Posted on Dec 2, 2016

A Breakdown of Bills Being Looked at in the Alberta Legislature

In this column, I thought it might be interesting to provide an overview of some significant Bills that have been introduced and are being voted on in this session. The Bills and their status can be found on the Legislative Assembly of Alberta website at: http://www.assembly.ab.ca/net/index.aspx?p=bills_home.

Bill 21 Modernized Municipal Government Act: This Bill was introduced during the Spring Session and benefited from wide-ranging consultations with municipalities and other stakeholders. Following the consultations, amendments were introduced by the government to expand the scope of offsite levies ensuring that the cost of building the infrastructure necessary to support Alberta's growing communities is distributed fairly and to clarifying matters related to planning and development, assessment and Intermunicipal Collaboration Frameworks. In addition, the Minister initiated a consultation on the suggestions that had been made but could not be incorporated into the current amendments. The discussion paper can be found at http://mgareview.alberta.ca/.

Bill 24 Forest and Prairie Protection Amendment Act, 2016: This Act strengthens penalties to help deter high-risk activities such as: abandoning campfires or burning during fire bans; improving the ability to restrict activities that can cause a wildfire when fire conditions are hazardous; improving the authority to stop actions that interfere with firefighting, including restricting drones; designating March 1 as the official start of fire season; and clarifying operational processes, roles and responsibilities.

Bill 25 Oil Sands Emissions Limit Act: This legislation limits oil sands greenhouse gas emissions to an annual maximum of 100 megatonnes, with allowances for new upgrading and co-generation.

Bill 26  Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day Act: The Act makes Sept. 7 of each year known as “Alberta’s Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day.” This Act is particularly meaningful in Sherwood Park as we have many people of Ukrainian descent as well as bilingual Ukrainian schools.

Bill 27 Renewable Electricity Act: This Act will put Alberta on a path to achieve its target of 30 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and provides the legislative framework for the Renewable Electricity Program. It will add 5,000 megawatts of renewable electricity capacity using a competitive process, administered by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO).

Bill 28 Public Health Amendment Act: This Act is addressing the low immunization rates in Alberta by facilitating the collection of student enrolment information to help identify students with incomplete immunization records and provide information to parents of students who do not have complete immunization records.

Bill 29 Vital Statistics and Life Events Modernization Act: The Act clarifies that parents may choose any last name for their child, enables a future online birth registration system, removing the requirement for a doctor’s letter to marry the person of one’s choice, preparing for a third marker on vital records for those who do not identify as male or female, and removing the requirement of sex-reassignment surgery for a change of sex on birth records.

Bill 30 Investing in a Diversified Alberta Economy Act: This Bill allows government to establish two tax credits that would drive innovation, diversification and job creation. The Capital Investment Tax Credit would offer a 10 percent, non-refundable tax credit of up to $5 million to Alberta companies involved in manufacturing, processing and tourism infrastructure. The Alberta Investor Tax Credit would have a budget of $90 million over three years and would be available for investments in companies that are engaged substantially in proprietary technology research, development or commercialization, interactive digital media development, video post-production, digital animation or tourism.

Bill 31 Agencies, Boards and Commissions Review Statutes Amendment Act: This Act would repeal or amend relevant legislation to allow the dissolution of the Government House Foundation, Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta and Wild Rose Foundation. The Bill would also enhance administration and governance provisions for some agencies reviewed in the first phase of the ABC review. It would make governance provisions for Human Services’ various appeals panels consistent and would enable a more effective administration process for appeals.

Bill 32 Credit Union Amendment Act: The proposed legislation would allow Alberta’s 22 credit unions to broker insurance through a subsidiary in a separate and distinct location. It would also clarify that businesses can become members of credit unions and allow members to take advantage of federal tax planning programs for interest earned on credit union revenue.

Bill 34 Electric Utilities Amendment Act: This Bill would allow the Balancing Pool to borrow money from the province to manage its funding obligation. This would allow the Balancing Pool to smooth price volatility over a longer period of time and would support electricity costs to remain low and stable.

Bill 35 Fair Elections Financing Act: This Bill introduces an aggregate contribution limit of $4,000 per individual contributor per calendar year. The Act also proposes amendments to limit campaign spending, set reasonable rules for leadership contests and nomination races, regulate loans and guarantees to political parties, and improve transparency in third party advertising.

Bill 36 An Act to Enhance Off-Highway Vehicle Safety: This Act would require recreational users of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, dirt bikes, etc., to wear helmets. The proposed amendments would not require use of helmets for farming and ranching work for those who continue to be exempt under the Occupational Health & Safety Code. The proposed amendments to the TSA would specifically exempt private property and First Nations and Metis Settlement lands.

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