April 23, 2012

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting - April 20, 2012

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The spring sitting of the 4th session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on March 29, 2012. As of April 20, 2012, 12 Government Bills and 24 Private Members Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between April 13 and April 20, 2012.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 20 – Public Trustee Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill authorizes the Public Trustee to elect to administer an estate by a simplified process before the Probate Court where the estate value is less than $25,000.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 22 – Mortgage Regulation Act – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill replaces the 1966 Mortgage Brokers’ and Lenders’ Registration Act. It updates the rules concerning mortgage brokering and lending such as licensing and insurance requirements for mortgage brokers and lenders. It also updates the legislation to reflect current practices and the correlated rise to dominance of institutional lenders in this field. The Bill is designed to protect consumers when they enter a mortgage and ensure that the rules around mortgage brokering are up-to-date and reflect current industry and Canadian practices. For instance, mortgage brokers under the new legislation must provide more information to their clients including commissions being charged from lenders.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 24 – Purchasing Management Association of Canada Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill amends the Purchasing Management Association of Canada Act to reflect the Association’s professional designation “Supply Chain Management Professional”.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 30 – Promotion of Respectful and Responsible Relationships Act – Hon. Ramona Jennex
This Bill amends the Education Act to address issues related to disruptive or seriously disruptive behaviour of students. The amendments will require school boards to collect, monitor, and report data on severely disruptive behaviour which will allow the province to monitor the scope and consequences of bullying for use in programs and intervention strategies. This Bill responds to the recommendations of the Report of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 32 – Securities Act (amended) – Hon. Graham Steele
This Bill introduces gender neutral language to the Securities Act and also amends or adds definitions for “Chair”, “credit rating”, “credit rating organization”, “offering memorandum”, and “reporting issuer”. Other amendments attempt to bring Nova Scotia within a harmonized securities legislative scheme. Some of these amendments concern (i) point-of-sale disclosure rules for investment funds, (ii) exemption requirements for companies making representations concerning their stock market listings (iii) offering memorandums, (iv) insider trading prosecution, and (v) enforcement options available to the Commission. The amendments also give regulators a new enforcement mechanism which will require a person who contravenes Nova Scotia security laws to disgorge to the Commission any amounts obtained as a result of the non-compliance. The commission will also be empowered to enforce orders from self-regulatory organizations.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 34 – Matrimonial Statutes Repeal Act – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill repeals outdated and unnecessary family legislation. The Bill repeals the Alimony Act, An Act Relating to the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, Of the Court of Marriage and Divorce, An Act to amend the law relating to the Court of Divorce, and Matrimonial Causes, Married Women’s Deeds Act, and Married Women’s Property Act.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 21 – Sound Recording Tax Credit Act – Harold (Junior) Theriault (Lib)
This Bill provides a sound recording tax credit to eligible sound recording companies for certain qualifying expenditures on eligible sound recordings by emerging Canadian artists or groups.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 23 – Day Care Act (amended) – Kelly Regan (Lib)
This Bill requires the Minister of Community Services to undertake a review of day-care quality and access across the Province. This review must be completed by November 15, 2012.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 25 – Victims’ Rights and Services Act (amended) – Diana Whalen (Lib)
This Bill introduces three changes to the Victims’ Rights and Services Act. The Bill ensures that money collected by the victim fine surcharge directly benefits victims of crime and are not used for salary or administration costs of the Department of Justice. The Bill also removes the cap for counseling hours and provides an applicant with a 180 day appeal period for a Director decision.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 26 – Stand Up Against Bullying Day Act - Hon. Jamie Baillie (PC)
This Bill declares that the second Thursday in September shall be observed as Stand Up Against Bullying Day in recognition of the two students from Central Kings Rural High School who rallied behind their classmate who was being bullied for wearing pink and to send a strong message against bullying and cyberbullying.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 27 – Cyberbullying Intervention Act – Allan MacMaster (PC)
This Bill defines “cyberbully” and makes it an offence to cyberbully a youth. A guardian or parent of a youth who commits an offence will be held jointly and severally liable if they knew or ought to have known the youth was cyberbullying. The Bill also provides that a judge may restrict the use of electronic devices by the offending youth as well as provides for several alternative measures s/he may order against an offending youth.
Status: Debate was adjourned on second reading.

Bill No. 28 – Safer Schools Act – Eddie Orrell (PC)
This Bill defines “bullying” and requires the Minister of Education to create provincial standards for bullying prevention, reporting and intervention. School boards must establish disciplinary policies for their schools in accordance with the provincial standards. It also requires that the Minister consider appropriate disciplinary measures when bullying occurs.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 29 – Child Protection Intervention Act – Hon. Jamie Baillie (PC)
This Bill allows the Minister of Justice to apply to a justice of the peace for a restraining order preventing someone from having contact with children. The order may be granted where there are reasonable grounds to suspect the person is causing or will cause any child to be in need of protection.
Status: Debate was adjourned on second reading.

Bill No. 31 – Residential Tenancies Act (amended) – Kelly Regan (Lib)
This Bill gives tenants the right to terminate a year-to-year lease at any time if there has been documented domestic violence.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 33 – Diabetic Persons Support Act – Leo Glavine (Lib)
This Bill provides for the funding of insulin pumps under the M.S.I. Plan.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 35 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (Lib)
This Bill requires that the regulations that divide vehicles into classes must provide that antique motorcycles are a class of vehicle.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 36 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Leo Glavine (Lib)
This Bill provides a non-refundable food bank donation tax credit of 25% of the wholesale value of agricultural products that Nova Scotia farmers produce and donate to Nova Scotia food banks.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills
Bill No. 1 – Status of the Artist Act – Passed second reading, and was referred to Law Amendments Committee, on April 3, 2012.
Bill No. 5 - Municipal Government Act (amended) – Debate adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 9 – Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 11 – Nova Scotia Tartan Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 13 – Education Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 17 – Financial Measures (2012) Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 20 – Public Trustee Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 22 – Mortgage Regulation Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 24 – Purchasing Management Association of Canada Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 30 - Promotion of Respectful and Responsible Relationships Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 32 – Securities Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 34 – Matrimonial Statutes Repeal Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member’s Bills
Bill No. 2 – Tax Review (2012-13) Act – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 3 – Sales Tax Act (amended) – Debate was adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 4 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 6 – Fair Treatment of Children Act– Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 7 – Concussion Awareness Act– Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 8 – Joseph Howe Day Act– Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 10 – Blueprint for the Future of Public Education in Nova Scotia Act – Debate was adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 12 – Petroleum Products Pricing Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 14 – Trade Union Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 15 – House of Assembly Management Commission Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 16 – Affordable Higher education Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 18 – Agriculture and Marketing Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 19 – Early Development Instrument Assessment Program Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 21 – Sound Recording Tax Credit Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 23 – Day Care Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 25 – Victims’ Rights and Services Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 26 – Stand Up Against Bullying Day Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 27 – Cyberbullying Intervention Act – Debate was adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 28 – Safer Schools Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 29 – Child Protection Intervention Act – Debate was adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 31 – Residential Tenancies Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 33 – Diabetic Persons Support Act - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 35 – Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 36 – Income Tax Act (amended) - Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private and Local Bills
None

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.