Thousands of Albertans packed the Legislature Grounds to watch Premier Rachel Notley and the NDP cabinet be sworn-in.

What new laws did Alberta’s NDP Government pass in 2015?

The fall session of the Alberta Legislature ended last week and MLAs will now spend the next few weeks working in their constituencies until the Assembly returns in early 2016. The Assembly passed nine pieces of legislation introduced by Alberta’s New Democratic Party government in its first full session of the Legislature since it formed government.

The first four bills introduced by the government reflected key promises made by Rachel Notley‘s NDP during the 2015 election. One private members bill, introduced by Independent Calgary-Bow MLA Deborah Drever, was passed by the Assembly (a rare feat for opposition MLAs).

Here is a quick look at the ten bills that were passed by MLAs since the NDP formed government in 2015:

Kathleen Ganley NDP Calgary Buffalo

Kathleen Ganley

Bill 1: An Act to Renew Democracy in Alberta

Introduced by Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, Bill 1 banned corporate and union donations to provincial political parties in Alberta. The bill received royal assent on June 29, 2015, but was made retroactive on June 15, 2015. This new law was a major blow to the Progressive Conservative Party, which had become accustomed to relying heavily on corporate donations to fund their campaigns and operations. The ban was not extended to municipal elections.

Bill 2: An Act to Restore Fairness to Public Revenue

Introduced by Finance Minister Joe Ceci, Bill 2 eliminated Alberta’s 10 percent flat tax and introduced a progressive taxation system with five rates of personal income tax up to 15 percent for income above $300,000. Bill 2 also increased Alberta’s corporate tax rate from 10 percent to 12 percent, bringing our province in line with Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Despite the increase, tax rates in Alberta still remain lower than what existed during much of the time Ralph Klein served as Premier.

Joe Ceci Calgary NDP

Joe Ceci

Bill 3: Appropriation (Interim Supply) Act, 2015

Introduced by Mr. Ceci, Bill 3 reversed funding cuts made to education, health care, and human services by the PC government before the May 5, 2015 election.

Bill 4: An Act to Implement Various Tax Measures and to Enact the Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act

Introduced by Mr. Ceci, Bill 4 repealed and replaced the Fiscal Management Act and introduced requirements in a Fiscal Planning and Transparency Act, which include presenting government finances in a three-year fiscal plan and the establishment of a new debt cap based on a debt-to-GDP ratio of 15 percent.

Bill 5: Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act 

Introduced by Ms. Ganley, Bill 5 expanded the “sunshine list” to include employees of public agencies, boards, commissions, post-secondary institutions and health service entities whose earnings are more than $125,000 annually. This is a continuation of work already done by the previous PC government and has been criticized by supporters of the NDP as “bad policy.”

Lori Sigurdson NDP

Lori Sigurdson

Bill 6: Enhanced Protection for Farm and Ranch Workers Act

Introduced by Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour Minister Lori Sigurdson, Bill 6 introduced occupational health and safety and mandatory Workers’ Compensation Board coverage for employees of farming operations. Alberta is currently the only province in Canada without OH&S laws and employment standards coverage for farm and ranch workers. Amid protests by farmers and ranchers, the government introduced amendments to exempt farm and ranch owners and their families from the bill. This was undoubtably the most controversial legislation passed by the NDP government in 2015.

Bill 7: Alberta Human Rights Amendment Act, 2015

Introduced by Ms. Ganley, Bill 7 amended the Alberta Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression as expressly prohibited grounds of discrimination.

David Eggen

David Eggen

Bill 8: Public Education Collective Bargaining Act

Introduced by Education Minister David Eggen, Bill 8 restructures collective bargaining between teachers, school boards and the government. The bill initially would have had the government be the sole party negotiating with the Alberta Teachers’ Association on matters that should be bargained centrally versus locally but an amendment to the bill allowed a new employer bargaining association to negotiate with the ATA to decide.

Bill 9: Appropriation Act, 2015

Introduced by Mr. Ceci, Bill 9 provides budget funding authority to the Government of Alberta and the Legislative Assembly for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Deborah Drever MLA Calgary Bow

Deborah Drever

Bill 204: Residential Tenancies (Safer Spaces for Victims of Domestic Violence) Amendment Act, 2015

Introduced by Ms. Drever, Bill 204 amended the Residential Tenancies Act to allow victims of domestic violence to end their housing leases early and without penalty in order to leave unsafe home environments. Lethbridge-East MLA Maria Fitzpatrick bravely stood in the legislature to share a powerful story about her personal experiences with domestic violence.

8 thoughts on “What new laws did Alberta’s NDP Government pass in 2015?

