Hold it! Did Jobs, Economy and Northern Development Minister Brian Jean just purport to change an Alberta law using only a cabinet order?

Along with today’s batch of Government of Alberta press releases is a routine notice of the day’s Orders in Council, which is just Parliamentary bureaucratese for cabinet orders. 

The first one, attributed to Honourable Mr. Jean, as these things are always framed, says: “PROCLAMATION – Repeals section 63.1 of the Employment Standards Code on the date of issue of the proclamation.”

Section 63.1, by the way, deals with “termination pay after temporary layoff for reasons related to COVID-19.” It’s found on page 62 of the Act and is quite technical in nature.

But here’s the thing, the Employment Standards Code is a law, and laws in our system can only be changed by the Legislature. 

Wasn’t allowing Cabinet to change laws without taking them to the Legislature what the whole initial brouhaha about Premier Danielle Smith’s Sovereignty Act was about?

Didn’t the UCP admit that you can’t do that, and withdraw that portion of the Sovereignty Act before that legislation was passed?

So how can Cabinet now change the Employment Standards Code without taking it to the Legislature? 

This strikes me as a fairly major breach of the way we do things in Canada. You know, the Rule of Law and all that. 

Or is the government saved by the oddly worded sub-section 4, which says, “this section is repealed on Proclamation.” (After all, proclamation usually starts something, doesn’t repeal it.)

Legal experts are invited to weigh in. 

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  1. my understanding is that ‘repealed on proclamation’ clauses do indeed allow an enactment to be canceled by an order in council. that power is granted in the Interpretation Act, RSA 2000, c I-8, s 6. but maybe get an expert confirmation on that; i have no training in law.

  2. So, I think I’ve figured out what the UCP is using for their strategy board– an Etch a sketch–

    1. Marshall Smith is making friends with the Bcup/ Falcon group and ” annoying ” alot of people in BC…you know PP’s– it’s a living hell, kids are getting back packs full of morphine needles etc. etc..
    —shake shake shake—

    2. Dani posted on Twitter this morning and then took the message down after only a few comments, after a few people noticed the same thing I did…
    Applexus is coming to Calgary, because Alberta is special, and it’s going to create 100’s of jobs…
    Applexus graciously said on their site that the $ 1.3 million “incentive ” was a deciding factor and hopefully will create about 125 jobs in the next 5yrs…(CTV & Global )
    —shake shake shake—

    3. 5 million litres of toxic oilsands tailings have overflowed from a tailings dam at Imperial Oil’s Kearl site. Good thing Alberta has that ” incentive ” money for the cleanup.
    —shake shake shake—

    4. Dani’s staff throw together a health care ” plan ” to try and counter foil the NDP real plan…and imho, the missing amount will probably be used by Marshall with PP’s endorsement for the new “treatment centers “,you know, the private clinics…
    —shake shake shake—

    5. Brian Jean, changing rules, meh, talk earlier today, something about rolling back minimum wages, I lost track of who was covering THAT story….
    —shake shake shake—

    I’m going to take a wild guess on which board room is being used in Calgary, and who the cast of characters is, must be talking about those God created farmers in Alberta….Hallelujah!!
    —shake shake shake—
    See, nothing to see here folks, let’s move along now…..
    Now I’m going to go pump up that top….wheeeee

  3. I can trust these pseudo conservatives and Reformers as far as I can throw them. The UCP are a very bad government. Anything they do causes more problems.


    By order of the August Minister of Car Washes, it has bee declared and made law that child labour, beating your workers (or slaves) and payment in stale bread and cold gruel is sufficient and restitution for the 109 hour work week in Alberta.

  5. Would love to see the NDP (fed or prov) try to claim they are the party of law and order. For sure the Conservatives have abandoned it. Also up for grabs – national security and fiscal responsibility.

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