May 09, 2011

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting May 6

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The spring sitting of the 3rd session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on March 31, 2011. As of May 6, 2011, 27 Government Bills, 30 Private Members Bills and 3 Private and Local Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between May 2 and May 6, 2011.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 47 – Summary Proceedings Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill amends the Summary Proceedings Act to replace the Governor in Council with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as the regulation-making authority for a number of matters related to summary offenses and parking infraction tickets including prescribing the form of notice for parking infractions, prescribing the fee for an application to strike out a conviction, designating offences under an Act, regulation or municipal by-law, as well as the completion, signing, filing and certification of tickets electronically and the printing of electronically filed tickets or certifications. The Bill will permit the regulations made by the Governor in Council prior to the coming into force of this Bill to continue to apply and to be amended as required by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice after the coming into force of the Bill.
Status: Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 9, 2011.

Bill No. 50 – Appropriations Act, 2011 – Hon. Graham Steele
This Bill grants sums of money to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor for the purpose of defraying several charges and expenses of the public service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012 and authorizes the Minister of Finance to borrow, for the purpose of and in accordance with the Finance Act, the sum of $1,250,000,000 for the public service for the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Status: Passed 3rd reading, and is awaiting Royal Assent.

Bill No. 51 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Hon. Bill Estabrooks
This Bill amends the Public Highways Act, to authorize the council of a municipality to make a by-law prohibiting or regulating the erecting, maintaining, pasting, painting or exposing of advertisements upon any part of a highway located within the municipality. The section gives the Minister the ability to approve all or part of the by-law; attach any condition to the approval of the by-law; approve the by-law with amendments; or revoke or from time to time vary the approval or any condition.
Status: Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

Bill No. 52 – Government Administration Amendment (2011) Act – Hon. Frank Corbett
This Bill repeals the Voluntary Planning Act. In addition, it amends the Emergency “911” Act, the Emergency Management Act, the Executive Council Act, the French-language Services Act, the House of Assembly Act and the Public Service Act to conform with changes to departments made by Order in Council 2011-15 and 2011-147. The Bill goes on to transfer responsibility for African Nova Scotian matters, promotion of Gaelic language and culture and Acadian Affairs to the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and postpone until after the next general election the inquiry and report respecting the annual indemnity to be paid to members of the House of Assembly and the salaries to be paid to the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of any other recognized opposition party and the salaries to be paid to the members of the Executive Council.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 53 – Labour Standards Code (amended) – Hon. Marilyn More
This Bill gives regulation-making powers to the Governor in Council. As well, it provides authorization to the Director to provide information collected or obtained under the Act to a department of the Government, the Government of Canada or of another province. The Bill creates record keeping requirements and makes a number of changes to the complaint process. In addition, the Board is authorized to proceed with a hearing even if a person who has been duly notified of the hearing does not attend. The Bill also adds to the grounds on which an employee has the right to apply to the Board for a determination. The Bills speaks to the powers of the Director with respect to debts. The Bill adds a number of prohibition and requirement provisions to the Act with respect to recruitment. The Bill also adds a provision allowing the Director to bring an action to recover amounts owing in addition to unpaid pay on behalf of the Board or any employee or other individual. Finally, the application of the offence and penalty Sections of the Act is expanded.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 55 –Medical Act – Hon. Maureen MacDonald
This Bill requires the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia to regulate the practice of medicine and govern its members. This is do be done through the registration, licensing, professional conduct and other processes set out in the Act and the regulations, the approval and promotion of a code of ethics, the establishment and promotion of standards for the practice of medicine, and the establishment and promotion of a continuing professional development program. The Bill establishes a Council of the College which shall govern the College and may take any action consistent with the Act and the regulations as it considers necessary for the promotion, protection, interest or welfare of the College. The Council must also govern, control and administer the affairs of the College, including the creation of by-laws; may also make regulations with the approval of the Governor in Council; keep registers of those persons who qualify for registration and appoint a Registration Committee and a Registration Appeal Committee. A number of offenses are created by the Bill, as well as limitations on the practice of medicine. The Bill sets out the procedure for dealing with complaints of professional misconduct and the complaint process generally, including the suspension of a practitioner’s license. It also requires the Council to establish and approve a practice assessment program with the objectives of promoting a culture of continuous quality improvement within the profession and enhancing the competence of individual members by linking their practice assessment to their professional development. Finally, this Bill sets out a number of limitations on liability for members, including acts with respect to the voluntary exercise of first aid or emergency treatment to a person outside of a medical facility.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 56 – Real Estate Trading Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill changes the name of the Nova Scotia Real Estate Association to the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors. It amends the restriction on who may trade in real estate to allow for corporations to do so. It also adds a commercial-sector representative to the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission. The Commission is authorized to make by-laws prescribing the process for the appointment of a commercial-sector representative to the Commission, allowing corporations to trade in real estate, prescribing the methods of calculation of remuneration payable to a brokerage and concerning stale trust funds. The Bill goes on to provide for the appointment of the Complaints Review Committee. It amends the investigation provisions and enables the Commission to apply to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia to extend the maximum 90-day licence-suspension period. The Registrar is permitted to suspend the licence of a licensed person who refuses to co-operate with an investigation. Appeals from Discipline Committee orders are to be made to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. 
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 57 – Private Ways Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill authorizes a municipal council to make by-laws respecting the payment of compensation charged in respect of a grant of a right of way. It confirms that a grant of a right of way is not an expropriation for the purpose of the Expropriation Act. This Bill will apply in respect of petitions made under that Act before or after the coming into force of this Act.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 59 – Elections Act – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill is an attempt to modernize the Act and provide more transparency and accountability in provincial elections. The Bill offers greater independence and accountability for the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer; makes the Chief Electoral Officer an officer of the Legislature; expands opportunities to vote; improves the protection of personal information; consolidates financial measures and provides more opportunities for youth to participate in the administration of elections. This bill will consolidate the laws on election administration and election finance.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BILLS

