Fall Sitting to Wrap Up Mid-December

With federal modelling projecting COVID case counts could reach between 20,000 and 60,000 cases per day across the country, provincial governments have re-doubled public health efforts to tackle the second wave sweeping across Canada.

Last week, Premier Kenney, Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw, and Health Minister Tyler Shandro held a news conference announcing new measures in Alberta. The targeted public health measures came into effect a week ago and were described as being our last chance to avoid more restrictive measures.

The changes apply to all communities on the enhanced watch list and include:

  • No social gatherings inside your home or outside of your community
  • 15-person limit on family and social gatherings
  • Employers in office settings encouraged to reduce the number of employees in the workplace at any one time
  • Restaurants and pubs to stop liquor sales by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m. between November 13-27
  • Ban on indoor group fitness classes and team sports between November 13-27
  • Ban on group singing, dancing and performing activities between November 13-27
  • 50-person limit on wedding and funeral services
  • Faith-based gatherings limited to ⅓ capacity

Since last week’s announcement, Alberta has seen the highest recorded number of cases in one day (1,105) and the highest number of deaths in one day (20). As of November 19, Alberta has 10,382 active cases with 284 in hospital, 61 in intensive care and 451 deaths. There are also acute care outbreaks at 11 Alberta healthcare facilities.

The targeted measures were set to expire a week from today, however, we have been told to additional restrictions are under consideration and may be introduced next week. Expect to see the return of daily briefings with Dr. Hinshaw beginning on Monday.

Despite this, the Alberta Legislature continues to sit, with 14 government bills having been introduced so far. We understand a few pieces of legislation remain and will likely be introduced before the fall sitting wraps up in mid-December.

Below, you’ll find a summary of government legislation, announcements and Orders in Council since our last edition.

Government Legislation Recap

Bill 35: Tax Statutes (Creating Jobs and Driving Innovation) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading adjourned on amendment November 18, 2020
Notes: The legislation implements two aspects of Alberta’s recovery plan: the acceleration of the government’s corporate tax cut to 8 per cent a year and a half ahead of schedule and the introduction of the innovation employment grant, providing Alberta companies with grants worth up to 20 per cent of qualifying research and development spending.

Bill 36: Geothermal Resource Development Act
Stage: Committee of the Whole passed November 19, 2020
Notes: This legislation will set the foundation for the development of geothermal in the province by clarifying the rules and processes for industry, establishing the framework and legislative authority for land use and liability management, and protecting landowners and mineral rights owners. More specifically it provides the Alberta Energy Regulator with the authority to regulate geothermal projects that take place below the base of groundwater protection.

Bill 37: Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned with amendments November 4, 2020
Notes: The changes to the Builders’ Lien Act are the first in almost 20 yearsand address long-standing concerns within the construction industry, including payment timelines, lien periods and adjudication.

Bill 38: Justice Statutes Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned November 18, 2020
Notes: This legislation recognizes Alberta’s First Nations police forces formallyin the Police Act, enables juror summons to be send via email, allows Albertans to participate in hearings and trials via telephone and video conference, expands the list of offences eligible for civil forfeiture and opens up the list of qualifications necessary for a Queen’s Counsel appointment.

Bill 39: Child Care Licensing (Early Learning and Child Care) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading passed November 18, 2020
Notes: After the first consultation in more than a decade, Alberta’s government is proposing new legislation and regulation to reduce red tape and improve accessibility of child care. This legislation will work towards more flexibility and transparency for parents including 24 hour care, simplify language and rules for operators including digital record keeping, and increase quality and safety in child care programs through a risk-based licensing program.

Bill 40: Forests (Growing Alberta’s Forest Sector) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading passed November 16, 2020
Notes: The legislation reduces regulatory burden, provides flexibility to foresters on when they can harvest and removes redundant licensing requirements.

Bill 41: Insurance (Enhancing Driver Affordability and Care) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading passed November 18, 2020
Notes: Following recommendations of the Automobile Insurance Advisory Committee, the legislation introduces actions to address affordability of auto insurance, increase medical benefits and cut red tape. The government proposes greater engagement with Albertans and stakeholder for larger reforms down the road.

