New Mandatory Provincewide Measures

As we bid a very hearty adieu to 2020 and the mayhem it brought, it is worth revisiting the busy fall session of the Alberta Legislature. In total, 15 government bills were passed this fall on a wide range of topics largely outside the focus of the COVID-19 pandemic as the UCP continues to chip away at fulfilling platform commitments made during the campaign. At this point, they are about 75 per cent of the way through that list. Royal Assent was received on the 15 government bills outside of the House on December 9, 2020. During the spring sitting that will begin in February, you can expect the focus to be on a provincial budget due at the end of that month, and further plans to reignite and diversify a lagging economy.

The focus of most Albertans for the past month has been on COVID-19 and the measures announced by Premier Jason Kenney. The new mandatory provincewide measures largely went into effect December 13 and included an immediate ban on all indoor and outdoor social gatherings, mandatory masking, a limit to 15 per cent occupancy for places of worship and retail, the closure of bars and restaurants for in-person dining and the closure of casinos, fitness centres, libraries, hair salons and others in similar categories. Mandatory work from home measures where available are also in effect. It was announced yesterday that the sweeping measures will continue until at least January 21with the exception of in-person learning for K-12 students that will resume as planned on Monday.

As of January 7, Alberta has 13,298 active cases of COVID-19, 968 new cases, 871 in hospital, 139 in intensive care and 1,217 deaths. There are currently 25 acute care outbreaks in the province. Immunizations with both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are underway in the province for healthcare workers and at continuing care homes. As of January 6, 33,864 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta, depleting close to 60% of delivered supply. The Premier will provide another vaccine update today where he is expected to announce a significant acceleration of vaccination rates, while joining provincial counterparts in warning of dwindling supply

December also saw the unveiling of the Trudeau Liberals $15-billion climate plan, including a five-fold jump in the carbon tax over the next ten years. By 2030, the price under the plan will have climbed to $170 per tonne. UCP Environment Minister Jason Nixon reacted to the Liberal plan calling it “another attack on Alberta’s economy and Alberta’s jurisdiction”.

Shortly before the Christmas break, the team at New West Public Affairs spent an hour prognosticating on what may come for Alberta in the year ahead. Thank you to the hundreds who signed up to watch it live and to those of you who missed it, you can catch the webinar here.

Below, you’ll find a recap of other government announcements and Orders in Council passed since our last edition.

Government of Alberta Announcements

Orders in Council

OC 379/2020: Effective December 21, 2020, appoints Sherri Wilson as Deputy Minister of Children’s Services.

OC 380/2020: Makes the Order Annexing Land from Foothills County to the Town of High River.

OC 381/2020: Makes the Order Annexing Land from Parkland County to the City of Spruce Grove.

OC 382/2020: Makes the Order Annexing Land from Special Area No. 3 to the Town of Oyen.

OC 383/2020: Makes the Order Annexing Land from The Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26 to the Town of Claresholm.

OC 384/2020: Makes the Order Dissolving the Village of Cereal.

OC 385/2020: Makes the Order Dissolving the Village of Dewberry.

OC 386/2020: Makes the Order Dissolving the Village of Wabamun.

OC 387/2020: Makes the Administrative Items Amendment Regulation outlining photo ID requirements and components of a project that may be reviewed at the request of a safety officer.

OC 388/2020: Makes the Motor Vehicle Gas Conversion (Expiry Date Extension) Amendment Regulation to extend the expiry to November 30, 2025.

OC 389/2020: Effective January 1, 2021, appoints William J. Johnson, Q.C. as a member of the Labour Relations Board and designates him as vice-chair for a term to expire on December 31, 2023; effective January 1, 2021, appoints Nancy Schlesinger as a member of the Labour Relations Board and designates her as Chair and Commissioner for a term to expire on December 31, 2025. The appointments were also noted in a news release.

OC 390/2020: Makes the Radiation Health Administration (Expiry Date Extension) Amendment Regulation, extending the expiry to July 31, 2022.

OC 391/2020: Makes the Workers’ Compensation Act (Various Regulations) Amendment Regulation.

OC 392/2020: Makes the Agricultural Operations, Part 2 Matters Amendment Regulation, making changes regarding odour production, new livestock categories and extending the expiry to June 30, 2025.

