Alberta government releases third party review of its COVID-19 first wave response

EDMONTON — The long-awaited review of Alberta’s first wave response tabled five recommendations to strengthen the province’s response to future waves of COVID-19 and other pandemics.

From provincial communication strategies, economic supports offered by Alberta, and health care staffing shortages, the third-party report evaluating Alberta’s response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was released Friday afternoon.

The external report was developed by accounting firm KPMG, who was awarded a $475,000-contract to complete the work. It analyzed the province’s response to the pandemic from March 2020 through to Oct. 12, 2020.

It was submitted to the province in January of 2021 and released to the public a year later “in the interest of full transparency,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said on Tuesday.

The report tabled five recommendations for the province, including that once vaccine administration is “well-underway” and the health emergency concluded that Alberta undertakes a full comprehensive review to ensure future pandemic responses are strengthened.

Additionally, the report said the province should conduct further stakeholder analysis to help gauge support of decision making as well as to “strengthen” the pandemic response.

The third recommendation included implementing strategies in Alberta to support staff capacity within the health care sector and ensure necessary flexibility to fill staffing shortages in the continuing care system.

The independent report found uptake of provincial supports targeted at small and medium-sized businesses was low during the first wave of the pandemic. It recommended that there needs to be strategies to “increase uptake” of financial supports to help Alberta businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.

“The combination of low uptake, observable economic decline, and concern about viability of businesses going forward suggest that available funding should be maximized,” the fourth recommendation read. “This may require sector engagement and/or adjustment to thresholds.”

Lastly, the report recommended closer collaboration with municipalities to help better implement pandemic response measures.

“The implementation of provincial measures could be more effective, efficient and better aligned through closer collaboration and increased two-way communication,” the report said.

More to come… 

Read the full report here:

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