October 23, 2009

NS Legislative Report, Fall Sitting - Update October 23

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Following the change of government this past June, the 61st General Assembly of the Nova Scotia legislature began on Friday, September 17 with a speech from the throne. As of October 23, 28 government bills, 19 private member's bills, and two local bills have been introduced during this sitting of the House of Assembly.

Below is a summary of the bills introduced between October 16-23 along with a status update on those bills introduced since the beginning of the 61st General Assembly as of October 23.

Government Bills

Bill No. 42 – Appropriations Act, 2009 
The Lieutenant Governor is granted sums of money for the purposes of defraying charges and expenses of the public service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2010.  The Bill also authorizes the Governor in Council and the Minister of Finance to borrow or raise the sum of Two Billion Dollars for the public service by way of loan on the credit of the Province.   Status: Passed third reading  and is awaiting Royal Assent.

Bill No. 44 – Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act (amended)
The Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act is amended to prohibit public donations by corporations, to the extent that only individuals can make political donations.  Further, the use of funds or assets held in trust for a recognized party before July 11, 1991 for political purposes is prohibited. Status:  Passed third reading and is awaiting Royal Assent.

Bill No. 47 – Dieticians Act
A Nova Scotia College of Dieticians and Nutritionists is proposed which will regulate the profession of dietetics through the registration, licensing and disciplining of members, as well as establishing and maintaining professional standards of practice and developing a Code of Conduct for members. The Bill sets out the College’s powers, the registration and licensing process, and the disciplinary process.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 48 – Pension Benefits Act (amended)
A pension plan can provide for phased retirement by members by permitting payments of up to 60% of accrued pensions to be paid to eligible members without the members’ retiring. It is not contingent on a reduction in their work hours. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 49 – Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act
An Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation is proposed whose objectives would be to design and administer electricity demand management programs as well as engage in energy and efficiency programs in an effort to reduce future demand of electricity. A fund is also proposed to help defray the cost of electricity demand-side management programs. NSPI and the Corporation would work together to transfer existing management programs and funding. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Private Member's Bills

Bill No. 41 – Multi-Year Funding Act - Hon. Manning MacDonald (LIB)
The Nova Scotia Volunteer Advisory Council is proposed, whose purpose is to develop a multi-year funding framework for designated non-profit organizations funded by the Province.  By the end of 2010, after consultation with designated parties, the working group shall have developed the qualifications for receipt of funding, a funding application process, service agreement templates, and an approval process for the designation of non-profit organizations. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 46 – Employment Support and Income Assistance Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (LIB)
The Employment Support and Income Assistance Act is amended to restrict the Minister from considering the caregiver allowance as chargeable income or as other income, assets or resources when determining the eligibility of a person for assistance or the level of assistance for that person under the Act.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Local Bills

Bill No. 43 –Tidal View Manor Act (amended) –Hon. Richard Hurlburt (PC)
Tidal View Manor's municipal tax exemption is clarified to be limited to its property at 64 Vancouver Street, Yarmouth.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 45 –Canning Library and Heritage Centre Association Act – Jim Morton (NDP)
An exemption is proposed for lands acquired in Canning for the purpose of establishing and operating a library and Heritage Centre.  The exemption would allow the Village of Canning to transfer the lands without the Association paying the market value for the lands.  Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Government Bills

  • Bill No. 1 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 2 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 4  Engineering Profession Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 5 Halifax Regional Municipality Charter Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 6 HRM by Design, An Act to Implement (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 7 Trade Union Act (amended) Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 9 Assessment Act (amended) and Municipal Grants Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 10 Personal Property Security Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 14 Judicature Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 15 Beneficiaries Designation Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 16 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 17 Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 20 Internal Trade Agreement Implementation Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 24 Pipeline  Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 25 Motor Vehicle  Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 27 Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 28 Education Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 29 Financial Measures (2009) Act - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 30 Public Trustee Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 34 Emergency Management Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 38 Condominium Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 39 Uranium Exploration and Mining Prohibition Act  Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 40 Labour Standards Code (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 42 Appropriations Act, 2009 - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 44 Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 47 Dietitians Act - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 48 Pension Benefits Act (amended) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 49 Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Status Update on Private Member's Bills

  • Bill No. 3 Health Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 8 Provincial Finance Act  (amended) – Leo Glavine (Kings West) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 11 Provincial Finance Act (amended) – Leo Glavine (Kings West) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 12 Elections Act (amended) – Chuck Porter (Hants West) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 13 Sales Tax Act (amended) – Harold Theriault Jr. (Digby-Annapolis) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 18 Diabetic Persons Support Act – Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 19 Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act – Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House. 
  • Bill No. 21 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 22 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) – Chuck Porter (Hants West) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 23 Employment Support and Income Assistance Act (amended) – Chuck Porter (Hants West) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 26 Advisory Council on Mental Health Act – Diana Whalen – (Halifax Clayton Park) - Passed 1st reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 31 Uranium Mining Prohibition Act – Chuck Porter (Hants West) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 32 Education Act (amended) – Kelly Regan (Bedford-Birch Cove) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 33 Public Service Act (amended) – Alfie MacLeod (Cape Breton West) - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading.
  • Bill No. 35 Elections Act (amended) – Hon. Murray K. Scott  (Cumberland South) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 36 Public Service Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 37 Maintenance and Custody Act (amended) – Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 41 Multi-Year Funding Act – Hon. Manning MacDonald (Cape Breton South) - Passed 1st reading; debate was adjourned on 2nd reading.
  • Bill No. 46 Employment Support and Income Assistance Act (amended) – Hon. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis) - Passed 1st reading; 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 Member's 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 Member's 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 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.