November 14, 2011

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Fall Sitting Nov 10, 2011

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The fall sitting of the 3rd session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on October 31, 2011. As of November 10th, 11 Government Bills, 15 Private Members Bills and 0 Private and Local Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between November 7 and November 10, 2011.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 76 – Civil Forfeiture Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill amends the Civil Forfeiture Act by fixing a typographical error under Section 11(1) by striking out "8" in the second line and substituting "10." The Civil Forfeiture Act provides civil remedies that assist in preventing persons who engage in unlawful activities from keeping property that was acquired as a result of unlawful activity and preventing property from being used to engage in unlawful activity.
Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

Bill No. 78 – Civil Constables Act (repealed) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill repeals the Civil Constables Act. The Civil Constables Act was passed in 1974 and was never proclaimed in force, despite receiving Royal Assent more than 35 years ago. Its provisions can now be found in the Police Services Act, which makes the Act obsolete and unnecessary.
Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

Bill No. 80 – Constables Act (repealed) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill repeals the Constables Act. The Constables Act was created in 1967 and governed the appointment of County Constables, Police Constables, Special Constables, Provincial Constables, and the licensing of Private Detectives. The Constables Act is obsolete as its provisions now appear in the Police Act, the Police Services Act, and the Private Investigators and Private Guards Act. An Act was passed to repeal the Constables Act in 1974 but the repeal Act was never proclaimed in force.
Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee

Bill No. 81 – Change of Name Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill may be cited as the Identification of Criminals Act, and will amend the Change of Name Act. Under the new legislation, people who want to change their name will have to be fingerprinted and undergo a criminal records check. If a criminal record is found during the process, the new name will be linked to the old name by the RCMP and the National Criminal Records Database. The Bill also allows the Governor in Council to make regulations exempting persons from the fingerprinting requirement, regulating the fingerprinting procedure, and establishing requirements to protect the confidentiality of applicants’ fingerprints and other personal information.
Status: Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

