Red tape reduction bill proposes slew of changes to 6 ministries

The Alberta government introduced a bill Monday designed to cut down on red tape and streamline approvals, but officials couldn’t say how much money would be saved.

Bill 25, the Red Tape Reduction Act, was introduced by Grant Hunter, associate minister of red tape.

The bill affects 11 pieces of legislation over six ministries. Its intention is to speed up regulatory approvals, remove administrative provisions and streamline or modernize some legislation.

Reporters at a technical briefing were told a cost-savings estimate was not conducted but some financial impact would be expected over time.

The government plans to bring in other pieces of legislation also directed at cutting red tape.

Two sections of the bill expand the power of ministers to make independent decisions.

The minister of agriculture and forestry would be given approval authority for entering into forest management agreements. Currently, such agreements between forestry companies and the government require cabinet approval, which can take five to six months.

Three board positions with the MSI Foundation, which supports research into health and services, would no longer require approval from the lieutenant-governor. Instead, the board members would be appointed by the health minister.

The board would also be allowed to select its own chair in place of having one appointed by the lieutenant-governor. It could also change its bylaws without the need for approval from the lieutenant-governor.

The bill also proposes several changes to the Municipal Government Act aimed at streamlining administration. These include allowing electronic notices rather than paper ones if citizens opt in, and removing a requirement for a ministerial order to correct errors in tax rates.

Another amendment would make consent for organ donation a one-stop shop online, no longer requiring a signed printed copy.

Many sections of Bill 25 address redundant regulations or defunct legislation.

The energy portfolio would see the repeal of the Small Power Research and Development Act, which includes the Small Scale Generation Regulation. Officials at the technical briefing said the legislation was developed in the 1980s as a seed for wind power, which is now market-sustainable.

Provisions in the Hydro and Electric Energy Act dating back to 1972 would be removed to allow for small-scale hydroelectric development.

A provision in the Safety Codes Act restricting wood buildings to six storeys would be repealed. This would have no immediate effect as federal building and fire codes already limit the height of wood buildings to six storeys, but an update to federal rules next year is expected to increase the height restriction to 12 storeys.

The Alberta Health Care Insurance Act would remove references to “chiropractic services” under “basic health services” as those services haven’t been covered in a decade.

The Health Professions Advisory Board, which hasn’t been used since 2012, would be dissolved. The move was recommended by the Public Agency Secretariat in a review of agencies, boards and commissions.

The Persons with Developmental Disabilities Foundation Act would be repealed. The organization has not existed since 2002. Officials said that would have no impact on services for persons with developmental disabilities.

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