Alberta bans municipalities from setting up their own health measures

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

The Alberta government will introduce amendments to the Municipal Code in the Legislative Assembly to remove the ability of municipalities to impose their own public health restrictions. »

Quote from Jason Kenny, Prime Minister of Alberta

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

The city of Calgary’s requirements have been lifted along with the county’s, but the bylaws for mask-wearing still apply in Edmonton.

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

We are concerned that a combination of separate policies will lead to further division and confusion and will be difficult to enforce without a compelling public health justification.Mr. Kenny said.

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

Certainly we must not allow political science to replace public health science. »

Quote from Jason Kenny, Prime Minister of Alberta

abuse of power

Edmonton Mayor Amarjit Sohee admitted it deep disappointment In the face of the Prime Minister’s announcement, he fears the repercussions of changing the law.

And he insisted at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon that this has profound repercussions. This is an overuse of power and an abuse of power […] Bypass the municipal regulation of the mask.

According to the mayor, the city’s autonomy can be affected in relation to municipal regulations regarding smoking or traffic, for example.

Amarjit Sohee is consulting with the city’s legal team to find a way to oppose the prime minister’s decision.

The Association of Alberta Municipalities (AMA) also shares the capital’s concerns. [Association des municipalités de l’Alberta] Thought this approach […] The county government is authoritarian and unnecessary It announces, through a press release, its president, Cathy Heron.

The idea of ​​changing the law on municipalities has not been formally discussed withFederation of Alberta Municipalitiesshe added.

Eric Adams, a law professor at the University of Alberta, was surprised by Jason Kenny’s maneuver. According to him, the premier of Alberta goes against the traditional tendency of conservative governments to support local decision-making.

That’s certainly how they feel about federal regulations versus territorial jurisdiction, he said. So it’s a bit strange in this respect.

We are witnessing a wonderful moment for a Conservative government now saying that local government and diversity are bad.

This amendment could be challenged if cities could base their arguments on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the professor suggests.

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

Restrictions were lifted on Tuesday

The province also lifted nearly all remaining public health measures in Alberta and began phase two of its reopening plan.

Academic requirements to remain in the cohort as well as screening of youth for recreation and sporting activities are abolished.

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

Face coverings remain essential in some high-risk settings, including health services facilities, continuing care centers and public transportation.

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

Quote from Jason Kenny, Prime Minister of Alberta

We’re meant to meet, see each other, smile, hug our family and friends, rediscover the social life we’ve changed so profoundly over the past two years, and that’s exactly what this plan allows us to do.Mr. Kenny said.

We cannot and should not continue to live in an emergency situation. It is not good for someone to live in a state of stress and tension for a long timehe added.

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

According to Jason Kenny, the county expects that in Phase 3 people will not be required to self-isolate if they have COVID-19. This move will also include the lifting of COVID-19 protocols in continuing care facilities.

The county is also looking into issues related to Reduce vaccine protection and the cost and inaccuracy of the rapid antigen test, Jason Kinney added.

We have workforce challenges, particularly in nursing homes and some rural hospitals in unvaccinated areasdid he say.

There is no specific date for the entry into force of the third phase. The county says it depends on the number of hospitalized cases.

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