November 05, 2010

Nova Scotia Legislative Report Fall Sitting

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The fall sitting of the 2nd session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia legislature began on October 28, 2010. As of November 5, 2010, 10 Government Bills and 5 Private Members Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between October 28, 2010 and November 5, 2010, and a table providing the status of legislation introduced since the beginning of the session, current to November 5, 2010.


GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 72 – Police Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry

This Bill amends the Police Act to establish a serious incident response team. This entity is to conduct independent investigations of serious incidents involving police officers in Nova Scotia. These amendments have been brought forward largely due to public reaction over the deaths of Howard Hyde (who died while in police custody after having been tasered) and John Simon (who was shot by an RCMP officer). It is to be headed by a civilian Director. Matters can be brought to the Director’s attention by chief police officers (for example, police chiefs must notify the Director if the actions of a police officer may have resulted in a death, serious injury, or sexual assault), or by the Minister of Justice. The Director has may arrange to have his team undertake an investigation, or may work with or refer the matter to another agency. At the end of an investigation, a report must be submitted to the Director, and the party who investigated the matter must decide whether any charges should be laid. The Director must provide a summary of an investigation to the Minister, and to the agency employing the police officer being investigated, no later than three months after receiving a report. The Director is also required to make investigation summaries available to the public, but no deadline is imposed in this regard. Status: Passed second reading October 29, 2010 and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.


Bill No. 74 – Land Titles Clarification Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell

These amendments aim to simplify land title clarification. The first amendment facilitates a process whereby people adversely affected by the granting of a certificate of title under the Land Titles Clarification Act can be compensated by the Minister of Natural Resources. The second amendment outlines factors the Minister can consider when reconciling any interest of the Crown. The third amendment provides that a certificate of release cannot be issued with respect to acknowledged Crown land or land that exhibits no current or historical usage. Status: Passed second reading November 1, 2010 and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.


Bill No. 75 – Merchandise Inspection Act (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell

This Bill repeals the Merchandise Inspection Act. The Merchandise Inspection Act was created in 1762 to protect consumers and traders. The Act is outdated, with functions that now fall under federal authority and national product standards. Its repeal will ensure efficient regulatory practices, and eliminate any perceptions of duplication or barriers to trade. Status: Passed second reading November 1, 2010 and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.


Bill No. 76 – Credit Union Act (amended) – Hon. Graham Steele

This Bill continues the Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia as the Atlantic Central with a capacity to also carry on business in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador when permitted by those jurisdictions. The new association is contingent on similar legislation being passed in New Brunswick and PEI. Status: Passed second reading November 2, 2010 and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.


Bill No. 78 – Public Utilities Act (amended) – Hon. Graham Steele

Pursuant to section 92 of the Public Utilities Act, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board may appoint a small business advocate for hearings before it. This Bill amends the definition of a "small business" for the purposes of this section, with the ultimate intention of strengthening and clarifying the role of the small business advocate. The existing definition of a small business focuses exclusively on the number of persons employed by a business; by contrast, the new definition will focus on types of businesses, applicable rates classes and service tariffs, and the consumption of utility services. The Bill also provides that the same person cannot be both the consumer advocate and the small business advocate. Status: Passed second reading November 4, 2010 and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.


Bill No. 79 – Securities Act (amended) – Hon. Graham Steele

This Bill introduces a host of amendments to the Securities Act. These amendments are to ensure that the Securities Act complies with the International Financial Reporting Standards. The amendments are also intended to establish a framework for regulating credit rating organizations. In this regard, provisions are to be added to the Securities Act to clarify the rules that these organizations must comply with; however, it appears that these rules are to be prescribed in regulations at a later date; the Bill amends the regulation-making authority of the Governor in Council accordingly. The Bill also specifies the authority that the Securities Commission has over these credit rating organizations (e.g. to demand the production of, and to review, books, records, and documents; to review practices and procedures; to designate, or withdraw the designation of, a credit rating organization, etc.). The Bill also clarifies that a self-regulatory organization has authority over former members and former representatives. A major impetus behind the Bill is to harmonize the Securities Act with securities legislation in place in other jurisdictions. Status: Passed second reading November 4, 2010 and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.


