The Pulse: Jan. 5, 2022

An extreme cold warning is in effect for the Edmonton region, with wind chill values between -40 and -50 degrees. Environment Canada said the "prolonged period of extreme cold will continue into the coming weekend." Cover up and stay warm!

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  • -27°C: Mainly cloudy with 30% chance of flurries. Wind up to 15 km/h. Temperature steady near minus 27. Wind chill minus 40 in the morning and minus 32 in the afternoon. Frostbite in minutes. (forecast)
  • 12,965: Alberta reported 12,965 new cases of COVID-19 between Dec. 31-Jan. 4. The province currently has more than 30,000 active cases. (details)
  • 5pm: The Oilers (18-13-2) will play the Maple Leafs (21-8-2) after losing their fourth game in a row on Monday. (details)

Amarjeet Sohi takes the oath of office at the swearing-in ceremony at City Hall

Sohi sees economic growth, sustainability, social issues as key regional issues

By Emily Rendell-Watson

As Amarjeet Sohi begins his first full year as mayor, he plans to turn some of his attention to continuing the work of developing a robust and efficient Edmonton region.

Former mayor Don Iveson left behind the legacy of a strengthened region, with an emphasis on collaboration and developing joint approaches to issues such as transit and economic development. Sohi said he will endeavour to continue that work as he represents the city on the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board.

He plans to focus on advancing economic growth, with a particular interest in the potential to invest further in hydrogen, as well as the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and geothermal sectors. Sohi will also be looking to foster alignment on climate change, especially when it comes to energy transition and renewable energy.

"Whether it's investing in technologies that reduce emissions or investing in technologies that capture emissions and utilization of those emissions, I think that's an area where there's potential for us to continue to work on," Sohi told Taproot.

Another key issue Sohi said he's particularly passionate about is tackling social issues like houselessness, mental health, addictions, and the overdose crisis.

"Edmonton is the centre for social services and a hub for programs that people rely on in the region, but we are disproportionately affected by those social issues," he explained, adding that he wants the region to continue to advocate for support from the provincial and federal governments.

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By Mack Male and Doug Johnson

  • About 200 city employees are off work after testing positive for COVID-19, including 51 firefighters following an outbreak in the service.
  • Lisa Holmes, former mayor of Morinville, has accepted the position of chief of staff for Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, effective Jan. 5. "This opportunity gives me the chance to work with an incredible leader, friend and human that I admire greatly to inspire positive, meaningful changes to this city that I love and have deep roots in," she shared.
  • Concordia University faculty members went on strike on Jan. 4, halting the start of the winter term. The faculty's union and the school have been unable to make a deal after months of talks.
  • Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid missed practice in Toronto after he tested positive for COVID-19. McDavid said he had the disease before in October 2020, but that it was mild.
  • Fire chief Joe Zatylny looked back on 2021's opioid crisis, mental health, and fire-related deaths. "This is something that is impacting our members, it's impacting the public, and we need to better co-ordinate … and look for ways to share information so that we can get better outcomes than we're seeing today," he said in a year-end review.
  • This last year saw 15 people killed in crashes on Edmonton streets — the highest total since 2018, which saw 19 deaths. The city hopes that lowering some streets to 40 km/h will decrease the number going forward.
  • Edify has announced the winners of its 2022 Edifiers Awards. For the second year in a row, the awards highlight the organizations and people making waves in the city.
  • Despite Alberta getting "its swagger back," as Premier Jason Kenney has said, the UCP will face a politically challenging year ahead. "[Kenney is] between a rock and a hard place," said Brendan Boyd, a professor of anthropology, economics, and political science at MacEwan University.
Nir Katchinskiy pitches PulseMedica

Life Sciences Investment Summit aims to provide more than $1M to growing companies

By Emily Rendell-Watson

Health innovators and entrepreneurs across Alberta have two more weeks to apply for the inaugural Startup TNT Life Sciences Investment Summit in March.

Startup TNT has partnered with Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation (API) to organize the event, which will be the province's largest investment summit focused on life sciences — with a goal of investing over $1 million into participating seed-stage companies.

"This summit will fill a critical gap needed by companies as they move beyond initial non-dilutive grants and friends-and-family funding, giving companies the ability to scale," API CEO Andrew MacIsaac told Taproot.

"The added criteria that companies do their development work here in Alberta is aimed at ensuring that every dollar raised goes back to jobs and economic growth in the province."

To participate, companies must have or intend to have economic ties to Alberta, whether they are headquartered here, employ full-time staff here, or engage in ongoing research contracts with Alberta-based entities.

By making the application open, MacIsaac is hoping that the summit will show innovators both across the country and internationally that Alberta is an attractive province in which to establish operations and grow their companies.

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