Improving public health care

Taking action to strengthen public health care so all Albertans have access to sustainable and high quality health services.

Status: Bill 65 received royal assent on June 17, 2021.
Bill 46 received royal assent on December 9, 2020.
Bill 30 came into force July 29, 2020 with exceptions.
Ministry responsible: Health


Government is committed to making the health system more efficient and responsive while supporting and protecting patients.

Bill 65, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 amends 6 pieces of legislation to ensure the health system better serves Albertans, has a more accountable and modern pharmacy system and provides fatality inquiries with facts to help reviews.

Bill 46, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 updated 4 pieces and repeals 1 piece of health legislation to improve governance and accountability and ensures the health-care system and health professionals meet the health needs of Albertans.

Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 came into force July 29, 2020. It changed 9 pieces of health legislation to strengthen the role of Albertans in our health system, help reduce surgical wait times, and modernize the system so it can be more effective.

Key changes: Bill 65

Bill 65, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 updates the following:

  • Pharmacy and Drug Amendment Act

    • Clarifies the accountability requirements of all pharmacy ownership models to increase compliance with pharmacy legislation, regulations and licensing, helping to ensure the pharmacy system continues to operate safely.
    • Moves requirements for physical facilities, pharmacy areas and dispensing areas from regulations to standards of practice to be more responsive to changing patient needs and the evolving practice of pharmacy.
    • Outlines requirements for pharmacy information systems and records handling in standards of practice to enable pharmacies to better manage and safeguard patient records.
    • Moves requirements for the storage of drugs and supply of drugs kept in a pharmacy from regulations to standards of practice, to ensure the safe storage and adequate supply of drugs.
    • Adds references to pharmacy technicians working in the pharmacy system to ensure their accountability.
  • Health Professions Amendment Act (Pharmacy)

    • Enables pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to continue offering professional pharmacy services supporting animal health, providing Albertans who raise or own animals with additional options to access pharmacy services for animals.
      • The need to give pharmacists explicit authority to provide services to animals has been prompted by changes made to the Food and Drug Act by the federal government. Upcoming amendments to the Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians Profession Regulation are required to establish what types of pharmacy services pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are authorized to provide for animals.
  • Alberta Evidence Amendment Act

    • Provides judges at fatality inquiries with access to facts from health-system quality assurance committees to support more comprehensive reviews, discussions and effective recommendations.
  • Crown’s Right of Recovery Amendment Act

    • Limits government’s cost exposure to a reasonable amount directly related to its right to recover health-care costs, when it participates in an injured claimant’s ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit.
    • Reduces red tape and allows government to waive late-filing penalties for auto insurers in extraordinary circumstances, such as natural disasters, that prevent them from meeting deadlines to file reports.
  • Mental Health Amendment Act

    • Makes minor housekeeping amendments to correct section references.
    • Revises overly broad wording regarding retention forms to be more specific to what Alberta Health Services can report on.
    • Deletes unproclaimed sections of the Mental Health Amendment Act, 2020.
  • Health Facilities Amendment Act

    • Makes minor housekeeping amendments, including removing outdated references to “local welfare officer” since such positions no longer exist.
    • Retains reference to “Part 5” in the act so that the government maintains authority for historical cases that arise, such as class action lawsuits.
    • Ensures the government continues to have the authority to enforce rights under the Crown’s Right of Recovery Act, including responding to historical cases.

Key changes: Bill 46

Bill 46, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 updated or repeals the following legislation:

  • Health Professions Act

    • Establishes the regulatory framework for health care aides to become a regulated profession and held to the same high standards as other health professionals.
    • Separates regulatory colleges from associations and unions to ensure these colleges always put patients and the public interest first.
    • Allows for the regulation of multiple professions within a regulatory college to support more effective and efficient governance as well as inter-professional collaboration.
    • Establishes a public-facing, centralized online registry where Albertans will be able to search for a health provider, rather than having to search multiple websites.
    • Makes additional amendments to address some administrative housekeeping items.
  • Health Information Amendment Act

