Alberta NationTalk

Elder in Residence receives one of Canada’s highest civilian honours – UCalgary

At a time when we might feel a lack of inspiration or hope about altering the current socio-political landscape, a good-news story about recognition of determination and hard work to create social justice change can be just the antidote needed. “It’s incredible and awesome, and I’m thrilled to be appointed,” says Cree Elder Doreen Spence of her recent appointment to the Order of Canada. “Because Indigenous women are usually the last people to be recognized. I’m still levitating to be recognized.”

Spence’s involvement with UCalgary includes leading and participating in the Connection Circles series, co-hosted by the Alberta Indigenous Mentorship in Health Innovation (AIM-HI) Network and the Cumming School of Medicine’s (CSM) Indigenous, Local and Global Health (ILGH) Office. She leads outdoor land-based learning workshops for the AIM-HI Network. She is an active Elder in Residence with the ILGH’s Traditional Knowledge Keepers in Residence program, and was also involved in the CSM’s Indigenous Hub planning consultations.

Read More:

Stoney Nakoda First Nation declares State of Local Emergency after rapid rise in COVID-19 cases – Cochrane Today

“So far we’ve done good and I think we’re going to beat this,” Crawford said. “Just stay home and avoid people.”

STONEY NAKODA— After seeing a rapid increase of COVID-19 cases in Stoney Nakoda First Nation a State of Local Emergency has been declared.

On Monday (Jan. 11), the Nation saw an increase of 17 active cases bringing the Nation’s current active cases to 103. There have been four COVID-related deaths in the Nation to date.

An immediate State of Local Emergency and Necessary Procedures was declared on Monday to help bend the curve of infection in the Nation given the unprecedented increase in COVID-19 positive cases.

Read More:

CAPP: Natural Gas and Oil Industry Investing in Canada’s Economic Recovery

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is forecasting a 14 per cent increase in upstream natural gas and oil investment in 2021. Capital spending in the sector is expected to be around $3.36 billion higher this year, reaching $27.3 billion, compared to an estimated total investment of $24 billion in 2020.

The planned investment for 2021, while increasing from the lowest levels in more than a decade, would halt the dramatic decline seen since 2014, when investment sat at $81 billion. This year’s forecast represents a stabilizing of industry investment and the beginning of a longer-term economic recovery.

The additional spending is primarily focused in Alberta and British Columbia, while numbers in Saskatchewan show modest improvement and offshore investment in Atlantic Canada is expected to remain relatively stable compared to 2020.

Conventional oil and natural gas capital investment for 2021 is forecast at $20 billion, up from an estimated $17.2 billion last year.

Capital investment in the oil sands is forecast at $7.3 billion in 2021, up from an estimated $6.7 billion total in 2020.

One year ago, CAPP’s initial forecast for 2020 expected investment to reach $37 billion; however, a crude oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia in March of 2020 and the global economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to an unprecedented 31 per cent drop in investment, wiping out more than $12 billion of planned spending.

The expected 2021 increase of investment into the Canadian economy is partly due to the availability of COVID-19 vaccine globally, which should lead to higher economic activity and increased energy demand. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projects the global economy will return to pre-COVID levels in 2021 while global energy demand is expected to reach its record high pre-crisis levels in early 2023. This growth offers significant opportunity for Canadian natural gas and oil producers as their access to global markets expands.

Other contributing factors to the capital spending increases are government supports introduced in 2020, including many at the provincial level.

In Alberta, upstream investment is expected to increase 18 per cent to total $11.8 billion in 2021 from an estimated $10 billion last year.

  • In 2020, the Government of Alberta announced municipal tax relief for new wells drilled, eliminated the municipal Well Drilling Equipment Tax (WDET), and accelerated its corporate income tax reduction plan.
  • The province released its first annual red tape reduction report, continuing its commitment on red tape reduction and helping to strengthen investment competitiveness by lowering the bureaucratic burden and reducing costs on industry.
  • Alberta invested $1.5 billion in the Keystone XL pipeline, which lead to the starting of construction on the project. Keystone XL, along with the Trans Mountain expansion and Enbridge Line 3 pipeline projects also under construction, offer expanded market access for Canadian oil to global markets.

