Province working to bring certainty on public health orders 

Province working to bring certainty on public health orders pic 1
The province is working to ensure there is more certainty around public health rules in municipalities. Photo/Metro

The province is working to ensure all municipalities are on the same page on implementing COVID public health rules.

Certainty around public health rules is coming to the province, as the government introduced changes to the Municipal Government Act (MGA) COVID health policy.

Bill 4, or the Face Mask and Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Bylaws Amendment Act proposes changes to the MGA that is focused on public health requirements related to the pandemic, a government media release said.

The changes include any municipal bylaws requiring masks will need to be approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs in consultation with the chief medical officer of health.

“We recognize the importance of local autonomy. That’s why the proposed changes will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of Alberta municipalities. As we move together toward a path to normal, Alberta needs one clear public health policy. The best way to do this is to make sure the rules are clear, specific and the same for all Albertans,” Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver said.

The amendments are expected to limit the ability of local governments to pass bylaws that contradict public health policies enacted by the province, the release said.

“The proposed changes would prevent local governments from imposing masking or proof of COVID-19 vaccination bylaws on private sector operators such as grocery stores and retail businesses,” the release said. 

Municipalities that are already in compliance with COVID public health requirements will not be impacted by the changes. Local governments will continue to implement masking or proof of vaccination bylaws to municipal facilities including recreation centres, public transit, and municipal buildings.

The existing municipal bylaws will no longer be in effect when the legislation comes into force, the release said.

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