Bill 42: North Saskatchewan River Basin Water Authorization Act 
Stage: Third Reading passed November 5, 2020
Notes: This legislation is a special act of the Legislature to approve two interbasin transfers from the North Saskatchewan River basin to the Athabasca River basin to address drinking water challenges in two communities. It allows the two small communities to connect to the regional waterline operated by the West Inter Lake District Regional Water Services Commission, providing residents with a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water.

Bill 43: Financing Alberta’s Strategic Transportation Act 
Stage: Second Reading passed November 18, 2020
Notes: This bill will allow the government to establish a user fee (toll road) to finance certain highway and road construction projects and ensure that the fee will be eliminated when a project has been paid for.

Bill 44: Financial Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 
Stage: Second Reading adjourned November 16, 2020
Notes: This legislation follows industry consultation and amends seven other pieces of legislation to reduce red tape for financial sector job creators while improving the resilience of Alberta’s financial institutions.

Bill 45: Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020 
Stage: Second Reading passed November 17, 2020
Notes: This legislation proposes changes to the Local Authorities Election Actto ensure municipal and school board elections are easily accessible and cost-effective for Albertans by holding them at the same time as a Senate vote or referendum. This means a municipality will no longer have the ability to change its local voting date to a Saturday in years where a Senate election or provincial referendum is intended to be held at the same time. In addition, to support transparency and accountability in municipal elections, it establishes contribution limits of $30,000 per donor per third-party advertiser.

Bill 46: Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 
Stage: Second Reading adjourned November 17, 2020
Notes: Proposed amendments would focus on improving healthcare governance and accountability, including through strengthening protection of patients by regulating health-care aides, separating regulatory colleges from professional associations and allowing for the amalgamation of some smaller colleges, establishing a centralized, public-facing online registry of health professionals to help Albertans find a health provider and repealing the Hospitals Act.

Bill 47: Ensuring Safety and Cutting Red Tape Act, 2020 
Stage: Second Reading adjourned November 18, 2020
Notes: Bill 47 undoes some labour changes made by the NDP government. It removes duplication and redundancy throughout the OHS Act including streamlining the complaint and appeal process, adding flexibility for health and safety committees and representatives for work sites with multiple employers and a prime contractor and removes prescriptive elements brought in by the previous government in order to improve flexibility for job creators and better align Alberta with other jurisdictions. The legislation also follows through on the government’s commitment to create a Hero’s Fund. NDP Leader Rachel Notley has vowed to fight the changes.

Bill 48: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020, (No. 2)
Stage: Second Reading adjourned November 18, 2020
Notes: For the second time this year, Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction Grant Hunter has introduced legislation to, you guessed it, reduce red tape. This iteration proposes 12 changes across eight ministries that will speed up approvals and reduce wait times, including changes to the Municipal Government Act that will impact development.

Government of Alberta Announcements

  • Alberta’s government has shortlisted three qualified groups to deliver five new high schools through a public-private partnership (P3).
  • The Alberta government will take action on 15 recommendations found in an independent report contracted regarding the province’s response to the 2019 wildfire season.
  • Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, and Dr. Keith Lehman, chief provincial veterinarian, issued a statement on Influenza A (H1N2)v or swine flu in Alberta.
  • Power and electrical systems at Calgary’s Foothills Medical Centre will be upgraded to improve safety at the hospital.
  • Alberta’s government is using up to $280 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) system and Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund (LCELF) to fund three Emissions Reduction Alberta programs that will support around 5,000 jobs and cut an estimated 13 million tonnes of emissions by 2030.
  • The province is partnering with Nordiq Alberta to groom winter trails in Kananaskis.
  • The governments of Canada and Alberta are expanding and extending the Alberta Beekeeper Stock Replacement Program to provide additional support for the province’s beekeepers.
  • In partnership with Mitacs, post-secondary institutions and employers, Alberta’s government is creating more than 3,800 internship opportunitiesto build hands-on learning opportunities for students, researchers and industry partners.
  • The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP), part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan has been launched to help attract billions to petrochemical programs in the province and aggressively compete against other jurisdictions. APIP offers a direct financial incentive on new petrochemical or fertilizer facilities, or on expansions to existing ones.

