April 30, 2010

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting April 30, 2010

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The 2nd Session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia legislature began on Thursday March 25th, 2010 with a speech from the throne.  As of April 30th, 2010, 22 Government Bills, 32 Private Members Bills and 2 Private Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly. 

Below is a summary of those bills introduced between April 23th, 2010, and April 30th, 2010, and a table providing the status of legislation introduced since the beginning of this session current to April 30th, 2010.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 41 – Volunteer Fire Services Act (amended) – Hon. Marilyn More
This Bill amends the Act to include recognition of and monetary compensation for volunteer ground search and rescue workers and volunteer ground search and rescue organizations. The Bill provides authority for the Minister of Finance to pay a sum of money to the surviving spouse or estate of a volunteer fire fighter or ground search and rescue worker. Status: Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

Bill No. 46 – Appropriations Act, 2010 – Hon. Graham Steele
This Bill grants sums of money to various governmental departments to defray the charges and expenses of the public service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011. The Governor in Council is authorized to borrow or raise by way of loan on the credit of the Province, either before or after the expiration of the said fiscal year, and in addition to borrowings authorized by other enactments, the sum of $2,500,000,000 for the public service. Status: Passed third reading and is effective as of April 1, 2010.

Bill No. 47 – Education Act (amended) – Hon. Marilyn More
This Bill clarifies the school review procedure and gives the Minister authority to make regulations with respect to exceptions to the school review process. This Bill is designed to give parents and the community more input when school mergers are proposed. Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

Bill No. 51 – Revenue Act (amended) – Hon. Ramona Jennex
This Bill enables the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to refuse to renew a driver's licence or vehicle permit or transfer or register a vehicle where the person is in default of payment of fines imposed for fuel tax offences involving the use of a vehicle, or where a person is in default of payment of fines imposed for tobacco tax offences involving the use of a vehicle to transport or store tobacco. Fuel tax offences are set out in the Revenue Act, and include failure to pay the appropriate amount of tax on fuel sold. The Bill also provides for the suspension of a driver's licence, vehicle permit or certificate of registration where a person is convicted of a tobacco tax offence involving the use of a vehicle to transport or store tobacco. These offences are also set out in the Revenue Act, and include the use of a vehicle to transport tobacco in an effort to avoid paying the provincially mandated tax. Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

Bill No. 52 – Insurance Act (amended) – Hon. Graham Steele
This Bill amends the Act to restrict the meaning of minor injury to a sprain, strain or whiplash-associated disorder injury caused by an automobile accident that does not result in serious impairment. The Bill also requires insurance companies to offer their policyholders the option of coverage without regard to the limitation on minor injury claims, and authorizes regulations respecting a system or process for the examination, assessment and treatment or rehabilitation of bodily injuries suffered by an insured. The Bill also restricts liability for payment of income loss and non-monetary loss arising out of the use or operation of an automobile to the amount determined by the Regulations. This Bill is intended to allow more individuals access to compensation under the soft tissue injury cap in place in the province, and effectively increases the cap from $2,500 to $7,500.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 53 – Fur Industry Act – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill gives power to the Minister of Agriculture to establish and administer policies, programs and guidelines respecting the development of the fur industry in the Province. The Bill requires all those who operate a fur farm to have a valid operating licence and a valid site approval permit. The Department of Agriculture has inspection and enforcement authority, and the Minister can appoint an inspector to inspect fur facilities.  The Bill is designed to help the Department of Agriculture work more closely with fur ranchers to enable growth in the industry, and places more responsibility on ranchers to ensure their operations take into account the effect on their neighbours and the environment. Ranchers will also be required to have management plans that will cover environmental impacts such as waste, water management and disease prevention. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 55 – Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act (amended) – Hon. Percy Paris
This Bill amends the definition of "Agreement" in the Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act to include amendments to the Internal Trade Agreement. The Bill also updates the Act with respect to the Minister responsible, and amends the authority to pay amounts due under the Agreement to include hearing costs. The Bill clarifies that Cabinet approves the appointment by the Minister of the Province's representatives to rosters established under the Agreement and the Minister selects panellists from the approved rosters. The Bill also expands the Minister's power to make appointments to clarify that the Minister may appoint persons to the board of directors of the secretariat that administers the Agreement and may appoint the Province's internal trade representative. Finally, the Bill corrects numbering and typographical errors. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILLS

Bill No. 42 – Public Service Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (LIB)
This Bill establishes the Office of Fire and Emergency Services, to be presided over by the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The Bill is intended to bring consistent provincial leadership to firefighters across Nova Scotia.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 44 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Hon. Karen Casey (PC)
This Bill adds a definition of "grandparents" to the Act and provides for grandparent access orders. The Bill sets out the matters the court must consider in making a grandparent access order and provides that a person who has custody of a child shall not unreasonably place obstacles to personal contact between the child and the child's grandparents.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 45 – Day Care Act (amended) – Hon. Manning MacDonald (LIB)
This Bill requires the Minister of Community Services to undertake a review of day-care quality and access throughout the Province, to be completed by November 20, 2010. This Bill is designed to address concerns regarding the availability of day care spaces in the province. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 48 – Elections Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen MacNeil (LIB)
This Bill adds definitions for “third party” and “third party direct endorsement advertising” to the Elections Act to allow for advertising during elections by persons or organizations in favour of a candidate, political party or organization, or electoral district association.  To be allowed to advertise, a third party must become a “registered sponsor”.  The amendments include a scheme for registering and deregistering as a sponsor, regulating advertising, and enforcing advertising limits during election periods. This Bill is designed to ensure fairness and openness during election campaigns. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 50 – Correctional Services Act (amended) and Police Act (amended) – Hon. Michel Samson (LIB)
This Bill amends the Correctional Services Act and the Police Act to require the development and implementation of uniform training programs and guidelines for correctional services employees and police officers who work with individuals with mental disabilities. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 54 – An Act to Establish Joseph Howe Day – Diana Whalen (LIB)
This Bill designates the third Monday of February in every year as a provincial holiday known as “Joseph Howe Day” and makes amendments to various provincial acts to incorporate the date. The Bill is intended to give Nova Scotians more time to spend with their families. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 56 – Special Places Protection Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (LIB)
This Bill amends the Special Places Protection Act to require the Minister responsible for the Act to designate certain lands adjacent to the Shubenacadie Canal as a protected site. The intention is to provide more environmental protection for the Canal. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE BILLS

Bill No. 43 – First Cornwallis Baptist Church Act (amended) – Jim Morton (NDP)
This Bill enables the trustees of the First Cornwallis Baptist Church at Canard, Kings County, to use 80% of the surplus income from the trust funds held for the operation of the cemetery at Upper Canard for charitable purposes and clarifies the membership of the Board of Trustees of the Church. Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

Bill No. 49 – Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club, An Act to incorporate (amended) – Hon. Manning MacDonald (LIB)
This Bill removes the restrictions on where the Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club may own property, the mortgages that the Club may place on its property, and the amount of bonds and debentures the Club may issue. The Bill also limits the liability of the Club's members. Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.


Status Update on Government Bills

  • Bill No. 1 House of Assembly Management Commission Act - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 7 Pharmacy Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 10 Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 13 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 16 Summary Proceedings Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 18 Vital Statistics Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 19 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 22 Security and Investigative Services  Act - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 23 Sea, Army, Air and Navy League Cadets Day Act - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 24 Financial Measures (2010) Act - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 29 Municipal Government Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 33 Securities Transfer Act - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 35 Finance Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments
  • Bill No. 36 Engineering Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 38 Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Fund Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
  • Bill No. 41 Volunteer Fire Services Act (amended) - Passed by Law Amendments Committee and referred back to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills
  • Bill No. 46 Appropriations Act, 2010 - Passed 3rd reading and is effective as of April 1, 2010.
  • Bill No. 47 Education Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments
  • Bill No. 51 Revenue Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
  • Bill No. 52 Insurance Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 53 Fur Industry Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 55 Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House

Status Update on Private Member Bills

  • Bill No. 2 Health Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 3 Provincial Finance Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 4 Electricity Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 5 Provincial Finance Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 6 Industrial Expansion Fund Transfer Act - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 8 Multi-Year Funding Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 9 Advisory Council on Mental Health Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 11 Diabetic Persons Support Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 12 Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 14 Sales Tax Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 15 Viola Desmond Day Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments
  • Bill No. 17 Public Highways Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 20 Health-care Sustainability Advisory Council Act - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 21 Income Tax Act (amended) and Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 25 Emergency Health Services Act  (amended) - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 26 Elections Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 27 Elections Act  (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 28 Fire Safety Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading
  • Bill No. 30 Police Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 31 Employment Support and Income Assistance Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 32 Emergency Management Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 34 Motor Vehicle  Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 37 Workers’ Compensation Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 39 Coyote Control Act - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 40 Tidal View Manor in the Town of Yarmouth from Taxation, An Act to Exempt (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 42 Public Service Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 44 Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 45 Day Care Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 48 Elections Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 50 Correctional Services Act (amended) and Police Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 54 An Act to Establish Joseph Howe Day - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
  • Bill No. 56 Special Places Protection Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House

Status Update on Private Bills

  • Bill No. 43 First Cornwallis Baptist Church Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
  • Bill No. 49 Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club, An Act to incorporate (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

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.