Government of Alberta Releases 2-Stage Economic Recovery Strategy

Since our last edition, the government has released their ambitious two-stage Economic Recovery Strategy that includes a substantive plan to invest in infrastructure and diversify the economy, including dropping the corporate tax rate to 8 per cent. In March, the Premier convened an Economic Recovery Council to provide advice to the government as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and collapse in oil prices, with the Council completing their work June 18.

READ: New West Public Affairs’ analysis of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Strategy.

At a time when elected officials would normally be networking at Stampede or attending local parades and pancake breakfasts, the Legislature continues to sit. And, as often happens when MLAs stay gathered under the dome for too long, there are increased tensions between the UCP and NDP caucuses.

As of July 16, Alberta has 9,114 total cases of COVID-19, with 807 active cases, 8,142 recovered cases and 165 deaths. An outbreak at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton including seven deaths has resulted in the hospital closing its doors to new patients and cancelling all surgeries.

Below, you’ll find a summary of government legislation debated and introduced, key government announcements and Orders in Council.

Government Legislation Recap

Bill 7: Responsible Energy Development Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020

Bill 15: Choice in Education Act, 2020
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020

Bill 16: Victims of Crime (Strengthening Public Safety) Amendment Act, 2020 
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020

Bill 17: Mental Health Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020

Bill 18: Corrections (Alberta Parole Board) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020

Bill 19: Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020

Bill 21: Provincial Administrative Penalties Act
Stage: Committee of the Whole passed with amendments July 15, 2020

Bill 22: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020
Stage: Third Reading passed July 15, 2020

Bill 23: Commercial Tenancies Protection Act
Stage: Committee of the Whole passed with amendments July 8, 2020
Notes: if passed, this bill would protect eligible commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19 from having their leases terminated due to nonpayment of rent and protect commercial tenants from late fees and penalties associated with nonpayment of rent as well as from rent increases. It would also ensure that landlords don’t miss out on deferred rent by requiring that tenants and landlords work together to develop a rent payment plan for missed payments. 

Bill 24: COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Royal Assent received June 26, 2020
Notes: The bill proposes amendments to 15 acts across seven ministries. The amendments are being proposed following the state of public health emergency ending June 15. The proposed amendments will allow some pandemic response efforts to continue and introduce new measures, including extending the deadline for the public release of Alberta’s annual report and financial statements to August 31. 

Bill 25: Protecting Alberta Industry From Theft Act, 2020
Stage: Third Reading passed July 14, 2020
Notes: The bill and associated regulations will require scrap metal dealers to report all transactions involving commonly stolen metals and items such as catalytic converters to law enforcement. There are also proposed increased fines for individuals and corporations found in contravention of the act. 

Bill 26: Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act, 2020 
Stage: Third Reading passed July 15, 2020
Notes: If passed, the bill would allow the government to seek Albertans’ guidance on initiatives beyond constitutional matters, including recommendations from the Fair Deal Panel Report. 

Bill 27: Alberta Senate Election Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Third Reading passed July 15, 2020
Notes: This act would give the Minister of Municipal Affairs the same directive-making powers he has in municipal elections when a Senate election is held in conjunction with a municipal election and make technical changes to facilitate Senate elections.

Bill 28: Vital Statistics (Protecting Albertans from Convicted Sex Offenders) Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Third Reading passed July 9, 2020
Notes: This bill would require anyone 18 years of age or older to submit to a criminal background check as part of their application to change their name. Those convicted of designated sexual offences under the Criminal Code would be ineligible to complete a legal change of name in Alberta

Bill 29: Local Authorities Election Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading passed July 13, 2020
Notes: Following consultation in 2019 and aimed at leveling the playing field in local elections, the bill proposes changes to the laws governing municipal elections in the province: expanding campaign donations from a $4,000 total limit to $5,000 per donor per candidate across the province, allowing candidates to raise $5,000 outside of the campaign period, updating advertising rules, allocating surplus funds from elections to be donated to charity rather than carried over and moving the disclosure of donations until after the election is completed. 