Bill No. 48 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Allan MacMaster (PC)
This Bill provides that if a food bank donation is claimed for the year, no charitable donation tax credit may be claimed in respect of the donated agricultural products. As well, it provides for a non-refundable tax credit to eligible farmers in Nova Scotia who donate certain agricultural products they produced to Nova Scotia food banks.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 49 – Buy Nova Scotia First Act – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill provides that, when the Nova Scotia Government Purchasing Agency or any department or office of the public service buys food items to supply the operations carried out by a department or office, it shall give preference to the purchase of local produce. “Local produce" is defined as food items grown, raised, caught, harvested, produced or manufactured in the Province and includes any food items designated in the regulations as local produce. The Bill authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations and requires that the Government make public draft regulations for the purpose of the Act within ninety days of Royal Assent.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 54 – Cemeteries Protection Act (amended) – Keith Bain (PC)
This Bill changes the title of the Cemeteries Protection Act to include monuments and amends the Act to include the protection of monuments. It also transfers from the Governor in Council to the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage the power to declare a cemetery to be abandoned and to permit persons to enter the cemetery and carry out such work as considered necessary to restore, preserve and protect the cemetery.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 58 – Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Act – Alfie MacLeod (PC)
This Bill provides for the establishment of an Advisory Panel of experts from the Province and from other jurisdictions to advise on liberation therapy. The Advisory Panel will advise the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation on the criteria for a call for research proposals on clinical trials in the Province of liberation therapy and the selection of a research proposal to be funded pursuant to this Act. The Bill provides that the Foundation must issue a call for proposals for clinical trials of liberation therapy on or before July 15, 2011, and establish an expert Peer-review Panel to select a proposal for clinical trials of liberation therapy. The clinical trials of liberation therapy must begin by October 30, 2011.The Minister of Health must establish a Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Fund of five million dollars for these linical trials.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 60 – Elections Act (amended) –Hon. Stephen McNeil (Lib)
This Bill adds the terms “third party” and “third party election advertising” to the Elections Act. As well, it adds registered sponsors to those eligible to advertise during an election. Finally, it sets out the parameters for sponsorship of election advertising.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 61 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Allan MacMaster (PC)
This Bill amends the Pension Benefits Regulations made pursuant to the Pension Benefits Act. It permits the transfer of assets in a locked-in retirement account to a restricted locked-in savings plan; permits up to fifteen per cent of the value transferred to be removed from the plan each year and provides that no notarization of the request is required; permits the balance of the plan to be converted to a restricted life income fund at any time but no later than December 31stin the year that the plan holder becomes seventy-one years of age and changes the age for withdrawal from sixty-five years to fifty-five years.
Status: Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
- Bill No. 1 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, Law Amendments Committee met and reported back to the House on May 2, 2011.
- Bill No. 7 – Justice Administration Amendment (2011) Act - Passed 2nd reading, Law Amendments Committee met and reported back to the House on May 2, 2011.
- Bill No. 13 – Pharmacy Act - Passed 2nd reading, Law Amendments Committee met and reported back to the House on May 2, 2011.
- Bill No. 15 – Electricity Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was heard on May 4, 2011 by the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 17 – Fair Drug Pricing Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was heard on May 5, 6 and 9, 2011 by the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 19 – Nova Scotia Business Incorporated Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, Law Amendments Committee met and reported back to the House on May 2, 2011.
- Bill No. 21 – Public Archives Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was heard on May 5, 2011 by the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 23 – Public Procurement Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 25 – Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was heard on May 5, 2011 by the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 27 – Financial Measures (2011) Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was heard on May 4, 2011 by the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 30 – Land Registration Act (amended) and Registry Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 9, 2011.
- Bill No. 33 – Court Administrative Reform Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 9, 2011.
- Bill No. 35 – Body Armour Control Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 36 - Energy Saving Roadway Lighting (2011) Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 40 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 41 - Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Amendment (2011) Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 42 - Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) and Municipal Government Act - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 9, 2011.
- Bill No. 43 – Interior Designers Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 9, 2011.
- Bill No. 47 – Summary Proceedings Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and is referred to the Law Amendments Committee which is scheduled to meet on May 9, 2011.
- Bill No. 50 – Appropriations Act, 2011 - Passed 3rd reading, and is awaiting Royal Assent.
- Bill No. 51 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 52 – Government Administration Amendment (2011) Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 53 – Labour Standards Code (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 55 –Medical Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 56 – Real Estate Trading Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 57 – Private Ways Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 59 – Elections Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member’s Bills
- Bill No. 2 – Hydraulic Fracturing Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 3 – Modernizing Government Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 4 – Tax Review (2011-12) Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 5 – Balanced Budget Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 6 – Finance Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 8 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 9 - Gaelic College Foundation Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 10 – Electricity Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 11 – Diabetic Persons Support Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 12 - Income Tax Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 14 – Agriculture and Marketing Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 16 – Multiple Sclerosis Patient Support Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 18 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 24 – Value For Money Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 26 – Sound Recording Tax Credit Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 28 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 29 – Public Utilities Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 31 – Health Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 32 – Rural Nova Scotia Physicians Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 34 – Newly Trained Nova Scotia Doctors Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 37 - Joseph Howe Day Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 39 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 44 – Legislative Internship Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 45 – Wilderness Areas Protection Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 46 – Fair Treatment of Children Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 48 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 54 – Cemeteries Protection Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 58 – Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 60 – Elections Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
- Bill No. 61 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private and Local Bills
- Bill No. 20 - Trustees of Liverpool United Baptist Church Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 22 – Public Service Commission of Bridgewater Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
- Bill No. 38 – Yarmouth North Baptist Church Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