Orders in Council

OC 314/2020: Reappoints Paul Bokenfohr, Allan Brown, Clayton Davis, Jody L. Fraser, Crystal Norton, Daunine Rachert, Brygeda Renke, Carl Soderstrom and Karen Thibault as members of the Labour Relations Board, each for a term to expire on October 30, 2023.

OC 315/2020: Makes the Insignia Amendment Regulation to update the description of the Alberta Order of Excellence and how to wear it.

OC 316/2020: Makes the Designation and Transfer of Responsibility Amendment Regulation making various housekeeping changes to legislation.

OC 317/2020: Makes the Alberta Rules of Court Amendment Regulation.

OC 318/2020: Effective October 31, 2020, reappoints Melinda Park as a member of the Board of Governors of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for a term to expire on October 30, 2023; effective December 13, 2020, reappoints Peter May as a member of the Board of Governors of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology for a term to expire on December 12, 2023.

OC 319/2020: Reappoints Brenda Ballachey, Meg Barker, Anjum Mullick and Nick Tywoniuk as members of the Environmental Appeals Board, each for a term to expire on October 20, 2021; effective November 27, 2020, reappoints Line Lacasse as a member of the Environmental Appeals Board for a term to expire on November 26, 2021.

OC 320/2020: Makes the Economic Development and Trade Grant Amendment Regulation to align with the new name of the ministry.

OC 321/2020: Appoints Greg Francis as a member of the Teachers’ Pension Plans Board of Trustees for a further term to expire on October 20, 2024.

OC 322/2020: Makes the Curtailment Rules Amendment Regulation to extend the availability of curtailment until December 31, 2024.

OC 323/2020: Reappoints Elaine Wong as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Calgary for a term to expire October 30, 2023.

OC 324/2020: Reappoints Karen Gunn and appoints Darcy Gonci as members of the Board of Governors of the University of Lethbridge for terms to expire October 27, 2023.

OC 325/2020: Appoints Cherith Mark as a member of the Board of Governors of the Banff Centre for a term to expire October 27, 2023.

OC 326/2020: As mentioned in the previous Roundup, extends the Public Inquiry into foreign funding of anti-oil and gas sentiment to January 31, 2021.

OC 327/2020: Proclaims section 11(3)(b) and (c) and (19) of the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, 2020 in force on the date of issue of the Proclamation.

OC 328/2020: Makes the Regional Health Authority Collective Bargaining Amendment Regulation to define nurse practitioner, advanced nursing care and extending to March 31, 2022.

OC 329/2020: Approves the Physicians, Surgeons, Osteopaths and Physician Assistants Profession Regulation.

OC 330/2020: Makes the Indemnity Authorization Amendment Regulation regarding indemnity for school boards and came into effect November 1, 2020.

OC 331/2020: Makes the Automobile Accident Insurance Benefits Amendment Regulation increasing various amounts for benefits.

OC 332/2020: Makes the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols Amendment Regulation by defining adjunct therapy and subsequent definitions that took effect November 1, 2020.

OC 333/2020: Makes the Minor Injury Amendment Regulation.

OC 334/2020: Appoints Yasmin Jivraj as a member of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for a term to expire on November 3, 2022; appoints Andrea True Joy Fox as a member of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for a term to expire on November 3, 2023.

OC 335/2020: Appoints Dr. Susan Novak as a member of the Alberta Agricultural Products Marketing Council for a term to expire on November 3, 2023.

OC 336/2020: Appoints Erin Elisabeth Olsen as a judge of The Provincial Court of Alberta.

OC 337/2020: Makes the Health Information Amendment Regulation regarding right of recovery.