Bill 30: Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading adjourned on amendment July 15, 2020
Notes: The omnibus legislation proposes substantive changes to Alberta’s health care model. Proposed amendments will strengthen the work of the Health Quality Council of Alberta, increase the number of public members on Health Professional Regulatory College councils, streamline the approval process for chartered surgical facilities, make it easier for physicians to enter into alternative compensation plans, create options for administration of medical clinics, clarify the role of AHS as the province’s single health authority and clarifying COVID-19 quarantine requirements. 

Bill 31: Environmental Protection Statutes Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading passed July 14, 2020
Notes: Bill 31 would amend the definition of minerals and pits and remove references to silica sand in the Public Lands Act. In May the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that sand is a mineral meaning that operations over 45,000 tonnes annually must be regulated as a quarry instead of a pit. The bill will provide clarity and regulatory certainty for operators about what constitutes a mineral and ensure sand continues to be regulated under its current process. 

Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, 2020
Stage: Second Reading adjourned July 15, 2020
Notes: The legislation makes a number of changes to labour legislation that are business friendly, including making changes to union certification and revocation, creating an opt-in policy for funding political activities with union dues, updating rules for collective agreements, updating rules for temporary layoff notices and more. Unsurprisingly, the legislation has been met with resistance from the NDP opposition and labour unions in the province.

Bill 33: Alberta Investment Attraction Act
Stage: Second Reading passed July 16, 2020
Notes: Bill 33 would create the Invest Alberta Corporation, an arm’s-length agency that would help promote Alberta as a prime investment location for businesses from across Canada and around the world, attracting high-value, job-creating investment. If the legislation passes, a public board would oversee the corporation’s operations and investment attraction activities. Government would provide $6 million annually for the next three years for its operations.

Bill 34: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 2020
Stage: First Reading passed July 16, 2020
Notes: This act will make minor amendments to a number of acts, which include the Interpretation Act, the Petty Trespass Act, the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act, the Family Law Act, the Provincial Offences Procedure Act, the Jury Act, the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act, the Alberta Personal Income Tax Act, the Fiscal Measures and Taxation Act, 2019, the Public Service Act, the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, the Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act, the Condominium Property Act, the Electronic Transactions Act, the Garage Keepers’ Lien Act, the Marriage Act, the Religious Societies’ Land Act, and the Teaching Profession Act. The amendments are housekeeping in nature and would provide clarity and consistency.

Government of Alberta Announcements

Orders in Council

OC 186/2020: Effective July 1, 2020, reappoints Tom Woods as a member of the board of directors of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation for a term to expire on June 30, 2023, and appoints Mark Wiseman as a member and designates him as chair of the board of directors of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation for a term to expire on June 30, 2023.

OC 187/2020: Effective June 24, 2020, designates Carolyn Dahl Rees as the Chair of the Alberta Utilities Commission for a term to expire on June 23, 2021, and rescinds the appointment of a member of the Alberta Utilities Commission.

OC 188/2020: Establishes the property tax rates expressed in mills (mill rate) in respect of payments by municipalities into the Alberta School Foundation Fund for the year 2020. The residential and farm land mill rate is set at 2.55, non-residential at 3.75 and machinery and equipment at 0.

OC 189/2020: Effective July 1, 2020, reappoints Alison Cutknife and Neil Pierce as members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, each for a term to expire on June 30, 2021, reappoints Shino Nakane and Cathy Smith as members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, each for a term to expire on June 30, 2022, appoints Heath Birkholz, Greg McMeekin and Charlene Tolentino as members of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, each for a term to expire on June 30, 2023, and appoints Greg McMeekin as chair of the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities.

OC 190/2020: Makes the Employment Pension Plans Amendment Regulation to allow for funding requirement and actuarial excess use exemptions in 2020.