In British Columbia, growth in upstream investment for 2021 is forecast at about 29 per cent; up to $3.9 billion from an estimated $3 billion in 2020.

  • The province’s support for Liquefied Natural Gas remains a driver for investment with the LNG Canada project under construction — one of the largest capital projects in Canadian history.
  • B.C. took a step in addressing competitiveness concerns for trade exposed industries by setting benchmarks for its CleanBC Industry Incentive Program which recognizes industry’s leadership and will refund a portion of the provincial carbon tax (above $30/tonne). This is a first step to help better enable B.C. commodities to compete.
  • In 2020, BC Hydro reduced industrial electricity rates by one per cent and the province delayed its scheduled increase of the provincial carbon tax.

In Saskatchewan, 2021 upstream investment is forecast at a five per cent increase, up to $2.8 billion from an estimated $2.7 billion in 2020.

  • Saskatchewan’s vision 2030 goal of increasing oil production by 25 per cent to 600,000 barrels per day, along with fiscal incentives that enhance investment attractiveness have laid a solid foundation for the industry.
  • The province also implemented a Saskatchewan-wide rebate on electricity bills; a policy which assists companies with liquidity and signals to the investment community that the province is committed to the economic recovery of the business community.

All three provinces – Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta – have also reached equivalency agreements with the federal government on methane emission reduction regulations, providing industry with predictability and a regulatory framework that allows for a solutions-focused approach while enabling industry to advance technological innovation.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, offshore investment is expected to remain flat in 2021 at approximately $1.5 billion.

  • In 2020, Newfoundland and Labrador introduced a new offshore exploration initiative that allows all future bid deposit forfeitures to be reinvested in exploration activity.
  • The province expanded allowable expenditure criteria and implemented an accelerated bid deposit write-down program to help operators recoup their deposits faster and incent early work on exploration licences.
  • The province also developed an Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Task Force to make recommendations on policy and regulatory changes to support recovery and develop parameters for distribution of the $320 million in federal funding provided to the province for the offshore industry.

In addition to provincial efforts to sustain resource development, the federal government’s Business Credit Availability Programs introduced in 2020 are now providing some companies with liquidity support. The Government of Canada also created a $1.7 billion fund focused on the remediation and reclamation of inactive and non-producing wells in Western Canada which is contributing to the increase in investment while accelerating efforts to clean up legacy assets.

CAPP quotes Tim McMillan, president and CEO:

  • “It is a positive sign to see capital investment numbers moving up from the record lows of 2020. This can be read as the start of what we expect will be a long road to economic recovery for the natural gas and oil industry and the Canadian economy as a whole.”
  • “A more than three billion dollar increase in planned upstream natural gas and oil spending signals that producers are invested in Canada’s economic recovery. With some hard work, we can build momentum from this positive news, and position Canada for success as economies around the world recover.”
  • “As one of the largest private investors and employers in the country, the natural gas and oil industry can be a foundation for national economic recovery. The industry is committed to working with governments, at all levels, to create an environment where businesses can thrive and attract investment back to Canada. This is how we will maintain jobs and create new opportunities for Canadians.”