    • Better enables Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services and other authorized custodians to share electronic health record information for a broader set of authorized purposes to enhance patient-centric care.
  • ABC Benefits Corporation Act

    • Changes the name of the ABC Benefits Corporation Act to the Alberta Blue Cross Act to better reflect the public-facing name of the organization.
  • Health Facilities Act / Hospitals Act

    • All relevant sections of the Hospitals Act will be moved under the Health Facilities Act, and the outdated Hospitals Act repealed.
    • A modernized Health Facilities Act will be the one, consolidated act that governs the operations of acute-care facilities in the province, and sets and regulates how acute-care health facilities, including hospitals and chartered surgical facilities, provide safe, high quality care to patients and families.

Key changes: Bill 30

Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act (2020) updated or repealed the following legislation:

  • Health Quality Council of Alberta Amendment Act

    • Support and strengthen the work of the Health Quality Council of Alberta to focus on person-centred care, in addition to patient safety and health service quality.
    • Provides clarity that the HQCA reports to the Minister of Health, increasing coordination and accountability.
  • Health Professions Amendment Act

    • Changes will increase the number of public members appointed to regulatory college councils, complaint review committees and hearing tribunals to give Albertans a stronger voice and greater role in professional oversight.
    • The number of public members will increase to 50% of each group’s membership up from 25%.
  • Health Care Protection Amendment Act

    • Renames the Health Care Protection Act to Health Facilities Act to better reflect the act’s role in regulating independently operated health-care facilities that provide services within the publicly funded health system.
    • Streamlines the review and approval process for chartered surgical facilities, reducing red tape and administrative burden so current and new chartered surgical facilities can provide more publicly funded surgeries and help reduce surgical wait times as part of the Alberta Surgical Wait-Times Initiative.
  • Alberta Health Care Insurance Amendment Act

    • Modernizes legislation so physicians have more options in how they are paid, including making it easier for physicians to enter into Alternative Relationship Plans for compensation.
    • Allows government to contract with a range of organizations to operate medical clinics.
  • Regional Health Authorities Amendment Act

    • Clarifies the role and responsibilities of Alberta Health Services as the single health authority in Alberta and Covenant Health as a strategic partner and the largest provider of faith-based health-care services.
  • Hospitals Amendment Act

    • Changes the requirements of membership for the Hospital Privileges Appeal Board so that it will be easier to appoint and keep qualified members to review grievances brought forward by medical staff against hospital boards.
  • Public Health Act

    • Amendments clarify that COVID-19 quarantine requirements require all international travellers to quarantine for 14 days while the related orders from the Chief Medical Officer of Health are in effect.
  • Health Governance Transition Act

    • Repeals the act which helped AHS take over responsibilities for cancer treatment, mental health and addiction services for the province, when the Alberta Mental Health Board, Alberta Cancer Board and the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission were dissolved.
    • Other legislation is being amended to ensure the Alberta Cancer Foundation continues its role in fundraising to support cancer care, prevention and research across the province.
  • Provincial Health Authorities of Alberta Act

    • Repeals the act which is no longer necessary, since nine former regional health authorities, the Alberta Mental Health Board and Alberta Cancer Board were disbanded in 2009 when AHS became the province’s single health authority.

Next steps

Bill 65, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021

The Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2021 received royal assent June 17 and came into force the same day (except sections 1, 3 and 7 which come into force on proclamation) and amends the following legislation:

  • the Pharmacy and Drug Amendment Act and the Health Professions Amendment Act (Pharmacy) will come into effect after regulation changes are made.
  • the Alberta Evidence Amendment Act and the Health Facilities Amendment Act will come into force upon proclamation.
  • the Mental Health Amendment Act and the Crown’s Right of Recovery Amendment Act will come into force upon royal assent.

Bill 46, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020

Received royal assent on December 9, 2020 and came into force the same day.

Bill 30, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020

Most amendments came into force upon receiving royal assent on July 29, 2020. Others will come into force upon proclamation and one other came into force April 1, 2021.