Justice and Public Safety
December 6, 2018
Fall Legislative Session Focused on Health, Safety, Labour and a Healthy Work Environment
The legislation brought forward in the fall session of the House of Assembly continues our government’s efforts towards improving the health and safety of our provinces citizens, with a specific focus on employees in Newfoundland and Labrador.
In total, 19 pieces of legislation have been passed in the House of Assembly in fall 2018. A link to a complete list of the legislation passed this year can be found below.
Examples of important legislation this session include:
- Recognizing the need to provide civil remedies to those who have had private and sensitive intimate images shared without their consent, the new Act Respecting the Protection of Intimate Images establishes a means for individuals to pursue the matter in civil court. A lawsuit may result in an order for the payment of damages, the payment of any profits made from the distribution, removal of the intimate image from the internet and other orders the court considers appropriate to stop further victimization.
- Strengthening the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Act provides presumptive coverage for work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for all workers covered under the Act. The changes, which come into effect as of July 1, 2019, mean that a worker who experiences a traumatic event or multiple events at work will be presumed to have developed their diagnosed PTSD as a result of their work.
- Addressing pension reform gives teachers access to an adequate pension fund upon retirement. The introduction of a new Teachers’ Pension Act, 2018, represents the final legislative step toward completing the pension reform process.
- To encourage the hiring of international students, immigrants and permanent residents, amendments to the Private Investigation and Security Services Act, removes the requirement that anyone employed as a security guard or an agent (private investigator, armoured vehicle guard, security consultant or burglar alarm agent) must be a Canadian citizen. This change will allow those legally entitled to work in Canada to gain employment, helping grow our provincial workforce and make Newfoundland and Labrador their home.
- Lessening the tax burden on Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, amendments to the Revenue Administration Act reduce the retail sales tax (RST) on insurance by five per cent over four years.
- Supporting families through amendments to the Labour Standards Act to enhance protections for workers by introducing Family Violence Leave. The amendments strike a balance between the needs of workers and employers by providing up to three days of paid leave and up to an additional seven days of job-protected leave for individuals who experience family violence.
- Continuing to ensure our roads are safe, amendments to the Highway Traffic Act introduce a one-metre rule that requires motorists to leave open space between the vehicle and bicycle or pedestrian on roadways with posted speed limits of 60 kilometres per hour or less. The penalty for violations range between $100-$400, or two-14 days imprisonment, as well as two demerit points.
- To support the health and well-being of people of Newfoundland and Labrador, a new Act Respecting the Protection and Promotion of Public Health helps the public health workforce in this province respond quickly to emerging challenges. This legislation is among the best in the country and makes this province only the second in Canada to include a Health-in-All-Policies approach in public health legislation, putting us at the forefront of public health innovation.
- A Made-In-Newfoundland and Labrador carbon pricing system will result in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Provincial Government amended the Management of Greenhouse Gas Act, the Revenue Administration Act, and the Atlantic Accord Implementation Act to create a carbon pricing system that reflects the province’s efforts to produce green, renewable energy while minimizing the impact on residents and maintaining the province’s economic competitiveness.
- Providing a safe and reliable ambulance service, an Act Respecting the Provisions of Emergency Health and Paramedicine Services, is the first dedicated piece of legislation for the emergency health and paramedicine sector. It improves oversight and accountability by establishing performance standards, defining the role of inspectors, and improving reporting and patient safety processes.
- Enhancing transparency and accountability, amendments to the Housing Corporation Act make the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation more responsive to current day professional, financial and operational demands by separating the duties of the Chair and CEO. Changes include implementation of three-year terms for members of the board of directors, with an option for an additional three-year term; and modernizing language in the Act respecting persons with disabilities.
- Reducing red tape, changes to the Forestry Act authorize the Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources to calculate and set the annual tax rate and fair market value of productive forested land without the need for annual approval by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, providing more efficient and timely management.
- To make the property assessment process work better for property owners, amendments were made to the Assessment Act, 2006. The cycle and timing of assessment processes have been updated, the Special Purpose Property Regulations have been repealed, and the period during which taxpayers can appeal their assessments has been extended.
These legislative changes support commitments in The Way Forward to strengthen the province’s economic foundation and deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca.Quote
“As the fall session of the House of Assembly comes to a close, I would like to thank and acknowledge all of those who play a role in developing the policies and legislation that gets presented each session. It’s the people of the province who help guide and inform the decisions of this government. By working together we’ll create a Newfoundland and Labrador that is healthy and safe, and provides opportunities to everyone who calls this province home.”
Honourable Andrew Parsons
Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General
Government House Leader
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The complete list of legislation passed in the House of Assembly is available at assembly.nl.ca/HouseBusiness/Bills/ga48session3/
Justice and Public Safety
2018 12 06 11:25 a.m.