May 14, 2012

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting May 11, 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 May 11, 35 Government Bills, and 55 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 7 and May 11, 2012.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 81 - Gaming Control Act (amended) – Hon. David A Wilson
This Bill expands the stated purpose of the Act to include investing in casinos, other lottery schemes and related businesses to increase the net revenue of the Government. The name of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation is changed to Nova Scotia Provincial Lottery Corporation. The Bill amends the composition of the Board and quorum requirements to include senior Deputy Ministers from the departments of Finance and Health and Wellness. The Bill also removes a requirement for casinos to prominently display the rules of play, however provides that copies would still be made available to the public. This Bill also repeals provisions that allowed for a casino operator or casino complex to be exempted from a municipal by-law.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 8, 2012.

Bill No. 82 – Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations, An Act to Incorporate (amended) - Hon. Maureen MacDonald
This Bill seeks to broaden the categories of organizations and types of health care the Association may govern; removes sickness and accident insurance programs from the Association's health and welfare plans and adds long-term disability; and requires organizations to be members of the Association to participate in any of its health or pension plans.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 8, 2012.

Bill No. 84 – Dalhousie University-Nova Scotia Agricultural College Merger Act – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill seeks to formalize a former merger agreement between Dalhousie University and the Agricultural College at Bible Hill. The College will become Dalhousie’s Faculty of Agriculture and Dalhousie will employ designated employees of the College. Proposed Regulations will set the merger date for September 1, 2012. Once completed the merger endows Dalhousie with all rights, interests and obligations of the College, and authorizes the College to lease its Dairy Quota to the University.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.

Bill No. 86 - NewPage Port Hawkesbury Pension Plans Act – Hon. Marilyn More
This Bill would delay winding up of the NewPage Port Hawkesbury Pension Plan until July 1, 2023, as a protective measure for the Plan. Each member or person entitled to payment who is affected by the wind-up is to be given notice as to the effect of the extension, if known, the wind-up date, and the time limit for making an election to participate in the wind-up with or without the extended period. In addition, all persons entitled to a pension, deferred pension or other benefit, or a refund in respect of the pension plan must receive a statement of their entitlement and the options available to them, including transfer options available and what their commuted value would be. The Bill also specifies which payments can be made where the wind-up period of the plans has been extended, for example: payments commenced before the effective date of the wind-up, pensions and benefits to which persons become eligible after the effective date, and pre-retirement death benefits.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.

Bill No. 87 – Good Forestry Management on Crown Land Act – Hon. Charlie Parker
Under this Bill the Minister of Natural Resources is required to consider access to other primary forest products to permit the inclusion of provisions respecting sub-licensing in an agreement; and to allow for longer terms, all in relation to the negotiation of forest-utilization licence agreements.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.

Bill No. 88 - Maritime Link Act – Hon. Charlie Parker
This Bill concerns the "Maritime Link Project", the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Maritime Link, a new high voltage direct current transmission system of hydro-electric power from Lower Churchill, Newfoundland and Labrador to Nova Scotia. The Bill provides for review of the Project by the Nova Scotia UARB. Further Regulations made by the Governor in Council and the Chair of the Review Board will provide for a predictable, timely and transparent regulatory process.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.

PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILLS

Bill No. 85 - Workers' Compensation Act (amended) – Hon. Michel Samson (Lib)
This Bill would amend the definition of “worker” to include auxiliary members of a municipal police department or the RCMP, and provides for such workers to come under Part 1 of the Act, which allows for the compensation of work related injuries by the Workers Compensation Board.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 89 - Trade Union Act (amended) – Hon Jamie Baillie (PC)
This Bill adds a Part III to the Act to govern the dispute-resolution process in collective bargaining by health care and community services employees and employers. The amendment would apply to such collective bargaining whether bargaining began before or after its coming into force. The Bill prohibits the increase or decrease of wages or any other alteration to the terms or conditions of employment of employees in relation to whom notice to bargain has been given until a new collective agreement is reached or failing to be reached an arbitrator has made an award. Arbitrators appointed pursuant to the Bill are required to consider numerous factors outlined in the Bill in making an award, including: wages and benefits in other employment and its availability and stability, economic conditions in the Province, the employer’s financial position, conditions in similar employment, and relationships between different occupation levels and classifications.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 91 - Condominium Act (amended) – Diana Whalen (Lib)
This Bill would require 5% of the total sale price of condominium units to be held in trust for five years to pay for prescribed structural repairs. The holdback period commences on the date the latest occupancy permit is issued. The Bill also provides authority for the making of regulations with respect to terms of the trust, prescribed repairs, and the holdback period/occupancy permit calculation.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 92 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act (amended) – Allan MacMaster (PC)
This Bill amends the Act to prohibit the purchase of copper pipe used to transmit home heating oil by scrap-metal dealers or recyclers. Scrap metal dealers and recyclers will be required 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. Persons who hold a valid certificate of qualification as an installer pursuant to the Petroleum Management Regulations under the Environment Act would be allowed to continue supplying copper pipes.
Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS

Bill No. 83 – Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, An Act to Incorporate the (amended)– Jim Morton (NDP)
This Bill would remove the $5,000 limit on property the Festival may own or acquire as well as the need for Governor in Council approval of the Festival’s by-laws.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Private and Local Bills Committee on May 7, 2012.

