Alberta’s government has wrapped up a marathon session that saw 34 bills passed to make life better, diversify our economy and get Albertans back to work.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented economic collapse faced this year disrupted the normal legislative session, but Alberta’s government was still able to deliver on 93 more platform commitments while taking concrete measures to save lives and livelihoods. This means Alberta’s government has already kept or is well underway on 255 of 375 promises to Albertans. That’s 68 per cent of platform commitments made despite being only 31 per cent of the way through the four-year mandate.
“This year has been unlike anything our province has seen in more than a century. That’s why I’m so proud that when politicians across the country were at home, Alberta’s government was at work, delivering for Albertans. As Albertans work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, our government is working to get our economy back on track with Alberta’s Recovery Plan.”Jason Kenney, Premier
“The legislation passed this spring will help create jobs and get Albertans back to work. I’m also especially proud of the work we’ve done to protect our most vulnerable, including victims of human trafficking, sexual assault and other victims of crime.”Jason Nixon, Government House Leader
During the spring sitting, Alberta’s government passed 34 bills, keeping platform promises while taking action to protect the health and well-being of Albertans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To confront the unprecedented economic challenges and stimulate economic growth in the province, the government also took action by introducing the largest-ever infrastructure program in Alberta’s history as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
Alberta’s MLAs returned to the chamber earlier than any other sitting jurisdiction in Canada to do their jobs and make life better for Albertans.
Spring legislation highlights
Bill 8, the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, protects vulnerable Albertans at risk of being trafficked, strengthens survivors' ability to escape physically, emotionally and financially damaging abuse, and is a key part of government’s comprehensive action plan to fight the scourge of human trafficking.
Bill 13, the Emergency Management Amendment Act (2), further refined the authority granted to local governments to manage emergency public health measures during the pandemic.
Bill 15, the Choice in Education Act, expands the range of options available for parents and students to choose the schooling that works best for them – from charters to independents to home schooling to traditional Catholic and public schools.
Bill 16, the Victims of Crime (Strengthening Public Safety) Amendment Act, preserves support for victims of crime while expanding the capacity of Alberta’s legal system to deter crime and prevent victimization.
Bill 22, the Red Tape Reduction Implementation Act, will reduce and speed-up the regulatory process throughout government, encouraging investment, increasing Alberta’s competitiveness, and helping our economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.
Bill 26, the Constitutional Referendum Amendment Act, sets out the rules governing provincewide votes on a number of issues.
Bill 28, the Vital Statistics (Protecting Albertans from Convicted Sex Offenders) Amendment Act, prevents convicted sex offenders from changing their names, limiting their ability to reoffend.
Bill 31, the Environmental Protection Statutes Amendment Act, provides clarity and consistency for job creators in the sand and gravel industry while still maintaining stringent environmental protection regulations.
Bill 32, the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, supports our economic recovery by providing employees and employers with clearer and more transparent rules promoting fairness and productivity.
Bill 33, the Alberta Investment Attraction Act, also supports our economic recovery by enabling the creation of an arms-length corporation to attract job-creating private sector investment and promote Alberta as a prime investment location for businesses from across Canada and around the world.
Motions passed in the chamber include:
Government Motion 7, which called on the members of the legislative assembly to reject attempts by radical groups to block critical infrastructure in the province.
Government Motion 20, which called on MLAs to stand against the federal government’s gun grab.
Government Motion 24, which asked MLAs to condemn racism and bigotry in Alberta.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan
Albertans are facing one of the most challenging times in our history, hit by the triple threat of the largest public health crisis in a century, the biggest global economic contraction in almost a century and an unprecedented collapse in energy prices.
The province came together to save lives and avoid large-scale shutdowns at the height of the pandemic – but the fight is not over. Just as Albertans must continue to remain vigilant and cautious, government will continue to work towards strengthening our recovery with Alberta’s Recovery Plan.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefitting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
Government has already announced more than $10 billion in infrastructure spending as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, creating more than 50,000 jobs. This includes:
- $6.9 billion Budget 2020 capital spending
- $980 million accelerated for Capital Maintenance and Renewal
- $200 million for Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program and water infrastructure projects
- $600 million in strategic infrastructure projects
- $500 million in municipal infrastructure
- $1.5 billion for Keystone XL
Other actions taken under the Alberta Recovery Plan to strengthen the economy include:
- Accelerating the Job Creation Tax Cut (the lowest corporate tax in Canada) to ensure Alberta remains the best place for employer investment in Canada.
- Introducing the Innovation Employment Grant, a refundable tax credit targeted at smaller companies to encourage technology and investment in Alberta.
- Investing almost $28 million to create jobs and spur investment in the agriculture and agri-food industries.
- Helping connect unemployed Albertans with job creators and asking the federal government to remove most occupational categories under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for Alberta.
- Launching the Invest Alberta Corporation to boost investment attraction efforts in key markets such as energy, agriculture, tourism, technology, aviation, aerospace and financial services with major partners around the globe.
Protecting Alberta from COVID-19
Some highlights of the actions government took to protect Alberta families and communities include:
- Injecting more than half a billion dollars in the health-care system to ensure it can handle the demands presented by the pandemic.
- Passing a slate of legislation related to vital areas such as emergency management and deferrals on utility bills, education property taxes, student loans and government fees to protect the health and livelihoods of those affected by COVID-19.
- Achieving one of the highest per capita testing for COVID-19 in the world.
- Purchasing record amounts of personal protective equipment for health-care providers.
- Distributing 40 million free masks to Albertans throughout the province with the public mask program.
- Providing $53 million for additional mental health supports to help Albertans suffering from the mental and emotional impacts of the virus.
- Protecting laid-off workers with supports such as emergency isolation payments, banning rental evictions, deferring student loan payments and providing funding for caregivers of those who fell ill.
- Offering up to $200 million in small business relaunch grants for those who had to close.
- Deferring Workers’ Compensation Board premiums for private sector businesses to reduce the fiscal burden on job creators and ensure the sustainability of the compensation system for injured workers.
- Supporting families with $21 million for school nutrition programs, caregivers, food banks, donations and community initiatives.
- Protecting vulnerable seniors with $170 million for staffing and health-care aide wage increases.
- Enhancing manual contact tracing and early detection with the ABTraceTogether app to help alert Albertans more quickly if they are at risk.
- Launching the Alberta Biz Connect web page to help businesses meet public health and safety guidelines in general workplaces and specific industry sectors.