Alberta Minute: AHS Reform, Streamlined Trials, and a City Council Dismissed
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature is on a short break this week, and there are no Committee meetings either. Proceedings will resume on November 20th.
Mary Moreau will begin her term on the country’s highest court. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Justice Moreau’s appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada to replace Justice Russell Brown. Moreau was the Chief Justice of the Court of the Kings Bench in Alberta for 29 years, prior to that, she practised law in her native Edmonton, handling civil, criminal and constitutional cases.
- Engineers Canada is upset about a recent proposal to change who can use the job title of “engineer”. Proposed changes to Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act would allow technology companies and workers to use the title “software engineer”. The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) wanted the title to remain for only those with an engineering degree and a license from the Association. The term software engineer is common throughout the rest of the world, so this seems like a sensible change.
Last Week In Alberta:
- The Province announced their long-awaited reforms to Alberta Health Services. AHS will become four agencies under one health care system. The four agencies include Primary Care, which aims to ensure every Albertan has access to a family doctor; Acute Care, tasked with reducing wait times and improving care quality; Continuing Care, overseeing care providers and enhancing equitable access to services; and Mental Health, responsible for in-patient and outpatient care with a focus on recovery-oriented supports and expanded access to treatment. Beginning in early December, there will be town halls and engagement efforts with Albertans to facilitate the transition.
The Alberta government announced plans to dismiss all members of Chestermere City Council and its senior administration team. The dismissal is based on the City's lack of compliance with Provincial directives following a scathing municipal inspection in May 2022. The report following that inspection was 215 pages long and painted a picture of a “chaotic local government, rife with overreach by elected officials.” Some of the bizarre issues include the City having three Chief Administrative Officers, there being multiple attempts to refund a landowner $110,000 in property taxes, and the purchase of two motorcycles and a trolley that didn’t follow the proper procurement process. The City is planning to contest the dismissals.
- Alberta introduced a new streamlined trial process by amending the Alberta Rules of Court regulation, aiming to address long wait times and expenses associated with trials. Developed based on recommendations from the Alberta Rules of Court Committee, the streamlined trials will simplify civil or family cases where resolution can be achieved without traditional lengthy trials. The process relies on written evidence rather than oral evidence, with both parties jointly responsible for preparing materials for the court. The initiative, set to take effect on January 1st, 2024, is intended to make the justice system more affordable and accessible for Albertans.
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