  1. Indigo Smith

    I am very supportive of the change the NDP is pushing for in our province. Please remember that the animals are often forgotten when reevaluating the agriculture system. I ask you to review the treatment of animals before slaughter as well as the time they’re killed. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  2. Kimberley

    Sounds to me like they are basically throwing everything Alberta was down the tubes. People used to come here because the taxes were cheap, because of the oil fields and dont forget to farm. The NDP is detroying our way of life in Alberta piece by piece. Also if we do not have enough jobs for our own people why the heck do people think its so bright to bring in more and more people. I know these people are having a hard time in their countries but us Albertans cant find jobs for ourselves now. We are being pushed out of our own country because of let say the phillapeans one gets a job as a manager and then will only hire phillapeans in that job leaving albertans jobless. Get rid of the foreigners get rid of our stupid tax bracket this new one. Which is funny because they only implemented it because of the many lay offs hmmm maybe its because you want to bring like 1000 more people into red deer were no one has jobs at all right now. How stupid could people be.

    Reply
    1. Glen Wilson

      Income taxes were already lower for people making under approx. $100 000, in other provinces. The flat tax only benefits those making over $100 000 or so.

      Reply
    2. Ryan

      We still have the lowest nominal taxes in all of Canada, with a massive revenue gap. Explain how we go forward with extremely low commodity prices?

      Reply
  3. Peter Moss

    “Alberta is currently the only province in Canada without OH&S laws and employment standards coverage for farm and ranch workers. Amid protests by farmers and ranchers, the government introduced amendments to exempt farm and ranch owners and their families from the bill.”

    Huh? A bill introduced to bring farmers and ranchers under OH&S laws, was amended to exempt farmers and ranchers?

    I don’t understand. Who does the bill apply to then?

    Reply
  4. Meh

    Claiming that it was a rare feat for Deborah Drever’s bill to be passed is really stretching it as even the most left supporting media admits she was sitting as an independent by name only and was still supported by and a supporter of the NDP, not an opposition MLA as this hack seems to make it sound like.

    Reply
  5. Julie Ali

    While the NDP have made legislation that benefits them such as bill 1, I am still waiting for changes in legislation to the continuing care system in Alberta. Most Albertans only get random glimpses into the problems faced by residents and their families with reference to the continuing care system.

    Residents need to have rights and they need to be protected from reprisals of the sort experienced by my sister Rebecca. Whistleblower protection needs to be in place so that when advocates speak in public about the problems experienced by their family members, they are not punished with lawsuits. We need a better way and it is the job of the government of Alberta to provide the legislation and the enhanced oversight to protect our most vulnerable at risk seniors and handicapped citizens in care.

    To date, despite the weak gesture of a “visitor management policy” suggested by Ms. Sarah Hoffman we have had no action in continuing care. The Health ministry continues to seek feedback and uses this feedback to modulate their message back to the public. Between feedback and myth making we need action.

    The NDP were well aware of the problems in the continuing care system with their collaboration with Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare. They understand that there is systematic failures in provision of care for vulnerable citizens, they know about Protection for Persons in Care complaints at facilities, they have done CCHSS audits and Quality audits along with the folks at AHS but what are the outcomes of all this oversight? Why don’t we get these results permanently placed on a public website as is the case in Ontario? Why do we only get the numbers and abuse types for the Protection for Persons in Care cases and not the total number of complaints? Why don’t we get the yearly complaints associated with facilities? Why does AHS and Covenant Health not make public their complaint numbers, the resolution of these cases, the follow up with families? Why don’t we get RLS figures which are the reporting and learning system data on adverse events? Why in fact, are families kept in the dark about important information that impacts their family members in the health care and continuing care system. A truly open government provides these pieces of information so that we can see the value for our tax dollars as well as the truth about performance, safety and compliance.

    Failures of the Tories with reference to continuing care are not being ameliorated by the NDP. Legislation is a beginning point with resident rights, whistleblower protection that is not present in the Protection for Persons in care legislation that merely protects the complainant while the resident is in the facility. Outside of a facility, you have no protection from legal pursuit. As for the matter of compliance, auditing and record keeping –there is a model in Ontario that Alberta needs to follow. We need quick responses to complaints, we need random audits done by professionals following a standardized method and all such work must be done by folks independent to the folks at AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Health. The complaint and appeals process should also be independent of these entities that do not appear to understand family and patient centred care but certainly understand bureaucratic expediency in performance of the public duties that they are required to do.
    While the NDP have made legislation that benefits them such as bill 1, I am still waiting for changes in legislation to the continuing care system in Alberta. Most Albertans only get random glimpses into the problems faced by residents and their families with reference to the continuing care system.

