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Alberta to ban municipalities from setting their own health measures

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Albertans don’t need uncertainty and confusionPremier Jason Kenney said at a press conference in Red Deer on Tuesday.

The Government of Alberta will introduce amendments to the Municipalities Act in the Legislative Assembly to remove the ability of municipalities to impose their own public health restrictions. »

A quote from Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

The government on Tuesday lifted most of the remaining health restrictions related to COVID-19, including the requirement to wear a mask indoors.

The City of Calgary’s requirement was lifted at the same time as the province’s, but the mask-wearing bylaw remains in effect in Edmonton.

Edmonton City Council will hold a special meeting on March 8 to discuss the possibility of withdrawing the bylaw.

We are concerned that a mix of separate policies will create greater division and confusion and will be difficult to enforce without compelling public health rationale.Mr. Kenney said.

That’s why we decided to adopt a clear and consistent approach that all Albertans can easily understand and respect.

We certainly should not allow political science to substitute for the science of public health. »

A quote from Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

Abuse of authority

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi admitted his deep disappointment in the face of the Prime Minister’s announcement and is concerned about the ramifications of a change in the law.

This has profound implications, he insisted at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. This excess of power and abuse of authority […] go beyond the municipal mask by-law.

According to the mayor, the autonomy of the City can be affected for municipal by-laws surrounding smoking or traffic, for example.

Amarjeet Sohi is in consultation with the City’s legal team to find a way to oppose the Prime Minister’s decision.

The Association of Municipalities of Alberta (AMA) also shares the concerns of the capital. [Association des municipalités de l’Alberta] believes that the approach […] of the provincial government is authoritarian and unnecessary announces, by means of a press release, its president, Cathy Herron.

The idea of ​​changing the law for municipalities was never officially discussed with theAssociation of Municipalities of Albertashe added.

Law professor at the University of Alberta Eric Adams is surprised by Jason Kenney’s maneuver. According to him, the Alberta premier is going against the traditional tendency of conservative governments to support local decision-making.

That’s certainly how they feel about federal regulation versus provincial jurisdiction, he said. So it’s a bit curious in that regard.

We are seeing a rather remarkable moment of a Conservative government now saying that local government and diversity are bad.

A challenge to this amendment is possible if the cities can base their arguments on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, suggests the professor.

By taking away the power from cities to protect their citizens, are you effectively making cities less safe at the provincial level? This issue may receive some constitutional attention in the coming months.

Restrictions lifted on Tuesday

The province has also lifted nearly all remaining public health measures in Alberta and has begun Phase 2 of its reopening plan.

Academic requirements to remain in cohort as well as screening of youth for entertainment and sports activities are eliminated.

Capacity limits for entertainment venues, as well as indoor and outdoor gatherings, and a mandatory work-from-home mandate are measures that have all been removed.

Face coverings remain necessary in certain high-risk settings, including health service facilities, continuing care centers and public transportation.

We cannot live forever in fear and we are social beings. »

A quote from Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta

We are meant to meet, to see each other, to smile, to hug our family and friends, to rediscover the social life that we have so profoundly altered over the past two years, and that is precisely what this plan allows us to do.Mr. Kenney said.

We cannot and indeed must not continue to live in a state of emergency. It is not good for anyone to live in a state of prolonged stress and tensionhe added.

One of the few restrictions that remains in place is the requirement to self-isolate for those who have contracted COVID-19.

According to Jason Kenney, the province anticipates that in Phase 3 people will no longer be required to self-isolate if they have COVID-19. This step will also include the lifting of COVID-19 protocols in continuing care facilities.

The province is also looking at issues related to decreasing vaccine protection and the cost and inaccuracy of rapid antigen testing, Jason Kenney added.

We have workforce challenges, especially in care homes and some rural hospitals in under-vaccinated areasdid he declare.

There is no date scheduled for the entry into force of stage 3. The province says it is based on the number of hospitalizations.

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