Supporting information:

  • CAPP forecasts 3,300 new wells to be drilled in Canada in 2021, up from 3,000 drilled in 2020 but significantly lower than the 4,250 drilled in 2019.
  • Capital spending in the United States upstream natural gas and oil industry fell approximately 45 per cent in 2020 and is expected to increase by four per cent in 2021.
  • Natural gas and oil are Canada’s biggest export commodities by value. According to Statistics Canada, exports of crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, natural gas liquids and refined petroleum products generated more than $112 billion, or about 19 per cent of revenue from all of Canada’s exports combined.
  • Global demand for Canadian natural gas and oil is expected to grow.
    • In its Stated Policies Scenario, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects global oil demand will increase five per cent by 2030 and six per cent by 2040 — reaching 104 million barrels per day.
    • Demand for natural gas is also strong, projected to increase 15 per cent by 2030 and 30 per cent by 2040 — reaching 5,221 billion cubic metres.
    • Together, oil and natural gas meet 53 per cent of global energy demand in 2040.
  • The IEA projects heavy oil and bitumen demand will grow 23 per cent by 2040, reaching 4.42 million barrels per day.
    • Canada is expected to supply approximately 79 per cent of that total.
  • The IEA report recognizes Canada as a leader in climate action.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and oil throughout Canada. CAPP’s member companies produce about 80 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and oil. CAPP’s associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP’s members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues from oil and natural gas production of about $116 billion a year. CAPP’s mission, on behalf of the Canadian upstream oil and natural gas industry, is to advocate for and enable economic competitiveness and safe, environmentally and socially responsible performance.

– 30 –


RMWB: Tawâw project creates tri-party partnership to provide Indigenous housing

Council of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo allocated more than $1.1 million from the 2020-2021 Community Plan on Homelessness (CPH) to Wood Buffalo Wellness Society for the Tawâw project, a tri-party partnership between Wood Buffalo Wellness Society (WBWS), McMurray Métis and Wood Buffalo Housing (WBH) to create access to 22 beds for homeless Indigenous individuals and families. The funding was received from the Federal government as part of the second round of COVID-19 funding for the Reaching Home initiative.

Tawâw Housing First Partnership

The Tawâw (pronounced ta-WOW in Cree, meaning “come in,” “welcome”) Housing First Partnership is an innovative collaboration drawing upon the expertise, experience and networks of three established community organizations to create rapid access to 22 beds for homeless Indigenous individuals and families. The project will convert units owned by WBH into transitional and supportive housing spaces. Services will also be clustered under the leadership of McMurray Métis and the WBWS to serve residents. As self-sufficiency is achieved, residents will transition to other nearby WBH units, but will remain members of the community as they continue to draw upon services and support others on the path to self-sufficiency.

Quote from Mayor Don Scott
“The Tawâw project unites three key community organizations in an effort to tackle homelessness. I want to thank our partners for coming together to develop a program that will keep our most vulnerable population safe during this pandemic while bringing us closer to achieving our goal to eliminate chronic homelessness in our region.”

Quote from Joy Flett, Chair of Homelessness Initiatives Strategic Committee
“The Tawâw Housing First Partnership brings together expertise and resources from three established organizations to create a unique, culturally sensitive environment to assist residents transitioning from lives of addiction, intergenerational trauma, impaired educational and employment outcomes, marginalization and hopelessness into a place of support, dignity, structure, community and cultural pride. By combining housing and services in one space, the project will help individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency.”

Reaching Home initiative
The Reaching Home initiative is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness. It provides direct funding to communities across Canada to support their efforts in developing local solutions to homelessness.

Homelessness in RMWB during the pandemic

During the pandemic, agencies that receive funding from the Community Plan on Homelessness housed a total of 85 individuals, an increase of 56 per cent from last fiscal year. Since May 2020, CPH programs have led to a 10 per cent reduction in chronic homelessness. As of December 10, 2020, there are 51 individuals awaiting placement in a housing program with 32 of those individuals identifying as Indigenous.

Visit our website for more information on housing and homelessness in our region.

Contact us

9909 Franklin Avenue
Fort McMurray, Alberta T9H 2K4
T. 780-743-7000
Toll Free 1-800-973-9663

Map to this location


Council approves $1.1 million for housing project fighting Indigenous homelessness – Fort McMurray Today

Jan 13, 2021

Council unanimously approved a $1.1 million project to convert two buildings into housing for Indigenous people and families impacted by COVID-19 and homelessness.