Bill No. 84 – Animal Protection Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
The amendments to the Act will allow the Province to recover the costs associated with the seizure and care of farm animals in abuse cases from the animal’s owner. The department will now be able to seize farm animals after a 72 hour waiting period and the proceeds would go to the owner only after the province has deducted the costs incurred by taxpayers for the animal's care after seizure. The Province is currently responsible for all costs and the animals must remain in its care until the completion of a judicial review of the case. Furthermore, the Bill gives a peace officer enforcing the Act the same authority as an inspector, clarifies when the Minister has a role with respect to animals in critical distress and allows a veterinarian under a peace officer's direction to euthanize an animal in critical distress. The Bill will also allow an inspector or peace officer to inspect any premises other than a private dwelling house in which animals are used for: slaughter, food production, sale, hire, exhibition, sport, transportation, boarding, breeding, training, research activities or any activity prescribed by the Governor in Council.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 85 – Agriculture and Rural Credit Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
The aim of this Bill is to make it easier and faster to access farm loans and ensure the Nova Scotia agriculture industry stays competitive. The amendments will update the duties and powers of the Loan Board, enabling it to: make or guarantee loans relating to quota or farm dwellings; make loans to payout or refinance third party loans; acquire or improve agri-rural business property; acquire expropriated land to encourage agricultural development; deal with a greater variety of applications for agriculture related purchases; and deal with loan applications or guarantees.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 86 – Fair Automobile Insurance (2011) Act - Hon. Graham Steele
This Bill implements various reforms to the Auto Insurance Industry in Nova Scotia. The reforms include: allowing drivers involved in a collision caused by another party to deal with their own insurer to collect property damages; ensure automobile insurers cannot increase premiums for collisions where no claim was made and the driver paid for the damage themselves, even if the driver was at fault; help victims of automobile collisions access treatment more quickly for minor injuries; enhance mandatory no fault benefits including medical, rehabilitation, funeral, death and loss of income benefits for all drivers; give consumers the option to buy full tort product for minor injuries, giving them the right to pursue further compensation; and ensure automobile law in Nova Scotia will be reviewed every seven years. Other reforms include allowing fire departments to charge a levy on automobile insurers to recover costs incurred by volunteer fire departments in responding to motor vehicle accidents and clarifies that this does not preclude a fire department from making a claim for costs incurred in responding to an accident. The Act also limits the liability of motor vehicle leasing or rental businesses to a maximum of $1,000,000 where a person who is leasing or renting the motor vehicle from the business is liable for damages with respect to an accident involving the motor vehicle and the leasing or rental business is otherwise vicariously liable.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 90 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act – Hon Ross Landry
This Bill is intended to deter criminals from selling stolen metals in Nova Scotia. The legislation requires scrap metal dealers and recyclers to keep a record of all transactions, including the identity of the seller. The penalty for not complying with the legislation is a fine of up to $5,000 or one year in jail.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 77 – Environmental Ombudsman Act – Andrew Younger (Lib)
This Bill is designed to ensure that citizens of Nova Scotia have a special arbitrator for environmental concerns. An environmental Ombudsman will be appointed who will hold office for five years from the date of appointment. Any person may apply by written complaint to the Environmental Ombudsman to investigate a grievance concerning the environment or environmental matters (all investigations will be conducted in private). Where upon investigation the Environmental Ombudsman is of the opinion that a grievance exists or may exist because the department or officer has administered or is administering a law of the Province concerning the environment inappropriately, the Ombudsman will report the opinion and the reasons and any recommendation to the Minister and chief officer of the department concerned.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 79 – Green Energy Promotion Act - Andrew Younger (Lib)
This Bill is a response to the lack of incentives available to the public for installing Green Energy Systems such as heat pumps, small wind turbines and solar systems. This Bill would implement a Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit in Nova Scotia, which is modeled off the Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit Regulations made under the Income Tax Act (Manitoba). Tax credits will be issued to encourage new and expanded manufacturing of machinery and use of equipment to produce renewal energy. Tax credits will be given for geothermal heat pumps and solar thermal energy systems.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 82 – Next Generation Act – Hon. Jamie Baillie (PC)
This Bill requires the Minister of Finance to prepare and submit to the House of Assembly an intergenerational report within five years of the Bill becoming law and every five years thereafter. The Bill will amend the Finance Act by inserting a section detailing the Minister of Finance's responsibilities dealing with intergenerational reporting. This will essentially require governments to report on the long term impact of its decisions.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 83 – Health Protection Act (amended) – Leo Glavine (Lib)
This Bill will amend the Health Protection Act by adding health and safety standards for the tattooing industry. This Bill will require the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting the health and safety standards for tattooing in Nova Scotia.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 87 – Wildlife Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (Lib)
This Bill amends the Wildlife Act and provides that where a Saturday and the following Monday are prescribed as part of the open season for hunting big game, the Sunday between is deemed to be part of the open season. It also allows the holder of a big game hunting license to hunt on a Sunday during the open season and to transport or possess a firearm or bow in a wildlife habitat on a Sunday during the open season.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 88 – Code of Ethics Act – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Lib)
This Bill aims to create an MLA Code of Ethics. The purpose of this Act is to ensure that members aspire to, and maintain the highest level of public-service ethics and preserve the integrity and dignity of the House of Assembly. The Act would appoint a Commissioner who, on application in writing by a member, may give an opinion and recommendation on any matter respecting the Code of Ethics and would provide the member with a written opinion and any recommendations.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 89 - Sea, Army and Air Cadets Training Recognition Act – Chuck Porter (PC)
