Alberta State of Emergency Lifted

In Alberta, the public health emergency declared under the Public Health Act, RSA 2000, c. P-37, (the “Act”) by Order in Council 80/2020 (the “Declaration of Emergency”) lapsed on June 15, 2020.

This means that orders enabled by the Declaration of Emergency will soon lapse. Pursuant to section 52.811(1) of the Act., orders enabled by the Declaration of Emergency will lapse the earliest of:

  1. 60 days after the end of the declared public health emergency;
  2. when the particular order is terminated by the Minister who made it; or
  3. when the order is terminated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Many of the orders that were enacted in response to COVID-19 pursuant to the Declaration of Emergency will expire by mid-August at the latest, unless they are otherwise extended by the legislature.

Some of these orders will be extended by the legislature through the instruction of Bill 24, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statues Amendment Act, including orders:

  • extending certain state of emergency powers of the Minister of Health under the Act;
  • extending the ability of witnesses to remotely execute certain types of documents including wills and care agreements;
  • extending the unpaid job protection which enables employees to take a leave of absence to care for a child due to child care constraints, or for an ill or self-isolating family member until August 2021;
  • extending Ministerial Order 2020-26, which prohibits certain staff members to only work a one care facility at a time until August 2022; and
  • increasing the maximum time for temporary layoffs under the Employment Standards Code, RSA 2000, c. E-9, from 60 days to 180 days.

Bill 24 also creates a new regulatory-making authority to support and empower the Chief Medical Officer. Further, under Bill 24, all of the current public health orders that have been enacted by the Chief Medical Officer of Health will remain in force until rescinded by her.

The Legislature must review any amendments made pursuant to Bill 24 by no later than August 1, 2020 to determine if they continue to be necessary. Bill 24 passed its first reading on June 18, 2020 and is not yet in force.