A new bill was introduced March 31 and passed April 2 allowing any current Alberta minister to create and implement orders and order amendments without consultation, among other things.
Bill 10, named the Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, was sponsored by Minister of Health Tyler Shandro.
It came into effect on April 2 and does not contain any sunset clauses or provisions, meaning that this power remains in the hands of the government as long as a public health emergency is declared.
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One of the additions included in the bill is the assistance of a police officer. The section reads, “An executive officer making an inspection who enters in or on a public place or private place under section 59 or 60 may be accompanied by
(a) a police officer whose presence is required by the executive officer for the purposes of assisting with the inspection,
or (b) a qualified expert or professional whose presence is required by the executive officer for the purposes of inspecting and taking samples under section 59(2)(d) or 60(c) or performing tests, taking photographs or making recordings under section 59(2)(e) or 60(d).”
This essentially means that any executive officer could have police backup when inspecting a public or private property that they believe may not be in compliance with the public health emergency provisions, or that they believe may be a “nuisance,” a term that is undefined in the original Public Health Act.
The new bill also allows a minister to declare that peace officers have jurisdiction in any part of Alberta that is under a state of public health emergency, without consultation.
Among the things, this bill does not allow ministers to do is issue orders or amendments that impose or increase any tax or impost, appropriate any part of the public revenue or any tax or impost, or create a new offence with retroactive effect.
This is good news, as this prevents embezzling, tax jumps, and new punishable offences that go back to any date.
For more information, Bill 10 can be found here.
The Public Health Act, which is the subject of these amendments, can be found here.