OC 393/2020: Makes the Animal Health (General) Amendment Regulation to align with red tape reduction legislation.

OC 394/2020: Makes the Authorized Medicine Sales Amendment Regulation to align with red tape reduction legislation.

OC 395/2020: Makes the Forest Resources Improvement (Expiry Date Extension) Amendment Regulation extending the expiry to February 28, 2024.

OC 396/2020: Makes the Forest Protection Area (Expiry Date Repeal) Amendment Regulation, repealing the expiry date in the regulation.

OC 397/2020: Makes the Rural Utilities (Expiry Date Extension) Amendment Regulation extending the expiry to September 30, 2022.

OC 398/2020: Makes the Soil Conservation Notice (Expiry Date Extension) Amendment Regulation extending the expiry to November 30, 2025.

OC 399/2020: Makes the Forms (Expiry Date Extension) Amendment Regulation extending the expiry to June 30, 2025.

OC 400/2020: Effective January 1, 2021, appoints Patricia Moore as a member of the Council of the Alberta Order of Excellence for a term to expire on December 31, 2023.

OC 401/2020: Makes the Correctional Institution Amendment Regulation.

OC 402/2020: Appoints Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra as Chief Medical Examiner.

OC 403/2020: Appoints Stephen Clifford Davis as a justice of the peace and designates him as a part-time justice of the peace for a term of 10 years.

OC 404/2020: Effective December 13, 2020, appoints John Weissenberger as a member of the board of The Governors of the University of Calgary for a term to expire on December 12, 2023.

OC 405/2020: Makes the Conservation and Reclamation Amendment Regulation making changes regarding environmental protection orders and extending the expiry of the regulation to June 30, 2025 among other minor changes.

OC 406-407/2020: Transfers the administration and control of certain public land to the Crown in right of Canada in partial settlement of the Bigstone Cree Nation treaty land entitlement claim.

OC 408/2020: Effective January 1, 2021, designates Michael Godwin as chair of the Audit Committee for a term to expire on October 23, 2022.

OC 409-10/2020: Effective January 31, 2021, appoints Usman Mahmood as a member and reappoints Dr. Wilma Slenders as a member of the Life Insurance Council for terms to expire on January 30, 2024.

OC 411/2020: Makes the Automobile Insurance Premiums Amendment Regulation to align with changes made as a result of Bill 41 this fall.

OC 412/2020: Appoints Michael Baker as a member of the board of directors of the SFPP Corporation for a term to expire on December 31, 2021.

OC 413/2020: Makes the Management Employees Pension Plan Amendment Regulation.

OC 414/2020: Appoints Sarah Carr as a non-voting member of the Management Employees Pension Board for a term to expire on December 31, 2023 and rescinds the appointment of Noelle Devlin as a non-voting member of the Management Employees Pension Board.

OC 415-416/2020: Effective January 1, 2021, reappoints Shannon Patershukand Deborah Polny as members of the Management Employees Pension Board for terms to expire on December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2023 respectively.

OC 417/2020: Effective December 19, 2020, reappoints Sandra Johnston as a member of the Teachers’ Pension Plans Board of Trustees for a term to expire on December 18, 2024.

OC 418/2020: Makes the Justices of the Peace Compensation Order.

OC 419/2020: Effective January 4, 2021, appoints Cairns Price and Vera Slawinski as members of the Alberta Utilities Commission and designates Carolyn Dahl Rees as Chair of the Alberta Utilities Commission, each for a term to expire on January 3, 2026. The appointments were also recognized in a news release.

OC 420/2020: Effective January 4, 2021, nominates Vincent Kostesky and Douglas A. Larder as persons from among whom acting members of the Alberta Utilities Commission may be selected, each for a term to expire on January 3, 2026.

OC 421/2020: Makes the Victims of Crime and Public Safety Amendment Regulation implementing new regulation regarding surcharges.

OC 422/2020: Makes the Exploration Amendment Regulation making changes to exploration directives, requirements for notice to departmental authorities and other persons, operation of exploration equipment and other changes including extending the expiry to June 30, 2030.

OC 423/2020: Makes the Utility Payment Deferral Program Regulation.

OC 424/2020: Makes the Hospitalization Benefits Amendment Regulation removing gendered language from the regulation.