Alberta is coming back stronger than ever


Summer is here! School’s wrapping up, meetings are slowing down, the Legislature is adjourned, and restrictions are lifting across Alberta – we are set for the best summer ever.

This past session we passed many exciting and impactful bills that are either already in effect, or will be soon. I would like to take some time to reflect on and discuss some of the notable legislation that passed – bills that I think benefit both Lethbridge and Alberta as a whole.

Bill 51: The Citizen Initiative Act gives Albertans a more direct role in the democratic system, providing easier access for eligible voters to propose legislative, policy or constitutional action on issues that affect them. Albertans are now able to submit proposed bills and policies to the legislative assembly for consideration, as well as submit constitutional referendum questions to the provincial government.

Bill 67: The Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act promotes the equal value of apprenticeship education with other forms of post-secondary education. Apprenticeship education is an excellent support for student learning and success, and holds as much value, merit and worth as other forms of post-secondary education.

As a Gold-Seal carpenter, I am a product of the apprenticeship model and strongly believe in its efficacy for education across all trades and other professions. We need more Albertan’s pursuing trades professions not as an alternative option but as an equal and meaningful career.

Through Bill 63: the Police (Street Checks and Carding) Amendment Act, we’re taking steps to ensure Albertans are comfortable with the actions allowed by law enforcement. In making amendments to the Police Act, we aim to improve interactions between racialized communities and law enforcement, while protecting critical investigatory tools for police. This legislation enables government to formalize a ban on random carding, as well as regulate street checks, providing a basis in law that allows police to continue the street check practice in a way that respects people’s rights.

Bill 53: the Service Alberta Statutes (Virtual Meetings) Amendment Act allows thousands of businesses, non-profits, societies, cooperatives and condominium corporations to meet and vote online, if their bylaws do not prohibit it. During COVID-19, we suspended the requirement for specific organizations to hold in-person meetings. When suspension rules ended in August 2020, many organizations voiced a desire to see this allowance continue into the future. Bill 53 gives businesses and organizations the freedom to operate online or in-person – whichever suits their specific needs best.

Bill 58: the Freedom to Care Act, makes it easier for non-profit organizations to identify and access existing exemptions to regulations, supporting Alberta’s recovery as they provide critical programs and services in our communities.This legislation creates a process for non-profits to request one-time exemptions from regulations, if an exemption does not already exist. It also introduces new liability protections for volunteers acting within the scope of their responsibilities, which will speed up response times and cut unnecessary red tape limiting non-profit volunteers’ abilities to function.

Speaking of reducing red tape, Bill 62: The Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act will continue to execute our promise to Albertans, to cut red tape by one third. Given the fiscal impacts of COVID-19, it is critical we make it as easy as possible for businesses to operate, create jobs and drive Alberta’s economy forward. To support our economic recovery, we will continue to cut red tape and get incumbrances out of the way of our job creators and innovators.

We’ve also passed Bill 61: the Vital Statistics Amendment Act. This legislation ensures that violent, dangerous offenders cannot legally change their names, protecting Albertan’s right to feel safe and secure within their communities. While roughly 4,000 Albertans change their names each year and the vast majority of these changes holds no concern – Bill 61 removes access to this ability for repeat and aggressive criminals.

These are just a selection of some of the bills this past session. There are so many good things happening, including the full reopening of our province! Economic forecasts show our province leading Canada in economic and job growth this year and well into next.

Alberta is coming back stronger than ever at a much-needed time for all of us. As I said last month, this comeback is aided greatly by our incredible business owners and entrepreneurs.As we move on from this successful session and into an exciting summer of long-overdue events, get togethers, and celebrations, I want to sincerely thank all of you for your commitment over the past 16 months to keep others and yourself safe. Here’s to a great summer and another successful session in the Legislature this fall.