October 30, 2009

NS Legislative Report, Fall Sitting - Update October 30

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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 30, 31 government bills, 24 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 23-30 along with a status update on those bills introduced since the beginning of the 61st General Assembly as of October 30.

Government Bills

Bill No. 50 – Wilderness Areas Protection Act (amended)
The amended Bill gives the Minister the authority to designate three roads, specifically the Phillip River Road, Queensport Road, and The Bypass Trail, for vehicle use. It also removes the Minister’s discretion to license individuals to use vehicles to access wilderness recreation, sport fishing, hunting or trapping in wilderness areas. The Bill permits the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to authorize seal hunts on Hay Island in Scatarie Island Wilderness area. The proposed amendments would limit the use of vehicles to access a campsite lease or license to situations where a vehicle is required for the maintenance or removal of a campsite or structure. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 52 – Emergency Services Accountability Act – Hon. Maureen MacDonald (Minister of Health)
This Bill provides that the district health authority shall consult with the community to find ways to keep open, re-open, or provide alternative care health services to the affected communities. Furthermore, the Bill requires that the district health authority notify the Minister of Health of any potential closure of health care facilities, and to notify the Minister, in a reasonable time, of any consultations made pursuant to this Act, and the proposed actions the district health authority intends to take. The Minister is obligated to report to the House of Assembly regarding the date and reason for emergency room closures, the outcome of their consultations with the district health authorities, and the actions to be taken by the district health authorities as a result of their consultations with the Minister. Status: Passed first reading and was adjourned on 2nd reading.

Bill No. 54 – Executive Council Act (amended) and Public Service Act (amended)
This Bill deals with housekeeping issues regarding title changes and references to the amended titles. The substantive change to the Executive Council Act is that it grants the Governor in Council the authority to appoint members of the House of Assembly to be ministerial assistants. Substantive amendments to the Public Service Act relate to the establishment of and the duties of Treasury Board, the Policy and Priorities Committee, the Treasury Board Office, the Office of Policy and Priorities and the Chief Information Office. Finally, the Public Service Act is amended to revise the provisions respecting the appointment of deputy ministers and assistant deputies. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Private Member's Bills
Bill No. 51 – Sydney Casino Profits Distribution Act – H. David Wilson (LIB)
The Sydney Casino Profits Distribution Act creates an eight-person Board, referred to as the Sydney Casino Profits Distribution Board, charged with the task of overseeing, administering, and distributing 50% of the casino’s yearly profits to charities. The Minister of Finance will place an amount equal to 50% of the profits in a special reserve fund, and the Board will have the authority to distribute the funds to the charities on an annual basis. Four Board members will be appointed to two-year terms, while the remaining members will be appointed to three-year terms, with one of the eight members being chosen to serve as Chair of the Board. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 53 – Electricity Act (amended) – Andrew Younger (LIB)
This Bill permits renewable energy providers to sell energy directly to customers. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 55 –Green Energy Promotion Act – Andrew Younger (LIB)
This Bill calls for a review of Manitoba’s Green Energy Equipment Tax Credit so that Nova Scotia may consider its implementation. The Manitoba Act provides tax credits for the use of geothermal heat pumps, and for solar energy thermal systems. The Bill also calls for a review of the costs and cost effectiveness of implementing a Green Energy Tax System. The Bill proposes that the Minister of Energy shall table a report, which details the findings, in the House of Assembly no later than January 31, 1020. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 56 – Public Utilities Act – Andrew Younger (LIB)
This Bill exempts public utilities that produce or provide thermal or geothermal energy to ten or fewer customers from regulatory oversight by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. Status: Passed first reading and is awaiting debate in principle by the House.

Bill No. 57 –Income Tax Act – Harold Theriault Jr. (LIB)
This Bill implements a senior independent living tax credit for costs associated with the installation and maintenance of a life or medical alert system. 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 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 2 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 4 Engineering Profession Act (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • 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 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • 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 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 10 Personal Property Security Act (amended) Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • 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 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 16 Motor Vehicle Act (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • 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 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 25 Motor Vehicle  Act (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 27 Occupational Health and Safety Act (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 28 Education Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • 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 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • Bill No. 38 Condominium Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 39 Uranium Exploration and Mining Prohibition Act - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 40 Labour Standards Code (amended) - Passed 3rd reading; is awaiting Royal Assent.
  • 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 Dieticians Act - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 48 Pension Benefits Act (amended) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.
  • Bill No. 49 Efficiency Nova Scotia Corporation Act - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

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.

Status Update on Local Bills

  • Bill No. 43 Tidal View Manor in the Town of Yarmouth from Taxation, An Act to Amend Chapter 94 of the Acts of 1971, An Act to Exempt – Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth) - Passed 1st reading; is awaiting debate in principle by the House.
  • Bill No. 45 Canning Library and Heritage Centre Association, An Act to Enable the Village of Canning to Transfer Certain Lands to the – Jim Morton (Kings North) - Passed 2nd reading and has been referred to the Law Amendments Committee.

The Progress of Bills in the Nova Scotia LegislatureThe 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.