Since I was appointed the Minister of Service Alberta on April 30, 2019, my primary focus has been on improving how Albertans access government services through efficiency and innovation.
A modern government needs modern services. By refining how Service Alberta provides technical and logistical support to the public as well as to other ministries, we are striving to make life better for hard-working Albertans, including job creators and consumers, and we’re doing this by cutting red tape and introducing enhanced services that are responsive, easy to navigate, and convenient to access.
The province was last in the country for online registry services when I assumed the leadership as Minister of Service Alberta. One of my goals is to bring us to first place, and the Online Birth Registry is the first step in that direction.
For the first time, new parents can register their child’s birth information and request a birth certificate online. They can complete the form right from the hospital room, between placing last minute orders for baby supplies and sending pictures to family and friends.
It’s ready when they are because making life better often means making services and information more accessible.
With this principle in mind, I introduced the Business Enforcement Search Tool (BEST) in 2019 to help Albertans make more informed decisions when choosing which businesses to spend their hard-earned money at. Visit this website and enter the name of a business to see whether Service Alberta has taken enforcement actions against it for violating provincial consumer protection laws.
Although enforcement actions have always been disclosed, BEST makes the information easier to understand and access.
But ease of access isn’t always positive. Earlier this spring I introduced legislation to prevent convicted sex offenders from changing their names, an initiative I’m particularly proud to lead. Closing this legal loophole keeps children, vulnerable Albertans, and our communities safer by making sure convicted offenders live under their own names.
It’s a perfect example of the right protection at the right time.
There are other protections to be considered, as well, like recent changes to the Residential Tenancy Dispute Resolution Service (RTDRS) to include hearings between mobile home site tenants and landlords.
Previously, the only way residents and landlords of mobile home communities could access resolution services was through the courts. That often meant an expensive legal bill and a long, frustrating wait for the case to be heard. For years, members of these communities have been asking the government for access to the RTDRS, a faster, less formal, and less expensive alternative, which makes resolution services more accessible to those who need them. This past spring, I brought forward those legislative changes and Service Alberta staff are working hard to ensure a smooth rollout in late fall.
Dispute resolution seems to be on everyone’s mind—I’m evaluating it as a potential addition to condominium regulations. If implemented, a tribunal service will continue the common sense, red tape cutting changes to condominium governance that went into effect on January 1, 2020.
All of this in 16 months, and we’re just getting started.
Under my direction, Service Alberta will continue to find efficiencies, advance digitalization, and deliver meaningful services that make life better for the hard-working people who call Alberta home.