The Government of Alberta announced Thursday their intentions to repeal Bill 10, the Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act.
The original Public Health Act was created in 1907, and the amendment was introduced in 2002 following 9/11.
Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright MLA, Garth Rowswell, said the concern at the time was that in an emergency situation that members may not be able to meet at the legislature, so the amendment allowed cabinet ministers to make changes without the approval of the legislature.
“Civil liberties people were concerned about bypassing the legislature and giving the minister too much power,” said Rowswell.
He was one of twelve members on the Select Special Public Health Act Review Committee.
The committee will accumulate all of their motions passed into a final report, to be submitted on October 24. As a final result, they plan to repeal Bill 10 during the spring session.
Alberta Minister of Health, Tyler Shandro, said that during COVID-19 despite the many unknowns faced by the province, that they were able to safely operate through the Legislative Assembly ensuring the continuance of vital public services.
Through the pandemic, they learned that if it was ever required they could even potentially meet outside the legislature building.
“There’s a balancing act between getting stuff done and stomping on civil liberties and the rights of individuals,” said Rowswell.
During any potential emergencies in the future, their intention is to have any changes to the health act put through the legislature.