April 26, 2013

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting April 26, 2013

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The Spring sitting of the 5th session of the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature began on March 26, 2013. As of April 25th, 12 Government Bills, 48 Private Members Bills and 1 Private and Local Bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of those Bills introduced between April 19th and April 25th, 2013.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 54 – Widow's Pension Act – Hon. Frank Corbett
This Bill amends the Worker's Compensation Act to reinstate survivor benefits to a dependant spouse of a deceased, that were otherwise discontinued on remarriage, as of April 17, 1985 (the previous cut-off date was January 1, 1999).
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 55 – Protection of Animal Welfare and Security Act – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill amends to Animal Protection Act in the following ways: (a) broadening the characterization of what constitutes an animal in distress; (b) deeming a parent to be an "owner" for the purposes of the Act, if the owner of the pet is the parent's minority-aged child; (c) requiring a seller of a dog to have the health of the dog certified by a veterinarian prior to sale; (d) specifying options available to the Society or the Minister on a review of a decision to take an animal into custody; (e) increasing the penalties for a conviction under the Act and broadening the powers of a judge following a conviction; and (f) revising the regulation making powers of the Minister and the Governor in Council.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 57 – Language Schools Act – Hon. Frank Corbett
This Bill requires that schools offering language courses to international students hold a certificate of registration. The process for obtaining such a certificate includes, among other things (a) an inspection of the premises of the school; (b) satisfaction of the Director (of the Private Career College Division at the Department of Labour and Advanced Education) of the school's financial resources, facilities, policies and procedures, accommodations, support services and eligibility for accreditation; (c) the payment of a fee; and (d) the posting of a surety bond. No school can hold itself out as a language school without a certificate of registration. Further, this Bill requires an operator of a language school to maintain a number of records, have student contracts with each international student, and make reports to the Minister of its activities and financial statements, and any records the Minister requests. This Bill also sets out a process for making and dealing with complaints against a language school, grants the Minister the power to appoint inspectors (for the purposes of the Act), sets out the duties and powers of an inspector, establishes a trust fund for the Act, establishes sanctions and penalties for breaching the Act, and grants the Minister a number of regulation making powers.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 58 - Appropriations Act, 2013 – Hon. Maureen MacDonald
This Bill implements the Government's budget by authorizing the spending and borrowing required for the current fiscal year.
Status: Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent

Bill No. 59 - Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) – Hon. Charlie Parker
This Bill amends the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act to define "Sable Island National Park Reserve of Canada", prohibit drilling activities within one nautical mile of Sable Island, set out a process of consultation with Parks Canada when considering an application to carrying on activities on Sable Islands, and limits the surface access rights on Sable Island.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 61 - Cyber-safety Act – Hon. Marilyn More
This Bill creates administrative and court processes to address cyberbullying (using electronic devises, such as computers or phones, to cause emotional harm to another individual). It does this by: (a) establishing a cyberbullying investigative unit to look into complaints of cyberbullying; (b) setting out several powers the investigative unit has to investigate complaints of cyberbullying (c) granting the court, upon application by the investigative unit, the power to issue cyberbullying prevention orders which could prevent people from communicating online; (d) establishing a process for victims of cyberbullying to seek a court protection order themselves, which could result in confiscation of a person's phone or computer; (e) granting principals the authority to deal with cyberbullying, on or off school grounds; (f) establishing tortious liability for cyberbullying; and (g) making parents of minors who cyberbully potentially liable, along with their children.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILLS

Bill No. 56 – Cyberbullying Intervention Act – Allan MacMaster (PC)
This Bill makes it an offence to "cyberbully" (using electronic communication, such as social media, to cause harm to another individual). If a youth "cyberbullys", this Bill makes a parent/guardian of that youth liable for an offence as well, is they ought to have known of the cyberbullying. This Bill also allows for orders to be made, upon application to the court, restricting the use of electronic devises of a person, if it is in the public interest to do so.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 60 – Residential Tenancies Act (amended) – Diana Whalen (Lib)
This Bill amends the Residential Tenancies Act to authorize tenants in the same building to make a joint application to the Director of Residential Tenancies with respect to a question arising under the Act, a breach of a lease, or a contravention of the Act.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS
N/A

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills

  • Bill No. 3 – Support for Parents of Critically Ill or Abducted Children Act – Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 32 - Solemnization of Marriage Act (amended) - Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 36 - Provincial Court Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 37 - Innovative Transportation Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 42 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 51 - Financial Measures (2013) Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 54 – Widow's Pension Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 55 – Protection of Animal Welfare and Security Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 57 – Language Schools Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 58 - Appropriations Act, 2013– Passed third reading, and is awaiting Royal Assent. 
  • Bill No. 59 - 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. 61 - Cyber-safety Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


 Status Update on Private Member’s Bills

  • Bill No. 1 – Accountability in Economic Development Assistance Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 2 – Reliability in the Delivery of Electricity Act - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
  • Bill No. 4 – Balanced Budget Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 5 – Elections Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 6 – Next Generation Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 7 – Liquor Control Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 8 – Food Bank Donation Tax Credit for Farmers Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 9 – Review to Invest in Student Achievement Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 10 – Public Utilities Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 11 – Affordable Higher Education Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 12 – Public Service Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 13 – Liquor Control Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 14 – Diabetic Persons Support Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 15 – Education Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 16 – Green Energy Promotion Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 17 – Blueprint for the Future of Public Education in Nova Scotia Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 18 – Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 19 – Increasing Immigration to Nova Scotia Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 20 – Electricity Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 21 – Supporting All Students' Success in the Classroom Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 22 – Joseph Howe Day Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 23 – Sound Recording Tax Credit Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 24 – Multi-year Funding Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 25 – Health Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 26 – Sales Tax Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 27 – Day Care Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 28 – Tax Review (2013-14) Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 29 – Housing Development Corporation Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 30 – Housing Development Corporation Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 31 – Full Disclosure of Accounting Changes Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 33 – Rural Nova Scotia Physicians Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 34 – Ratepayer Protection Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 35 – Trade Union Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 38 – Trade Union Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 39 – Trade Union Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 40 – Education Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 41 – Child Protection Intervention Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 44 - Ratepayer Fairness Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 45 - Transparency in Power Rates Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 46 – Public Utilities Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 47 – Capital Projects Review Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 48 – Power Rate Reduction Review Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 49 - Revenue Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 50 – Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 52 - Safer Schools Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 53 - Stand Up Against Bullying Day Act– Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 56 – Cyberbullying Intervention Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 60 – Residential Tenancies Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


 Status Update on Private and Local Bills

  • Bill No. 43 – An Act to Incorporate the Trustees (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.


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 Gavin MacDonald at (902) 491-4464 or at coxandpalmer.com.




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.