The Pulse: Sept. 29, 2021

Taproot is observing the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, Sept. 30. We won't be publishing The Pulse or roundups tomorrow but will be back in your inbox on Friday.

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National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Edmonton region prepares to observe National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

By Nathan Fung in the Regional Roundup

Most municipalities in the region will mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30 as a statutory holiday, with commemorative events, educational opportunities, and more planned.

"I think that often the view is that (reconciliation) is a federal responsibility," Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) president Paul McLauchlin told Taproot. "But we make land-use decisions as rural municipal leaders that often can impact Indigenous rights and interests, and we need to recognize that they are partners on the landscape."

RMA shared a list of ideas of what municipalities can do to honour the day and to reflect on the legacy of residential schools. In addition to recognizing it as a statutory holiday, one suggestion was to participate in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation's online events, scheduled from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.

The RMA has also partnered with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association to provide workshops about Canada's history and the municipal role in reconciliation.

The new federal holiday was announced in June in response to one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. The call urged the federal government to establish the day to "ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process."

While Sept. 30 was declared a federal statutory holiday, the Government of Alberta left the decision of whether to mark the day up to individual organizations and employers in the province. Many Edmonton region municipalities are providing a paid day of leave for staff and some school boards are also giving students the day off, but McLauchlin said people shouldn't talk about Sept. 30 as a "holiday."

"The word holiday is not appropriate for this discussion," he said. "It needs to be a day that is a recognition of understanding and learning, and educating yourself, and really not just talk but going down that journey of action."

The Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board also released a statement on the importance of recognizing the day, adding that it is "committed to building meaningful, long-lasting relationships with and learning from Indigenous communities in the region."

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By Michelle Ferguson

An array of white menstrual pads under a green palm leaf

Ruth wraps up Next 36, prepares to launch products

By Emily Rendell-Watson in the Health Innovation Roundup

Edmonton startup Ruth is preparing to launch its environmentally friendly menstrual pads on its website next month, with co-founders Anka Chan and Nicole Sanchez continuing to build on the momentum they've created throughout this year.

Ruth, previously known as Hempact, started as a University of Alberta project by Chan and Nicole Sanchez in 2018. The product launched a Kickstarter campaign in June 2021, raising more than $10,000 in one week. The final tally of just under $15,000 far surpassed its campaign goal of $7,000.

One of the ways they've learned how to carry that success forward is Chan's participation in Next 36, a program for students or recent grads that focuses on the core skills and strategies necessary to build a business.

"My definition of success as an entrepreneur was transformed as we heard firsthand from other founders about how they scaled their businesses, we received amazing mentorship, and we grew our network to learn from fellow founders and venture capitalists," Chan told Taproot. "One main takeaway is that building a startup follows experimental design very closely, with how we test assumptions and assess market responses, then synthesize the data to de-risk our decision-making."

On Sept. 21, the program wrapped up with its annual Venture Day, where Ruth was chosen as one of four companies to pitch and represent the Next 36 cohort.

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The DBA mayoral forum

Municipal election rundown: Sept. 29, 2021

By Andy Trussler

Every week in the lead up to Edmonton's municipal election on Oct. 18, we're rounding up the news and announcements you need to know to stay informed.

Policies and campaign updates

Weighing in on the campaign trail

Upcoming forums

A list of all of the candidates running in the Edmonton municipal election is available here.

Photo: Downtown Business Association of Edmonton/Twitter

More information