inspiring, and unifying leader. He re-envisioned what legal education can be—before, during, and after law school. Under his decanal leadership, the Faculty of Law established its PhD program and the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace. As dean, he opened up legal studies to undergraduates and spearheaded postgraduate programs for practising lawyers. At the institutional level, he was closely involved in the implementation of a new budget model at Queen’s, the development of its University Strategic Framework (2014-2019), and a comprehensive overhaul of the university’s Student Code of Conduct.
A lifetime commitment to diversity and inclusion also marks Bill Flanagan’s leadership. Deepening the diversity of both the student body and legal profession has been a constant goal. In 2019-20, the school reached record enrolment of self-identified Indigenous students, as a result of the school’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and the school’s demonstrated commitment to the incorporation of Indigenous legal knowledge.
A talented, influential communicator and connector, President-elect Flanagan has developed extensive national networks of business and community leaders, legal professionals, and academic colleagues, as well as alumni and donors. He was president of the Council of Canadian Law Deans from 2011 to 2014, and served on the National Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.
He currently serves as chair of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research’s National Working Group and has served as board chair of the AIDS Committee of Toronto—Canada’s largest community-based HIV service organization—as well as on the Ontario HIV Treatment Network and Canada AIDS Russia Project. In recognition of his community service, he was named to the Honour Roll of the Ontario AIDS Network in 2011.
President-elect Flanagan’s passion for the University of Alberta is apparent in his vision for the university’s future as a global leader addressing the world’s critical challenges. Although he is not able to be with us in person for the announcement, he has sent a video message to the community. I invite you to watch that video here.
I want to extend my sincere gratitude to vice-chair Carrie Smith and the members of the Presidential Search Committee for their time, effort, and guidance. Together we have selected a president who will serve the University of Alberta with passion, integrity, and sound judgment. Under his leadership, we will continue to build one of the world’s great public universities.
Please join me in welcoming President-elect Bill Flanagan.
Kate Chisholm, QC
Chair, University of Alberta Board of Governors
Using remote meeting tools will help industry and Indigenous communities keep Albertans working on natural resource development projects.
Companies that propose oil, gas, mining, forestry or similar projects that could disturb Crown land are responsible for managing consultation with affected Indigenous communities. The Government of Alberta’s Aboriginal Consultation Office ensures each of those consultations meets provincial requirements.
To be sure Indigenous communities have the capacity to continue this work during the COVID-19 pandemic, Aboriginal Consultation Office staff will reach out to community contacts where states of local emergency have been declared.
“The Government of Alberta’s first priority during the COVID-19 crisis is ensuring public health and safety. We will consider consultation timeline pauses on a case-by-case basis for Indigenous communities that request it of the Aboriginal Consultation Office. We can practise proven public health measures while keeping much-needed projects moving forward.”
Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations
Consultation pauses will last as long as the chief medical officer of health’s recommendation for self-isolation remains in place and may be reassessed after that for an extension.
Visit the Indigenous consultation notices page on alberta.ca to see current consultation pauses.
Press Secretary, Indigenous Relations
Government and industry are working together to ensure Albertans continue to have access to safe, affordable food as the COVID-19 response continues.
In recent weeks, Albertans’ buying patterns have changed, and our food supply chain has responded. Government is in constant contact with industry partners and is monitoring the situation closely and ready to respond.
Although some stores have had temporary shortages of certain items, this does not mean food supplies are running low.
There is no need to stockpile food and supplies. Doing so creates additional unnecessary pressure on the food supply chain, which can put the most vulnerable at risk. Government is working with retailers on supply pressures for high-demand items and monitoring availability in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
“Food is essential and we are in constant contact with our food suppliers and we will do whatever it takes to keep them open. I want to assure all Albertans that our food supply will remain safe, secure and accessible. Albertans are tough and resilient, and together, we will get through this.”
Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Government is focused on maintaining our stable food supply system. To date, the focus is on maintaining an open trade relationship between the Canada and the United States for movement of essential goods across the border.
Government is also working with our federal and provincial partners to maintain functioning rail service, ports and commercial trucking systems within Canada and across North America to enable the movement of essential goods.
More information on the novel coronavirus and Alberta can be found at alberta.ca/COVID19.
Acting Press Secretary, Agriculture and Forestry
Press Secretary, Municipal Affairs