Premier Kenney Releases the Fair Deal Panel Report

This week Premier Kenney released the final report of the Fair Deal Panel, convened in 2019 to develop ideas that could give the province a stronger role in Confederation.

Following engagement that included town halls across the province and online submissions, over 40,000 Albertans participated. The report contains 25 recommendations, of which the UCP government has accepted 23.

Work is already underway on some of the recommendations, including some that dovetail with campaign commitments in the UCP’s platform. Work to reform the federal equalization program, establishing a provincial chief firearms officer, and working with other provinces and territories to develop economic resource corridors for oil and gas pipelines are underway with other significant ideas like creating an Alberta Pension Plan and Alberta Police Service receiving detailed study.

You can read the full list of recommendations and actions taken to date by the government here.

One week into Stage 2 and with expanded testing, there has been no significant spike in COVID-19 cases. As of June 18, Alberta has 7,579 cases of COVID-19, with 489 active cases, 6,938 recovered cases and 152 deaths.

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

Government Legislation Recap

Bill 1: Critical Infrastructure Defence Act

Stage: Royal Assent received June 17, 2020

Bill 2: Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis Amendment Act, 2020 

Stage: Royal Assent received June 17, 2020

Bill 4: Fiscal Planning and Transparency (Fixed Budget Period) Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Royal Assent received June 17, 2020

Bill 7: Responsible Energy Development Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned June 17
Notes: Bill 7 makes changes to the approval process for oil and gas projects in the province through giving government the power to set deadlines for the Alberta Energy Regulator. Maximum timelines aren’t included in the legislation, but would be set through regulation.

Bill 15: Choice in Education Act, 2020

Stage:  Committee of the Whole adjourned June 17
Notes: Bill 15, would protect and strengthen choice within Alberta’s education system through amendments to the Education Act. The legislation follows through on a campaign commitment from the UCP and is sure to be a major point of debate between the government and opposition NDP.

Bill 16: Victims of Crime (Strengthening Public Safety) Amendment Act, 2020 

Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned June 17
Notes: If passed, Bill 16 would expand the scope of the Victims of Crime Fund to include public safety initiatives that deter crime to prevent victimization while continuing to provide supports to victims of serious crimes.

Bill 17: Mental Health Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned June 17
Notes: Alberta’s Mental Health Act currently allows for individuals with serious mental health disorders to be involuntarily detained for treatment. Proposed amendments in Bill 17 would strengthen the rights of patients. The amendments would also modernize the act and reduce red tape, providing for more timely and responsive care.

Bill 18: Corrections (Alberta Parole Board) Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned June 16
Notes: Following through on a campaign commitment from the UCP, the legislation would result in the creation of the Alberta parole board.

Bill 19: Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Committee of the Whole adjourned June 16
Notes: The Act would make changes to the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act to further reduce the health harms associated with smoking and second-hand smoke, and in particular address the rising rates of youth vaping. The act proposes amendments that strengthen existing tobacco control measures and introduces aligned vaping provisions.

Bill 20: Real Estate Amendment Act, 2020

Stage: Royal Assent received June 17, 2020
Notes: Bill 20 continues the work started last fall with Bill 15, which addressed problems with the Real Estate Council of Alberta by dismissing the full council. The changes proposed in Bill 20 will allow for a restructuring of RECA to ensure greater transparency, increased accountability, and improved governance of the real estate regulator.

Bill 21: Provincial Administrative Penalties Act

Stage: Second Reading adjourned June 17
Notes: Bill 21 would amend the Traffic Safety Act to give Alberta some of the strongest impaired driving penalties in the country. It would also create an administrative procedure that would be used for first time impaired driving offences and in the future traffic tickets and potentially other provincial regulatory contraventions.

Bill 22: Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, 2020

Stage: First Reading passed June 11
Notes: This wide sweeping bill makes 14 legislative changes across six different ministries. Several of these changes work to promote job creation and support economic growth by removing unnecessary burdens imposed on Albertans and businesses including moving Alberta from two provincially funded emissions reduction agencies to one. The remaining changes focus on expediting government approvals, enhancing government transparency, eliminating outdated requirements, and reducing the administrative burden on municipalities.

Bill 23: Commercial Tenancies Protection Act

Stage: First Reading passed June 16
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: First Reading passed June 18
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: First Reading passed June 18
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.

Government of Alberta Announcements

Orders in Council

OC 181/2020: Further clarifies variance and exemption of unpaid family leave related to COVID-19 including giving the employer as much notice as possible. The regulation takes effect August 15, 2020.

OC 182/2020: Effective July 16, 2020, appoints Charlene Butler as a member of the board of The Governors of The University of Alberta for a term to expire on July 15, 2023 and effective September 28, 2020, appoints Sett Policicchio as a member of the board of The Governors of The University of Alberta for a term to expire on September 27, 2023.

OC 183/2020: Reappoints Dr. Vonda Bobart as a member and redesignates her as chair of the Fatality Review Board for a term to expire on September 30, 2022 with remuneration subject to review.

OC 184/2020: Designates the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Doug Schweitzer, as the provincial minister for the purposes of the Firearms Act (Canada).

OC 185/2020: Effective immediately, appoints Karena Apps Eccles and Kevin Kelly as members of the Health Disciplines Board for terms to expire June 16, 2023 with Karena Apps Eccles also named as deputy chair effective November 29, 2020. Effective November 29, 2020, appoints Patrizia Valle as a member of the Board for a term to expire on November 28, 2022. Effective December 4, 2020, designates Craig Hrynchuk as chair of the Board and Dr. Peter Jamieson as a member of the Board for a term to expire December 3, 2023.

Upcoming Committee Meeting Dates

June 23, 2020
  • Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Treasury Board and Finance, ATB
  • Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members’ Public Bills, Bill Pr1 and Bill 203
June 26, 2020