Bill No. 81 – Oak Island Treasure Act – Hon. John MacDonell

This Bill repeals the Treasure Trove Act and amends the Special Places Protection Act and regulates the searching for treasure on Oak Island in Lunenburg County. The Bill allows the Minister of Natural Resources to issue licences to search for treasure and to retain it upon payment of a royalty to the Minister. The Bill allows the Minister to prescribe terms and conditions of the licence, which cannot be transferred. Where any treasure is discovered, a written report is required to be made to the Minister. The Treasure Trove Act was created in 1954 to govern treasure hunting activities on Oak Island. Its repeal will bring the Province in line with other Canadian provinces in the UNESEO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Convention on the protection of underwater cultural heritage. Status: Passed first reading November 2, 2010; debate was adjourned on second reading.


Bill No. 82 – Offshore Licensing Policy Act – Hon. Bill Estabrooks, M.B.

The purpose of the Bill is to direct the Minister of Energy to use the powers and authority under the Accord Acts to ensure that no person engages in exploration or drilling for petroleum on Georges Bank until a resolution is passed in the House of Assembly to permit the licensing of petroleum interests and activity on Georges Bank. Where the Minister is of the opinion that environmental risks are not significant and offshore petroleum exploration and development activity on Georges Bank is attractive and provides revenue streams that benefit all Nova Scotians, the Minister may recommend that the Executive Council order a public review to determine whether the moratorium should be lifted in whole or in part. Status: Passed first reading November 3, 2010 and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


Bill No. 83 – Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act (amended) – Hon. Sterling Belliveau

This Bill makes a series of minor amendments to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act. These amendments are intended to clarify and simplify portions of the Act regarding the Minister’s authority over fisheries resources; the power of the Minister and the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting licensing and inspection; when licenses to deal with fish products are required; instances in which a person may apply for a license under the Act; grounds for refusing licenses. The amendments are also intended to protect against the unauthorized introduction of fish into provincial waters; in this regard, the powers of the Governor in Council and Minister with respect to the development and protection of fishery resources are revised, and the Governor in Council is given the power to make regulations respecting the possession and transport of live fish from recreational fishing. Status: Passed first reading November 4, 2010 and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


Bill No. 85 – Police Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry

This Bill amends the Police Act to require police officers to collect prescribed information relating to a victim of a crime, and to then provide this information to victim services programs, or to the Director of Victim Services. Status: Passed first reading on November 5, 2010 and is awaiting debate in principle in the House.



PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILLS

Bill No. 73 – Forests Act (amended) – Leo Glavine (LIB)

This Bill amends the Forests Act. It requires the Minister of Natural Resources to determine and set an annual allowable harvest of forest land on Crown lands in Nova Scotia. The purpose of the Bill is to prevent overharvesting of Crown land. Status: Passed first reading October 29 2010; debate was adjourned on second reading.


Bill No. 77 – Tax Review (2010-11) Act – Hon. Stephen McNeil (LIB)

This Bill requires the Minister to undertake a comprehensive review of all provincial taxes, and of federal and provincial taxes in Canada. The review is to be undertaken on or before December 15, 2010, and is to be completed (with a report submitted to the Minister) on or before April 29, 2011. The report is to be tabled in the House, or is to be filed with the Chief Clerk if the House is not sitting. Status: Passed first reading November 1, 2010; debate was adjourned on second reading.


