May 10, 2013

Nova Scotia Legislative Report - Spring Sitting May 10, 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 May 9th, 22 Government Bills, 61 Private Members Bills and 2 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 3rd and May 9th, 2013.

GOVERNMENT BILLS

Bill No. 78 - Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) – Hon. Charlie Parker
This Bill proposes to amend the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act. The proposed amendments include the establishing of one set of occupational health and safety rules for offshore energy workers. The amendments will transfer provincial oversight to the Department of Labour and Advanced Education from the Department of Energy. The federal Natural Resources Minister, in consultation with the federal Minister of Labour, will remain responsible federally. The Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) will continue to administer Nova Scotia's offshore regulations.

In terms of a detailed breakdown of the proposed changes, the Bill includes: (a) that the provincial ministers responsible for the management of offshore petroleum resources and occupational health and safety consult with the federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources before making regulations under the authority of certain provisions of the Act; (b) the application of Nova Scotia social legislation (ie. the Trade Union Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act) to employees of CNSOPB, and provides for the non-application of the Canada Labour Code; (c) the appointment of an audit and evaluation committee of the Board and requires that it cause internal audits to be conducted; (d) the requirement that the Board's annual report contain an audited financial statement and a description of the Board's activities, including those relating to occupational health and safety; (e) the issuance of joint written directives regarding occupational health and safety and the issuance of written directives by either the provincial Minister or the federal Minister specifying the portion of the offshore area in a call for bids under Part II of the Act; (f) the requirement that the Board include memoranda of understanding regarding aviation regulation with the appropriate departments and agencies of the provincial and federal Governments; (g) a reference to Part III A of the Act, which governs occupational health and safety in the offshore sector, within a provision allowing the Board to issue a notice requiring compliance with requirements of certain Parts of the Act and the Offshore Petroleum Royalty Act; (h) a requirement that the Board provide to the Chief Safety Officer a copy of any application for an authorization for a work or activity proposed to be carried on or any application to amend such an authorization; (i) a requirement that approvals, requirements and deposits not be inconsistent with the Act or regulations; (j) a repealing of a provision that allowed the Board to accept, in lieu of the declaration of an applicant required under subsection 136A(1), a declaration from the owner of equipment to be used in a work or activity that is the subject of an application for a licence or authorization; (k) the designation of a Chief Safety Officer and a Chief Conservation Officer; (l) the repealing of a provision governing the application of certain Nova Scotia statutes to offshore marine installation and structures; (m) a list of powers of the operational safety officers, the Chief Safety Officer, conservation officers and the Chief Conservation Officer; (n) a requirement that owners and persons in charge of places entered by the various officers give assistance to them, prohibits persons from obstructing the officers, provides for warrants of search and seizure that such officers may obtain, and provides for the removal, storage and, where a thing seized is perishable, disposition of things seized by such officers; (o) the provision of a due diligence defence to persons charged with an offence under Part III; (p) a provision for officers, directors, agents and other managerial and supervisory employees, of a corporation found guilty of an offence under Part III of the Act, to possibly be found individually guilty of an offence; (q) a preclusion of an individual from being imprisoned for not paying a fine for a Part III offence, if the offence was prosecuted by summary conviction; (r) allowance for the court, regarding convictions under Part III, to make an order requiring the person to do certain things; (s) provisions for the recovery of fines and other amounts a person convicted of an offence under Part III may be ordered to pay; (t) extending the limitation period for a summary conviction offence under Part III to three years or possibly longer; (u) incorporation of an occupational health and safety regime in the Act; and (v) allowance for the Chief Safety Officer to grant exemptions in respect of a workplace, or to an operator in respect of passengers being transported on a passenger craft, from certain requirements.
Status: Has been referred back to the House by the Law Amendments Committee, and is awaiting debate by the Committee of the Whole House.

Bill No. 80 – Members' Retiring Allowances Act (amended) – Hon. Frank Corbett
This Bill amends the Members' Retiring Allowances Act and provides that, where a member or former member of the House of Assembly is convicted of an indictable offence that is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of more than 5 years, the member or former member is not entitled to a retiring allowance under the Members' Retiring Allowances Act, if the offence occurred while the member or former member was a member of the House. Such a member or former member receives a refund of contributions plus interest but minus any retiring allowance paid to the member or former member, any entitlement of a former spouse and any court-ordered restitution. The Minister of Finance may also deduct any amounts owing to the Province. This Bill applies to convictions after the introduction of this Bill.
Status: Passed second reading, and is awaiting discussion in the Law Amendments Committee.

Bill No. 81 - Builders' Lien Act (amended) – Hon. Ross Landry
This Bill amends the Builders' Lien Act to: (a) provide for the retention, commencing 60 days after a contract is deemed to be substantially performed under the Builders’ Lien Act, of a finishing holdback of 10% of the work remaining to be done on the contract, rather than the existing holdback of 2.5% of the contract price; (b) provide for the certification that a subcontract is complete and provides that, where a subcontract is so certified, the owner of the property to which the subcontract relates may pay out the holdback in respect of the subcontract required under the Act if all liens in respect of the subcontract are expired or have been discharged or satisfied; and (c) authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting notice to be given of the substantial performance of any contract or the completion of any subcontract under which a lien may arise.
Status: Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee, which discussed this Bill on May 8th.