The funding is for the Tawaw (Cree for “come in” or “welcome,” and pronounced ta-WOW) Housing First Partnership between Wood Buffalo Housing (WBH), Wood Buffalo Wellness Society and McMurray Métis.

The project involves two Timberlea 8-plexes that will be turned into 12 units with 22 beds. A shared space and offices will be included. Renovations are estimated to cost $500,000 and the capital lease payment is expected to be $587,900. The buildings are owned by WBH.

Read More:

City of Lethbridge: City Council approves Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Recommendations and Work Plan

Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted 6-3 to approve the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Recommendations and Work Plan, along with a one-time budget request of $435,000 to be used during a three-year period.

This Work Plan builds upon Council’s existing commitment to Reconciliation as outlined in the Reconciliation Implementation Plan and provides an overall implementation strategy for the 25 recommendations first presented to Council in October 2020. It also aligns with Council’s Strategic Plan with deliberate community engagement, development of and leveraging relationships, and enriching the community through diversity, inclusivity and culture.

“This Work Plan has clear, tangible and wide-ranging steps being taken to support Indigenous women, girls and 2SLBGTQQIA+ peoples,” says Councillor Belinda Crowson. “This has been a long-time coming and is thanks to the work of many volunteers and groups, including the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee and Sisters in Spirit. I am honoured to bring this forward on their behalf and on behalf of the entire community.”

“Today’s action demonstrates the City’s continued commitment to Reconciliation,” says Pam Beebe, Indigenous Relations Coordinator. “It supports the on-going development of the City’s relationships with Indigenous peoples, organizations and communities. It ensures adequate resources are aligned to the Recommendations and ensures the City’s accountability to the Indigenous community.”

Implementation of the MMIWG Work Plan – which includes the creation of Indigenous awareness training for City Staff, an anti-racism campaign and an expansion of employment and economic opportunities for Indigenous peoples – will be managed by Indigenous Relations staff, with the advice and support of Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Committee (RLAC) and community partners. Funding will come from the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve (MRSR).

The full Work Plan can be viewed here:


Federal data shows Alberta First Nations hardest hit by COVID-19 – CTV News

CALGARY — Alberta’s Indigenous population has been hardest hit by COVID-19, with roughly one-third of all cases identified on First Nation reserves being in the province, according to data released by the federal government.

Of the 11,229 cases identified as of Jan. 11, a total of 3,639 — 32 per cent — are in Alberta.

Manitoba (3,000) and Saskatchewan (2,906) have also been hard hit.

Of the cases confirmed:

Read More:

First Nations say communication, proactivity key in successful management of COVID-19 – Calgary Herald

Fast action and a proactive approach enabled them to keep their case counts low, effectively stop outbreaks in their tracks and save lives — but their many successes didn’t come without significant challenges

Jan 13, 2021

Three First Nations communities in southern Alberta that managed to stave off more severe outcomes of COVID-19 for months are now seeing a spike in positive cases that has necessitated stricter measures and forced some into lockdown.

Having built a solid foundation ahead of the virus’s second wave, the nations say they’re prepared, while looking ahead to when their members are vaccinated.

Read More:

The Neyaskweyahk Sundancer Solar Project is expanding. Phase 2 of the project will double the size… – Ermineskin Cree Nation

January 12, 2021

The Neyaskweyahk Sundancer Solar Project is expanding.

Phase 2 of the project will double the size of the power plant from 0.99MW to 2.0MW. As part of the notification process, all stakeholders within 1500m of the project must be provided with information about the project and opportunities for feedback.

Many in the ECN community have already been provided with an information package. Due to COVID-19 we are limited in our ability to host open house events and community gatherings to share information about this project.
To determine if you are within 1500m of the project boundary please check the map photo attached.

The ECN is proud to support this initiative in our community.

