The Alberta UCP government has pledged to give up the emergency powers it adopted in spring during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We’re going to be removing those powers that ministers have during a public health emergency and leaving it for legislation to be amended by the legislature as it should be,” said Health Minister Tyler Shandro. 

The exact timing of when this will happen is up in the air as the government awaits Select Special Public Health Act Review Committee recommendations.

Bill 10, which gave cabinet ministers powers to make laws without legislative approval, was, at the time, defended by Premier Jason Kenney as a way to continue governing should the legislature not be able to meet during the pandemic. 

“We saw that we can still keep the legislature open and there’s no reason why a legislature should have that power taken away from them, even during a public health emergency,” Shandro said.

“So, you know, there’s no point in having a power in legislation if we have no intention of using it.” 

Meanwhile, other provincial governments, such as Ontario’s, have turned the dial up on government coronavirus powers.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently announced new restrictions on gathering limits and restaurants. In July, Ford stated that his government will extend emergency powers first invoked on Mar. 17 until 2021. 

“That’s something that is totally misunderstood. We’re doing it to help the people. I don’t want a power grab. I’m just not into big government, I’m just not. But we have to do it,” Ford said then.