Alberta Minute: Nurse Practitioners, Legislature Prorogation, and School Mask Mandates
Alberta Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Alberta politics.
This Week In Alberta:
The Legislature will not resume this week as originally planned. Speaker of the House, Nathan Cooper, received notice of Prorogation from the government, which ends the current session of the Legislature. The House will return to a new session, beginning with a Throne Speech, on November 29th at 3:00 pm.
Newly released data indicates that Albertans are experiencing the highest rates of food insecurity in Canada. More than 155,000 Albertans visited a food bank in March, a 73% increase in usage since 2019, and more than double the national rate. While we don’t have all the answers, destructive taxes that impact our food supply (ie. the carbon tax) are not helping.
- Land transfer delays are ongoing and have now reached a four-month backlog. As property tax time approaches, this will create a significant headache as supplemental assessments and tax notices will be sent to the owners on file instead of to the new buyers. Last summer, Service Alberta said it had a plan in place to reduce delays. So far, this has not happened.
Last Week In Alberta:
The Alberta Court of King's Bench sided with the Alberta Federation of Labour and a small group of parents in a dispute over mask mandates in schools. The Court found the Alberta government's decision to block school boards from imposing their own mask mandates unreasonable, given the current law. Premier Danielle Smith said, after the decision, that no further mask mandates will be allowed in schools and that she has directed Justice Minister Tyler Shandro to assess whether law changes might be needed.
- Nurse practitioners have called on the Province to make the bureaucratic changes necessary to allow them to address pressures on the health care system. About 800 Nurse Practitioners - registered nurses with graduate degrees who can diagnose, prescribe medication, order tests, and so on - are working in Alberta and their association wants the government to expand their scope of practice and allow them to run their own clinics. While they are allowed to work independently, they are not currently able to bill the government for their services directly.
- The Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association has ratified a new deal with the Province after threatening to strike. While few specifics are available, the deal provides mental health supports, manageable workloads, and competitive compensation that allows for market adjustments. No movement has been made yet on the agreement with Legal Aid attorneys.
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