This Bill aims to reward high school students who are involved in the Royal Canadian Sea, Army and Air Cadets by granting them two high school credits for three years’ satisfactory cadet training. The Bill provides that any educational institution that grants Nova Scotia High School Graduation Diplomas based on credits shall grant two credits to any student of the institution who, while attending grade nine, ten, eleven or twelve at that or another educational institution, has, as a cadet, completed at least three years' satisfactory cadet training in the Royal Canadian Sea, Army or Air Cadets.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
-Bill No. 1 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 7 – Justice Administration Amendment (2011) Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 13 – Pharmacy Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 15 – Electricity Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 17 – Fair Drug Pricing Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 19 – Nova Scotia Business Incorporated Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 21 – Public Archives Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 23 – Public Procurement Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act except clauses 12(1)(a), (b), (g), (k) and (m), Sections 14, 17 and 18, has effect on and after June 1, 2011. The excepted provisions will have effect on and after June 1, 2012.
-Bill No. 25 – Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 27 – Financial Measures (2011) Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. Section 7 has effect on and after January 1, 2010. Section 10 has effect on and after December 1, 2010. Sections 8 and 9 have effect on and after January 1, 2011. Sections 2, 18 to 20 and 31 have effect on and after April 1, 2011. Section 3 has effect on and after May 1, 2011 Section 17 has effect on and after July 1, 2011. Sections 11 to 16 and 21 to 25 and subsection 27(1) come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 30 – Land Registration Act (amended) and Registry Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 33 – Court Administrative Reform Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 35 – Body Armour Control Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Security and Investigative Services Act comes into force.
-Bill No. 36 - Energy Saving Roadway Lighting (2011) Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 40 – Liquor Control Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 41 - Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Amendment (2011) Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 42 - Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) and Municipal Government Act - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 43 – Interior Designers Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 47 – Summary Proceedings Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 50 – Appropriations Act, 2011 - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act has effect on and after April 1, 2011.
-Bill No. 51 – Public Highways Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 52 – Government Administration Amendment (2011) Act – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 53 – Labour Standards Code (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 55 – Medical Act – Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 56 – Real Estate Trading Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 57 – Private Ways Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 59 – Elections Act – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
-Bill No. 62 – Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act comes into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 65 – Nova Scotia Jobs Fund Act - Passed second reading, and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 72 – Timely Medical Certificates Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments
-Bill No. 73 – Safer School Zones Act - Passed second reading and referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
-Bill No. 76 – Civil Forfeiture Act (amended) – Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 78 – Civil Constables Act (repealed) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 80 – Constables Act (repealed) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee
-Bill No. 81 – Change of Name Act (amended) - Passed second reading and referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
-Bill No. 84 – Animal Protection Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 85 – Agriculture and Rural Credit Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 86 – Fair Automobile Insurance (2011) Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
-Bill No. 90 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act – Passed first 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 1st reading, and was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-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 1st reading, and was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-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 1st reading, and was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-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. 49 – Buy Nova Scotia First Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 54 – Cemeteries Protection Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act came into force on Royal Assent.
-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 was adjourned on 2nd reading.
-Bill No. 63 – Concussion Awareness Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 64 –Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 66 – Ratepayer Protection Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 67 – Scrap-Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 68 – Elimination of Bonuses in Power Rates Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 69 – Transparency in Power Rates Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 70 – Ratepayer Fairness Act - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 71 – Public Service Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 77 – Environmental Ombudsman Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 79 – Green Energy Promotion Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 82 – Next Generation Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
-Bill No. 83 – Health Protection Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.
-Bill No. 87 – Wildlife Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.
-Bill No. 88 – Code of Ethics Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle in the House
-Bill No. 89 - Sea, Army and Air Cadets Training Recognition Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.

Status Update on Private and Local Bills
-Bill No. 20 - Trustees of Liverpool United Baptist Church Act (amended) - Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. This Act came into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 22 – Public Service Commission of Bridgewater Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 19, 2011. Section 4 has effect on and after November 25, 1999. All other changes came into force on Royal Assent.
-Bill No. 38 – Yarmouth North Baptist Church Act - Passed 2nd reading, and was referred to the Private and Local Bills 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, 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.