OC 191/2020: Extends the duration and increases the budget of the public inquiry into foreign funding of campaigns targeting Canada’s oil and gas sector. The new deadline for a report is October 30 and an additional $1 million has been allocated to the inquiry.

OC 192/2020: Makes the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Regulation to align with recently passed legislation.

OC 193/2020: Updates the Victims of Crime Regulation to align with recently passed legislation and renames as the Victims of Crime and Public Safety Amendment Regulation.

OC 194/2020: Appoints Omer Moghrabi as a member of the Northern Alberta Development Council for a term to expire on July 7, 2022; reappoints Cody Beairsto, Peter Cardinal and Jason Schulz, and, effective September 14, 2020, appoints Loretta Lieverse as a member of the Northern Alberta Development Council for a term to expire on September 13, 2022.

OC 195/2020: Extends the Municipal Affairs Grants Regulation by one year so that a grant is payable in respect of a facility for taxes imposed in each of the years from 2002 to 2021.

OC 196/2020: Appoints Zarina Bhambhani and Lillian Zenari as members of the board of The Governors of The University of Alberta, each for a term to expire on July 7, 2023.

OC 197/2020: Appoints Paul McLauchlin and former Alberta MP Ted Menzies as members of The Board of Governors of Olds College, each for a term to expire on July 7, 2023.

OC 198/2020: Authorizes the Alberta Energy Regulator to grant Approval No. 12992 to Bruderheim Energy Terminal Ltd. to construct and operate a Diluent Recovery Unit (DRU) Processing Plant Project to recover diluent from diluted bitumen.

OC 199/2020: Sets the remuneration available for the CEO of the Independent System Operator as a level 7 organization, the highest level of remuneration for agencies, boards and commissions.

OC 200-202/2020: Creates regulation regarding senate elections in the province including grants, forms and nominations.

OC 203/2020: Repeals the expiry date of the Victims of Crime and Public Safety Amendment Regulation.

OC 204/2020: Appoints David Rolfe as a member of the Public Health Appeal Board for a further term to expire on May 23, 2023, appoints Kevin Kelly as a member and designates him as chair of the Public Health Appeal Board for a term to expire on July 7, 2023, and appoints Miles Weatherall as a member and designates him as vice-chair of the Public Health Appeal Board for a term to expire on July 7, 2022.

OC 205/2020: Appoints Randy Henderson as a member and designates him as chair of the Audit Committee for a further term to expire on December 31, 2020, and appoints Lori Bokenfohr as a member of the Audit Committee for a further term to expire on June 30, 2023.

OC 206/2020: Appoints Kenneth G. Morris, nominated by Credit Union Central Alberta Limited, as a director of the Credit Union Deposit Guarantee Corporation for a further term to expire on April 30, 2023.

OC 207/2020: Makes changes to the Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis regulation including expanding Bring Your Own Wine policies for licensees to be expanded to all types of liquor.

OC 208/2020: Appoints Joanne Weninger, employee representative to represent non-union employees, as a member of the board of directors of the LAPP Corporation for a term to expire on June 30, 2023.

OC 209/2020: Appoints Noelle Devlin, the nominee nominated by the Public Service Commissioner, as a non-voting member of the Management Employees Pension Board for a term to expire on June 30, 2023.

OC 210/2020: Makes the Reform of Agencies, Boards and Commissions Compensation Amendment Regulation by adding the LAPP, PSPP, SFPP and Teachers’ Pension Plans Board of Trustees to the compensation tables as level three and four organizations.

Upcoming Committee Meeting Dates


July 17, 2020
  • Select Special Public Health Act Review Committee (Agenda)
July 20, 2020
  • tanding Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills – Bill 204: Voluntary Blood Donations Repeal Act (Agenda)
July 21, 2020
  • Standing Committee on Public Accounts – Ministry of Municipal Affairs (Agenda)