Read More:

Taza Celebrates the Best of 2020: A Year of Milestones

Taza has made exciting progress this past year despite the numerous challenges and setbacks. As we reflect on the year ahead, our team is filled with immense gratitude for what has come to life, with big hopes for the future.

Leading up to the beginning of 2021 we celebrated with a look back at our favourite moments of 2020 across our social channels – in case you missed it, here are the highlights:

01: A Year Of Rewards

  • The University of Calgary received the Team Teaching Award for their trailblazing Kuniya Architecture Course, established as a way to translate Tsuut’ina cultural and traditional design perspectives into modern architecture
  • Taza Park leads its groundbreaking design with two awards:
    • 2020 Merit Award for Planning Awarded by the Colorado Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects
    • 2020 Canadian Architect Award of Excellence for Taza Park Water Reservoir.

Read more about Taza Park’s recent award wins

02: Introducing The Shops at Buffalo Run

  • Located in Taza Exchange, The Shops at Buffalo Run celebrates Tsuut’ina history, culture, and traditional knowledge – creating an unparalleled hub for businesses, visitors and tourists
  • The first anchor tenant opened its doors, with more exciting vendors set to open in the near future

For more information, visit The Shops at Buffalo Run

03: Growing Opportunities

  • In collaboration, Taza, Tsuut’ina Employment Resource and Costco organized a hiring fair and as a result, over 200 participants engaged and 82 Tsuut’ina Citizens were hired for the new Costco at Taza
  • Borger Group Construction provided training programs to interested Tsuut’ina Nation Citizens and hired on 15+ new employees with 7 of those remaining full-time

More exciting opportunities are on the horizon! Follow Taza on LinkedIn for more information

04: Community Collaboration

  • Taza Development Corp works with Board Members assigned by Chief and Council, ensuring that every stage of development meets the needs of Tsuut’ina Nation members
  • Taza is immensely grateful for the past, present and future contributions made by Tsuut’ina leadership and all development partners, and looks forward to continued collaboration in 2021

05: Two New Online Experiences

06: A New Way to Experience Taza

  • Taza Development Corp is always looking for ways to connect and with much of 2020 spent virtually, we are especially excited to bring you the Taza Experience Centre slated to open January, 2021
  • This interactive space will enable community members to chat with our team, learn more about the development and discover Taza like never before

07: A Groundbreaking First

  • Taza welcomed its very first anchor tenant – Costco! This was an incredible milestone for the Tsuut’ina Nation and Taza representing the culmination of planning and dedication from numerous partners
  • Taza was honoured to have received a blessing ceremony from Tsuut’ina Elders on the eve of Costco’s opening to commemorate the occasion and create a space of good energy for all those that visit the building
  • During opening weekend Costco smashed previous records and was the highest performing location in all of Western Canada!

08: The Opening of Tsuut’ina Trail

“When our citizens approved the transfer of the land for the ring road, it was in large measure to allow us to develop our lands. With the opening of the ring road, we can continue our development, Taza, which will provide economic prosperity to the Tsuut’ina Nation and to the City of Calgary.” – Chief Roy Whitney, Tsuut’ina Nation

  • Construction of Tsuut’ina Trail started in 2016 and currently supports over 2000 jobs
  • This 12-kilometer stretch of road opened in 2020, marking a major milestone in the massive infrastructure project that will eventually encircle much of Calgary

What surprises will 2021 hold? None can say for certain, but we are positive that more wondrous things are yet to come.

“As I reflect upon this past year and prepare to say goodbye to 2020 (more like good riddance!), my thoughts turn quickly to the determination, effort and hard work our Taza Team exhibited and what was achieved by Taza in this most unprecedented year.  Invigorated by promise and potential, this talented group with a singularity of purpose is marching confidently forward into 2021! .” – William Briscoe

On behalf of our team at Taza Development Corp, we hope you enjoy the New Year!


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More