- An internal summary of the Edmonton Fire Rescue Services (EFRS) 2022 workplace assessment completed by law firm Rubin Thomlinson and obtained by Postmedia reveals allegations of discrimination, bullying, and hazing. The report describes inadequate mental health supports and tactical training, and skepticism of and resistance to the fire department's diversity programs. The summary also shows low morale and a lack of confidence in Chief Joe Zatylny, who has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons, Postmedia reported. Edmonton Fire Fighters' Union president Greg Rehman said morale is the lowest he's seen in decades and "people don't feel supported." A separate city survey of EFRS workers found that job satisfaction has plummeted to 48%, down from 90% in 2018. City manager Andre Corbould said the city and EFRS leadership are working on an action plan to address the 21 recommendations in the Rubin Thomlinson report.
- Stephanie McCabe, deputy city manager of urban planning and economy for the City of Edmonton, announced on May 12 that she is leaving for a new executive leadership role with an unnamed technology company founded in Edmonton. McCabe has held a variety of roles at the city since 2003, serving as deputy city manager since 2019. Her departure comes a month after two other senior leaders announced their departures: Catrin Owen, deputy city manager of communications and engagement, and Kimberly Armstrong, deputy city manager of employee services.
- The provincial government has appointed two new members to the Edmonton Police Commission. The commission said it was informed of the appointees on May 1, which was the first day of the provincial election campaign, but the names of the new commissioners won't be public until an onboarding process is completed. Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said the city wasn't consulted on the appointments and that he had no information about the recruitment process. The provincial government gave itself the power to appoint members to municipal police commissions last December with the passage of the Police Amendment Act. Former police commissioner Murray Billett said he is worried about the effect provincial appointments may have on police governance in Alberta. "I don't think they should have anything to do with it," he said. "It's the Edmonton Police Commission, not the Alberta Police Commission."
- Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi has called for charges to be laid against a police officer who kicked an Indigenous teenager in the head during a 2020 arrest. "It's so disappointing that charges would not be laid, because again, the system is failing," Sohi said in an interview on Real Talk with Ryan Jespersen. The call comes after a report from the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team found there were grounds to believe that Edmonton Police Service Const. Ben Todd committed a criminal offence during the arrest, but revealed that no charges would be laid based on a recommendation from the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service. Todd is currently on paid leave and is facing a lawsuit from the victim, Pacey Dumas.
- More than 19,000 people remain evacuated from their homes as wildfires continue to burn across Alberta, with three new orders in effect as of May 14. A fire that broke out southwest of Edmonton on May 13 prompted the mandatory evacuation of parts of Leduc County near Devon. Of the 87 fires burning in the province, 24 are classified as out of control and officials say continued dry, hot weather and high winds have made firefighting efforts challenging. Colin Blair, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency, said the coming days are expected to be difficult. "We are doing all we can to protect communities at risk, but Albertans need to remain vigilant and closely follow updates on their current wildfire situation," he said. About 300 members of the Canadian Armed Forces are currently deployed to support firefighting efforts.
- Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said firefighters worked all night to put out more than a dozen grass fires that broke out along a rail line in the city's northeast late in the afternoon on May 13. At its height, eight units were on scene fighting the fires, which were considered out by around 8:30am on May 14.
- The Edmonton Oilers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs on May 14 following their 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 at Rogers Place. The game marked the first time since March that the Oilers had lost two games in a row, after losing Game 5 of their playoff series in Las Vegas on May 12. It was also the first game of the series the Oilers didn't score first.
- The Edmonton Arts Council and Pattison Outdoor Advertising have partnered with the Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists (SNAP) to launch the SuperTrain public art initiative, which features murals on LRT cars. Ambrose Cardinal, a local Indigenous artist, has created new designs for the initiative, which explore the relationship between the natural world and urban spaces. The first of three transitory public artworks will be on display for at least eight months along the LRT, with two more designs set to be released in August and November.
Headlines: May 15, 2023
By Mariam Ibrahim