    Residents need to have rights and they need to be protected from reprisals of the sort experienced by my sister Rebecca. Whistleblower protection needs to be in place so that when advocates speak in public about the problems experienced by their family members, they are not punished with lawsuits. We need a better way and it is the job of the government of Alberta to provide the legislation and the enhanced oversight to protect our most vulnerable at risk seniors and handicapped citizens in care.

    To date, despite the weak gesture of a “visitor management policy” suggested by Ms. Sarah Hoffman we have had no action in continuing care. The Health ministry continues to seek feedback and uses this feedback to modulate their message back to the public. Between feedback and myth making we need action.

    The NDP were well aware of the problems in the continuing care system with their collaboration with Public Interest Alberta and Friends of Medicare. They understand that there are systematic failures in provision of care for vulnerable citizens, they know about Protection for Persons in Care complaints at facilities, they have done CCHSS audits and Quality audits along with the folks at AHS but what are the outcomes of all this oversight?

    Why don’t we get these results permanently placed on a public website as is the case in Ontario? Why do we only get the numbers and abuse types for the Protection for Persons in Care cases and not the total number of complaints? Why don’t we get the yearly complaints associated with facilities? Why does AHS and Covenant Health not make public their complaint numbers, the resolution of these cases, the follow up with families? Why don’t we get RLS figures which are the reporting and learning system data on adverse events?

    Why in fact, are families kept in the dark about important information that impacts their family members in the health care and continuing care system? A truly open government provides these pieces of information so that we can see the value for our tax dollars as well as the truth about performance, safety and compliance.

    Failures of the Tories with reference to continuing care are not being ameliorated by the NDP /

    Legislation is a beginning point with resident rights, whistleblower protection that is not present in the Protection for Persons in care legislation that merely protects the complainant while the resident is in the facility.

    Outside of a facility, you have no protection from legal pursuit. I am being sued for talking about my sister Rebecca’s abuse in continuing care.

    As for the matter of compliance, auditing and record keeping –there is a model in Ontario that Alberta needs to follow. We need quick responses to complaints, we need random audits done by professionals following a standardized method and all such work must be done by folks independent to the folks at AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Health.

    The complaint and appeals process should also be independent of these entities that do not appear to understand family and patient centred care but certainly understand bureaucratic expediency in performance of the public duties that they are required to do.

    Much work needs to be done. Will it be done by the NDP? I don’t know. It’s up to the public to activate themselves and talk to their MLAs, the Health Minister and the Premier. I encourage you all to do this before the situation my family is in befalls your family.

    http://readingchildrensbooks.blogspot.ca/2016/01/my-sister-is-being-evicted-from-grey_25.html

    My sister is being evicted from the Grey Nuns Hospital. They are using the Hospital Act section 31. The administrator at the hospital has told us –in a face to face meeting that the hospital doesn’t care about our concerns.

    Rebecca is a vulnerable frail handicapped woman who was in long term care.

    She was evicted from the Good Samaritan Extended Care at Millwoods in 2015.

    Now she has been downgraded to SL4 by the folks at Covenant Health and AHS.

    She is being moved to a site that is inappropriate for her needs.

    She is a complex care patient who needs long term care. She is in a small quadrant of respiratory patients who have central and obstructive sleep apnea, COPD and asthma.

    The site where she is being moved to has never dealt with a patient on a BIPAP much less one with her complex needs.

    Write to your MLA, Minister Hoffman and Premier Notley to reverse my sister’s downgrade to SL4. She has already been abused and should not be facing more problems in the continuing care system.

    SOS – Save Our Sister – A Call to Action
    Much work needs to be done. Will it be done by the NDP? I don’t know. It’s up to the public to activate themselves and talk to their MLAs, the Health Minister and the Premier. I encourage you all to do this before the situation my family is in befalls your family.

    http://readingchildrensbooks.blogspot.ca/2016/01/my-sister-is-being-evicted-from-grey_25.html

    My sister is being evicted from the Grey Nuns Hospital. They are using the Hospital Act section 31. The administrator at the hospital has told us –in a face to face meeting that the hospital doesn’t care about our concerns.

    Rebecca is a vulnerable frail handicapped woman who was in long term care.

    She was evicted from the Good Samaritan Extended Care at Millwoods in 2015.

    Now she has been downgraded to SL4 by the folks at Covenant Health and AHS.

    She is being moved to a site that is inappropriate for her needs.

    She is a complex care patient who needs long term care. She is in a small quadrant of respiratory patients who have central and obstructive sleep apnea, COPD and asthma.

    The site where she is being moved to has never dealt with a patient on a BIPAP much less one with her complex needs.

    Write to your MLA, Minister Hoffman and Premier Notley to reverse my sister’s downgrade to SL4. She has already been abused and should not be facing more problems in the continuing care system.

    SOS – Save Our Sister – A Call to Action

    Reply

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