Table of contents

Overview

The Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act defends Alberta’s interests by giving our province a legal framework to push back on federal laws or policies that negatively impact the province.

The act will be used to address federal legislation and policies that are unconstitutional, violate Albertans’ charter rights or that affect or interfere with our provincial constitutional rights.

The act gives Alberta a democratic legislative framework for defending the federal-provincial division of powers while respecting Canada's Constitution and the courts.

Status

  • Bill 1 received royal assent on December 15, 2022

Ministry responsible

  • Justice

Resources

What the act does

The Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act will only be used when Alberta’s legislative assembly debates and passes a motion that identifies a specific federal program or piece of legislation as unconstitutional or causing harm to Albertans.

Government will ensure all constitutional and legal requirements are met before steps are taken to respond. Government will respect court decisions if a response is challenged successfully in court.

What the act doesn't do

The Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act:

  • will not allow Alberta to defy Canada’s Constitution
  • will not allow Alberta to separate from Canada
  • will not allow cabinet to issue unconstitutional orders-in-council, including giving instructions that are outside of provincial jurisdiction to provincial entities 
  • will not allow cabinet to give instructions to private individuals or corporations that aren’t provincial entities, to violate federal law

How the act will be used

 

  • Motion for resolution

    Any minister introduces a motion for a resolution to use the act. The motion identifies a federal initiative deemed unconstitutional or interfering with provincial jurisdiction or Albertans’ charter rights, and proposes measures cabinet should take in response.

    Stage 1
  • Debate and vote

    MLAs debate the resolution and then vote for or against it. If a majority of MLAs vote in favour of the motion, the resolution is passed.

    Stage 2
  • Legal review

    Cabinet reviews all proposed actions in the resolution to ensure they are constitutional and legal.

    Stage 3
  • Preparation of legislation

    If the resolution contains recommendations to amend existing legislation or enact new legislation, the appropriate minister will prepare legislation for introduction into the assembly.

    Stage 4
  • Cabinet direction

    Cabinet may instruct provincial entities to take certain steps in accordance with the recommendations made in the resolution.

    Stage 5
  • Orders and regulations

    Cabinet can also amend regulations, pass orders-in-council, or direct a ministerial order be made in accordance with the resolution.

    Stage 6

*This process timeline is for illustrative purposes only.

Next steps

The Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act took effect when it received royal assent on December 15, 2022. It will only be used in specific matters of federal overreach or harmful laws and policies according to the process outlined above.

News

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