Justice and Public Safety
December 8, 2017
Legislative Session Supports the Health and Safety of Residents
The legislation brought forward in the fall session of the House of Assembly supports the health and safety of the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, strengthens transparency and accountability, and also encourages business development in the province.
Combined, 17 pieces of legislation were passed in the House of Assembly in fall 2017. A link to a complete list of the legislation passed this session can be found at www.assembly.nl.ca/business/bills/ga48session2.htm.
Examples of important legislative initiatives that were advanced this session include:
- Strengthening transparency and accountability in the justice system by introducing Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new legislation calls for a team that will investigate all matters involving death, serious injury, sexual offence, and domestic violence involving the police, as well as other matters of significant public interest that involve police.
- Ensuring our roads and highways are safe by strengthening impaired driving laws with stronger regulations and more significant penalties. As well, increased fines and penalties for offences related to excessive speeding, street racing and driving with undue care and attention resulting in death or bodily harm will help protect the people of the province.
- Providing the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) authority to act as a regulator, distributor and retailer for cannabis through the Liquor Corporation Act. These amendments allow government to proceed with the considerable work required to establish a retail and distribution model for cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador by the federally imposed July 2018 deadline.
- Recognizing the need for equality and respect for the diversity of all people by supporting individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions, through the provision of non-binary birth certificates. Through legislative and policy changes, individuals may now change the sex designation on their birth certificate from female or male to non-binary (for those 16 years of age and older) without providing a note from a medical professional.
- Addressing the inappropriate dispensing of at-risk drugs, such as opioids through the Prescription Monitoring Program, which is a crucial component needed to address prescription drug abuse and inappropriate prescribing. The program will be designed to detect questionable prescribing or dispensing patterns, and includes reporting mechanisms to address potential issues of abuse.
- Recognizing the important role artists play in contributing to the cultural, social, and economic well-being of the province through the Status of the Artist Act. Through the act, the Provincial Government encourages everyone, with government departments and agencies leading by example, to pay artists fairly and equitably based on existing industry pay scales for their genre.
- Continuing to build a revitalized child protection system that is responsive to the priority needs of our children and youth by amending the Child and Youth Advocate Act. Through a collaborative approach with the Child and Youth Advocate, the act provides the legislative authority for the reporting of critical injuries and child deaths which will enable the office to complete the work it is mandated to do.
“As the legislative session comes to a close, I would like to thank all those that contribute to the process, including the public service employees, my colleagues and the resident of Newfoundland and Labrador who guide the legislation decisions of our government. This session has seen a number of pieces of important legislation that build on our government’s mandate for sustainable growth and a safer, stronger province.”
Honourable Andrew Parsons
Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General and Government House Leader
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Legislation passed in the House of Assembly - www.assembly.nl.ca/business/bills/ga48session2.htm.
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Justice and Public Safety
2017 12 08 10:45 a.m.