Bill No. 83 - Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) – Hon. John MacDonell
This Bill amends the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter to: (a) define and delineate a “Centre Plan Area” in the central area of the Halifax Regional Municipality on both sides of Halifax Harbour and define “affordable housing”; (b) permit incentive or bonus zoning under the land-use by-law or incentive or bonus zoning agreements in the Centre Plan Area; (c) authorize the HRM Council to include requirements in a land-use by-law that provides for incentive or bonus zoning in the central area of the Municipality , including the existing HRM by Design Downtown Plan Area; (d) require the inclusion of affordable housing as a contribution for incentive or bonus zoning for a development in the Centre Plan Area; (e) authorize the Council to accept money in lieu of contributions under an incentive or bonus zoning agreement for incentive or bonus zoning in the central area of the Municipality; and (f) authorize the Minister to make regulations respecting the nature and extent of affordable housing to be required by the land-use by-law or incentive or bonus zoning agreements in the Centre Plan Area and the enforcement of the affordable housing requirements , and public consultation prior to site-plan approvals in the Centre Plan Area.
Status: Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee, which discussed this Bill on May 8th.

PRIVATE MEMBER'S BILLS

Bill No. 79 - Government Advertising Act – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Lib)
The Bill proposes to restrict Government advertising that, in the opinion of the Office of the Auditor General, does not meet the standards required by this Bill. The Bill proposes to apply with respect to: (i) any advertisement that a government office proposes to pay to have published in a newspaper or magazine, displayed on a billboard or broadcast on radio or television; (ii) printed matter that a government office proposes to pay to have distributed to households in the Province either by bulk mail or by another method of bulk delivery; and (iii) such additional classes of messages that a government office proposes to convey to the public in such circumstances as may be prescribed. It does not apply with respect to a message that is a notice to the public that is required by law, that concerns an urgent matter affecting public health or safety, that is a job advertisement or that concerns the provision of goods or services to a government office. The head of the government office shall give a copy of the message to the Office of the Auditor General for review. Where an item is given to the Office of the Auditor General for review, the Office of the Auditor General shall review it to determine whether, in the opinion of the Office, it meets the standards required by this Act. The decision of the Office of the Auditor General is final. The following are the standards that an item is required to meet: (a) it must be a reasonable means of achieving one or more of the following purposes: (i) to inform the public of current or proposed Government policies, programs or services available to them, (ii) to inform the public of their rights and responsibilities under the law, (iii) to encourage or discourage specific social behaviour, in the public interest, (iv) to promote the Province or any part of the Province as a good place to live, work, invest, study or visit or to promote any economic activity or sector of the Province's economy; (b) it must include a statement that the item is paid for by the Government of the Province; (c) it must not include the name, voice or image of a member of the Executive Council or a member of the House of Assembly; (d) it must not be partisan; (e) it must not be a primary objective of the item to foster a positive impression of the governing party or a negative impression of a person or entity who is critical of the Government; and (f) it must meet such additional standards as may be prescribed.
Status: Passed first reading, and was debated in principle by the House on May 8th.

Bill No. 82 - Provincial Flag Act – Jim Boudreau (NDP)
This Bill provides that the flag, used continuously as the flag of Nova Scotia for centuries, and known as the "1625 Armorial Bearings", be confirmed as the official flag of Nova Scotia.
Status: Passed second reading, and was referred to the Law Amendments Committee, which discussed this Bill on May 8th.

Bill No. 85 - Fair Telecommunications Practices Act – Hon. Keith Colwell (Lib)
This Bill requires the Provincial Government to negotiate with the Federal Government to have the Federal Government enact legislation to prohibit a telecommunications company from charging for a paper bill, and prohibit the expiration of phone cards.
Status: Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS

Bill No. 84 - District of Barrington Health Professionals Assistance Act (amended) – Hon. Sterling Belliveau
This Bill amends the District of Barrington Health Professionals Assistance Act to provide authority for the Municipality of the District of Barrington to make a grant to, and enter into an agreement with, a person who is studying in Canada or elsewhere to become a health professional.
Status: Passed second reading, and is awaiting discussion in the Private and Local Bills Committee.

STATUS UPDATES

Status Update on Government Bills

  • Bill No. 3 – Support for Parents of Critically Ill or Abducted Children Act – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 32 - Solemnization of Marriage Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 36 - Provincial Court Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 37 – Innovative Transportation Act - Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 42 – Pension Benefits Act (amended) – Has been referred back to the House by the Law Amendments Committee, and is awaiting debate by the Committee of the Whole House.
  • Bill No. 51 – Financial Measures (2013) Act – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 54 – Widow's Pension Act– Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 55 – Protection of Animal Welfare and Security Act– Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 57 – Language Schools Act– Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • 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 third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 61 - Cyber-safety Act– Has been referred back to the House by the Law Amendments Committee, and is awaiting debate by the Committee of the Whole House.
  • Bill No. 62 - Protection for Persons in Care Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 66 – Mariner's Day Act - Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 67 - Elections Act (amended) - Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 69 - Statute Amendments (2013) Act – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 70 - Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Professionals Act – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 76 – Adult Protection Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 78 - Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 80 – Members' Retiring Allowances Act (amended) - Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 81 - Builders' Lien Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 83 – Halifax Regional Municipality Charter (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.


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.
  • Bill No. 63 - Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) - Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 64 – Maritime Link Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 65 – Maritime Link Act (amended) – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 68 - Firefighter Licence Plates Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 71 - House of Assembly Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 72 - House of Assembly Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 73 - House of Assembly Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 74 - House of Assembly Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 75 - House of Assembly Act (amended) – Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 77 – Thinker's Lodge Act – Passed first reading, and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 79 – Government Advertising Act – Passed first reading, and was debated in principle by the House on May 8th.
  • Bill No. 82 - Provincial Flag Act - Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 85 – Fair Telecommunications Practices Act – 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 third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 84 - District of Barrington Health Professionals Assistance Act (amended) - Passed third reading and is awaiting 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 Gavin MacDonald at (902) 491-4464 or
gmacdonald@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.