Bill No. 80 – Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Act – Alfie MacLeod (PC)

This Act establishes an Advisory Panel of experts from the Province and other jurisdictions to advise on liberation therapy, a therapy pioneered by Dr. Paolo Zamboni of Italy for the treatment of chronic cerebral-spinal venous insufficiency in persons with multiple sclerosis. The Advisory Panels will advise the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation on the criteria for a call for research proposals on clinical trials and the selection of a research proposal to be funded. The Act establishes that clinical trials of liberation therapy will begin by April 30th, 2011, and that the Minister of Health will establish a Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Fund of $5,000,000 for the clinical trials. Status: Passed first reading November 2, 2010 and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


Bill No. 84 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (LIB)

This Bill amends the Motor Vehicle Act in order to make roads in Nova Scotia safer for cyclists. The amendments require drivers of motor vehicles to maintain specified “safe distances” when passing cyclists. When a vehicle and a cyclist collide, the driver is presumed not to have maintained the applicable safe distance; however, this presumption does not apply if the cyclist was cycling in an unsafe manner. The amendments also provide for additional fines against drivers if they violate the safe distance rules, and if this violation results in a serious injury to, or the death of, the cyclist. The amendments also require drivers convicted of breaching the safe distance rules to successfully complete remedial programs. Status: Passed first reading on November 5, 2010 and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.



STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
  • Bill No. 1 House of Assembly Management Commission Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 7 Pharmacy Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 10 Cape Breton Island Marketing Levy Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 13 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 16 Summary Proceedings Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 18 Vital Statistics Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 19 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 22 Security and Investigative Services Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 23 Sea, Army, Air and Navy League Cadets Day Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 24 Financial Measures (2010) Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent; however, sections 2 to 8 had effect on and after January 1, 2010, and sections 24 and 25 will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 29 Municipal Government Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 33 Securities Transfer Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act was proclaimed into force on September 8, 2010.
  • Bill No. 35 Finance Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act was proclaimed into force on August 1, 2010.
  • Bill No. 36 Engineering Profession Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 38 Voluntary Carbon Emissions Offset Fund Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 41 Volunteer Fire Services Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 46 Appropriations Act, 2010 – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act had effect on and after April 1, 2010.
  • Bill No. 47 Education Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 51 Revenue Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent; however, sections 1 and 2(3) will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 52 Insurance Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act had effect on and after July 1, 2010; however, clauses 4(a) and (c) will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 53 Fur Industry Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 55 Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act was proclaimed into force on July 13, 2010.
  • Bill No. 58 Powers of Attorney Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 61 Non-essential Pesticides Control Act – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 62 Nova Scotia Hospital Foundation Act (repealed) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 63 Legal Professions Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 64 Electricity Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act was proclaimed into force on October 12, 2010.
  • Bill No. 65 Homes for Special Care Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent; however, section 1 will come into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation.
  • Bill No. 67 Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent; however, sections 1 and 3 had effect on and after February 17, 2009.
  • Bill No. 68 Public Utilities Act (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 72 Police Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 74 Land Titles Clarification Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 75 Merchandise Inspection Act (repealed) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 76 Credit Union Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 78 Public Utilities Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 79 Securities Act (amended) – Passed 2nd reading, and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 81 Oak Island Treasure Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 82 Offshore Licensing Policy Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 83 Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 85 Police Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member’s 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 2nd reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee. The Law Amendments Committee met on May 4, 2010, and has yet to report to the House.
  • Bill No. 17 Public Highways Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle in 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 in 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; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading.
  • 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 (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 40 An Act to Exempt Tidal View Manor in the Town of Yarmouth from Taxation (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) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 54 Joseph Howe Day Act – 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.
  • Bill No. 57 Income Tax Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 59 Public Utilities Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 60 Green Energy Promotion Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 66 Liquor Control Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 69 Public Highways Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 70 Wilderness Areas Protection Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 71 Early Development Instrument Program Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 73 Forests Act (amended) – Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading.
  • Bill No. 77 Tax Review (2010-11) Act – Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading.
  • Bill No. 80 Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Act – Passed 1st reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 84 Motor Vehicle 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) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 49 Royal Cape Breton Yacht Club, An Act to Incorporate (amended) – Received Royal Assent on May 11, 2010. This Act came into force upon Royal Assent.


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.