THE PROGRESS OF BILLS IN THE NOVA SCOTIA LEGISLATURE

The legislative process begins when a Bill is presented by a Member of the House of Assembly and is given First Reading by the House, without debate.

A Bill is given Second Reading after being debated in principle in the House.

Following Second Reading, Bills are referred to one of the legislative committees – the Law Amendments Committee or Private and Local Bills Committee – for detailed discussion in meetings outside the House.  Members of the public can attend the meetings of these Committees and make presentations respecting any Bill.  Amendments are frequently considered and may be adopted and included in the Bill when it is reported back to the House.

Bills reported back from the legislative committees are debated, clause by clause, by the members of the House acting as the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.  The Bill is then reported back to the House.

The Bill receives Third Reading and the final approval of the House.  There may be some debate at this stage but usually the Bill is voted on with no discussion.

The Bill receives Royal Assent when the Lieutenant Governor signs the final version.  The Bill is then referred to as an Act, and is assigned a chapter number in the Statutes of Nova Scotia.

Commencement is the day on which the Act takes effect.  Ordinarily, an Act takes effect when it is given Royal Assent.  Sometimes, however, it provides that it will come into effect only when is it proclaimed to take effect by Order in Counsel to be made by the Cabinet.

Government Bills are introduced by the Minister of the department responsible for the legislation.  Private Members Bills are generally introduced by a member of the opposition parties.  Government Bills have a higher likelihood of becoming law since the largest party in the Legislative Assembly supports the initiative. Except in a minority government, Private Members Bills are unlikely to be brought forward for substantive debate or become law.

If you wish to be informed when a specific piece of legislation is scheduled to be heard by a legislative committee, please contact us and we will make arrangements for you to be so informed.

If you have any questions regarding the legislation summarized above or would like to receive a copy of any Bill, please contact Jennifer Forster at coxandpalmer.com or by phone at (902) 491-4107.


Cox & Palmer publications are intended to provide information of a general nature only and not legal advice. The information presented is current to the date of publication and may be subject to change following the publication date.