Modernizing public health laws

The Public Health Amendment Act (Bill 66) enhances health and safety protections while improving transparency during public health emergencies.

Status: Bill 66 received royal assent on June 17, 2021
Ministry responsible: Health


Bill 66, the Public Health Amendment Act amends the Public Health Act to reflect current and emerging public health challenges and best practices.

The Public Health Amendment Act will help us respond quickly to public health issues, including chronic diseases, and protect the health and safety of Albertans.

The amendments in Bill 66 were informed by extensive public feedback and recommendations by the Select Special Public Health Act Review Committee.

Key changes

Bill 66, the Public Health Amendment Act amends the Public Health Act to:

  • Repeal sections of Bill 10, the Public Health (Emergency Powers) Amendment Act, 2020, that authorizes the minister to modify legislation by order
  • Affirm the rights of individuals while maintaining the ability to respond to public health challenges
    • Remove unnecessary powers to order immunization or conscription
    • Improve transparency with clear checks and balances on authorities
    • Require publishing orders that apply to the public or groups
    • Protect the rights of patients with infectious diseases while containing the spread of disease
    • Require periodic review to keep the act current
    • Improve processes for responding to public health threats by using only the measures that are required, escalating as needed
  • Propose new sections to address chronic diseases and preventable injuries
    • Provide a framework for health promotion and prevention activities
    • Allow a focused, collaborative and coordinated approach to chronic disease to help lower the cost to our healthcare system
    • Establish monitoring and planning provisions for chronic disease and preventable injuries
  • Update outdated provisions and take action on lessons learned from public health responses like the COVID-19 response
    • How people are identified as contacts
    • Recognize the possibility of remote work to control the spread of infection
    • How to support controlling the spread of disease
    • Information collection during inspections
    • Dealing with recoverable costs and timelines for addressing offences
    • Establish the qualifications of the Chief Medical Officer of Health
    • Clarify ambiguous provisions
  • Repeal the Regulated Matter Regulation and the intoxicating gas and vapour provisions to support the recovery of Albertans who use inhalants as an intoxicant, rather than fine them

Next steps

Provisions removing the powers to order mandatory immunization, modify legislation by order and the repeal of the Regulated Matter Regulation came into force upon royal assent. The remaining provisions will come into force on proclamation.