Alberta passes new health legislation – MLA

Principles to guide the health system, as well as a commitment to a public input process, and requirements to establish a health charter and a health advocate, are important features of Bill 17 – the Alberta Health Act 2010, which was passed by the Legislative Assembly on Nov. 30.

The Alberta Health Act will require the minister of health and wellness to establish:

• a health charter that sets out expectations and responsibilities within the health system;

• a health advocate to address citizen concerns with the health system as they relate to the health charter; and

• a process to provide for public input in the development of health regulations made under the Act.

Work will now begin on establishing a health advocate and validating a health charter which will include public input.

The Legislative Assembly’s passing of the Alberta Health Act follows on the heels of the release of the government’s Becoming The Best: Alberta’s Five-Year Health Action Plan. Both are important pieces in the government’s overall plan to create the best-performing publicly funded health system in Canada. Other pieces of the overall plan include having one, single health delivery arm for Alberta (Alberta Health Services), and introducing the first-of-its-kind five-year funding model for that delivery arm.

The Alberta Health Act was the outcome of the Putting People First report released September 16. The report made 15 recommendations and summarized the views of Albertans during extensive public consultations over the past year.

The Alberta Health Act will come into force upon proclamation. To read or obtain a copy of the Alberta Health Act, visit the Legislative Assembly of Alberta website at www.assembly.ab.ca.

The Alberta government has a clear plan for a strong economic recovery. As we move forward, we will maintain support for programs and services Albertans need most, such as health care, education and safe and vibrant communities. For more information on the plan visit Alberta.ca.

Alberta’s 15-year-olds place among world’s best in reading, scientific and mathematical literacy

Alberta’s students continue to rank among the best in Canada and the world, according to the results of the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Alberta students placed second in the world in reading and scientific literacy, and eighth in mathematical literacy.

In reading, the major focus of the 2009 PISA study, Alberta students achieved the highest average score in Canada. Internationally, Alberta’s reading literacy results were among the very highest-scoring nations, second only to Shanghai-China and tied with South Korea, Finland, and Hong Kong-China.

In the minor focus areas examined by PISA in 2009, Alberta continued to achieve high results. In mathematical literacy, Alberta students ranked second in Canada and eighth in the world. In scientific literacy, Alberta students ranked first in Canada, scoring significantly above the Canadian average, and ranked second worldwide.

PISA is administered every three years by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The tests assess the international achievement of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematical and scientific literacy. In Alberta approximately 2,900 students from public, separate, francophone, charter, and private schools, together with other sampled students from 65 countries, participated in the test in the spring of 2009. This is the fourth time Alberta has participated in this programme.

New electoral boundaries reflect Alberta’s growing population

Alberta’s electoral boundaries and the names of electoral divisions have been updated.

The Electoral Divisions Act, passed by the Alberta Legislature on Dec. 1, updates Alberta’s electoral boundaries to reflect recommendations made by the arm’s-length Electoral Boundaries Commission as well as changes made by the Legislative Assembly.

The new boundaries will come into effect when the next provincial election is called. Information about division boundaries and polling locations will be available from the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer at that time.

In 2009, amendments were made to the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act to establish a commission and direct it to prepare recommendations to divide Alberta into 87 proposed provincial electoral divisions, an increase of four divisions. Alberta’s population has increased by more than one-million people since 1986, the last time the number of electoral divisions was changed.

The commission reviewed existing boundaries and population densities to ensure that representation in Alberta keeps pace with population growth. It had a year to conduct public hearings and do its research, and then provide a report to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly with recommendations for the placement of electoral boundaries and names of electoral divisions.

The commission completed this work in June of 2010, and its report included recommendations to update the placement of Alberta’s electoral boundaries so they more effectively reflect the current population of each electoral division. The commission’s report also included proposed names for each of the 87 electoral divisions.

In June 2010, the Electoral Boundaries Commission’s report was presented to the Assembly. On Oct. 26, 2010, the Assembly debated the Commission’s recommendations and approved the report but with changes to the recommended names of four electoral divisions. Bill 28 reflects the commission’s report as amended by the Assembly.

The Electoral Divisions Act repeals and replaces the existing act of the same name. A map of the electoral boundaries can be viewed at http://www.altaebc.ab.ca/FinalMaps/ALBERTA_11X17.pdf. Please note that during the passing of this Act, Dunvegan-Central Peace was changed to Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley. This change has not been reflected on this map.

As the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Alberta Health Act 2010, education in Alberta, the new electoral boundaries, or any other matter, please contact one of my constituency offices at Stettler 403-742-4284; Drumheller 403-823-8181; Hanna 403-854-4333, or my Legislature office at 780-427-2137. Also, please subscribe to my e newsletter at http://hayden.mypcmla.ca/.