Bill No. 90 - Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission Act (amended) – Lenore Zann (NDP)
This Bill amends the Act to increase the size of the Board of Directors to ten, three of whom will be appointed or elected annually and seven of whom will be elected to serve the terms set by the Act or the Commission by by-law.
Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Private and Local Bills Committee on May 10, 2012.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills

Bill No. 1 – Status of the Artist Act– Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 5 - Municipal Government Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 9 – Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 11 – Nova Scotia Tartan Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 13 – Education Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 17 – Financial Measures (2012) Act – Status: Returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 20 – Public Trustee Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 22 – Mortgage Regulation Act – Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 24 – Purchasing Management Association of Canada Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 30 - Promotion of Respectful and Responsible Relationships Act - Status: Returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 32 – Securities Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 4, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 34 – Matrimonial Statutes Repeal Act – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 37 – Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 39 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 41 – Grandparents’ Rights Affirmation Act – Status: Passed third reading debates and third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 52 – Conservation Easements Act (amended) – Status: Returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 55 – Community Easements Act– Status: Returned to Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 59 – Fish Harvesters Registration and Certification Act – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 61 – Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 7, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 65 – Consumer Protection Act (amended)– Status: Returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 69 – Appropriations Act, 2012 – Status: Passed third reading on April 27, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 71 - Assessment Act (amended) - Status: Passed third reading on May 8, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 73 – Municipal Government Act (amended) - Status: Passed third reading on May 8, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 74 – Patient Safety Act - Status: Passed third reading on May 8, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 76 - Personal Health Information Act (amended) - Status: Passed third reading on May 8, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 77 – Medical Society Act (amended) – Status: Passed third reading on May 8, 2012 and is awaiting Royal Assent.
Bill No. 78 - Justice Administration (2012) Act – Status: Returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 79 - Education Act (amended) – Status: Returned to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills on May 10, 2012 without further amendment and is awaiting third reading.
Bill No. 81 - Gaming Control Act (amended) – Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 8, 2012.
Bill No. 82 – Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations, An Act to Incorporate (amended) - Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 8, 2012.
Bill No. 84 – Dalhousie University-Nova Scotia Agricultural College Merger Act –Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.
Bill No. 86 - NewPage Port Hawkesbury Pension Plans Act – Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.
Bill No. 87 – Good Forestry Management on Crown Land Act – Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.
Bill No. 88 - Maritime Link Act – Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Law Amendments Committee on May 10, 2012.

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.
Bill No. 38 – Finance Act (amended)– Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 40 – Labour Standards Code (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 42 – Rural Nova Scotia Physicians Act – Status: Debate adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 43 – Newly Trained Nova Scotia Doctors Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 44 – Health Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 45 – Ratepayer Protection Act – Status: Debate adjourned on second reading.
Bill No. 46 – Electricity Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 47 – Modernizing Government Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 48 – Balanced Budget Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 49 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 50 – Next Generation Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 51 – Red Tape Reduction Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 53 – Debt Settlement Protection Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 54 – Power Rate Reduction Review Act - Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 56 – Elimination of Bonuses in Power Rates Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 58 – Transparency in Power Rates Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 60 – Ratepayer Fairness Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 62 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House
Bill No. 63 – Transparency for Homeowners Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 64 – Income Tax Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 66 – Multiple Sclerosis Patient Support Act– Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 67 – Buy Nova Scotia First Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 68 – Value for Money Act– Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 70 – Multiple Sclerosis Liberation Therapy Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 72 - Capital Projects Review Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 75 - An Act to Provide Greater Flexibility for Nova Scotians' Retirement Savings in Locked-in Accounts – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 80 - Child and Youth Advocate Act – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 85 - Workers' Compensation Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 89 - Trade Union Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 91 - Condominium Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
Bill No. 92 - Safe Collection of Scrap Metal Act (amended) – Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private and Local Bills

Bill No. 57 – Crosbie Memorial Trust Fund Act (amended) – Passed second reading and was referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills on May 3, 2012.
Bill No. 83 – Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival, An Act to Incorporate the (amended)– Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Private and Local Bills Committee on May 7,
2012.
Bill No. 90 - Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission Act (amended) – Status: Passed second reading and was referred to Private and Local Bills Committee on May 10,
2012.


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 Forsterat 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.