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Bill 4, the Municipal Government (Face Mask and Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Bylaws) Amendment Act, 2022 proposes changes to the MGA that will be very narrow and focused strictly on public health requirements related to COVID-19. Any municipal bylaws requiring masks to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, or relating to COVID-19 vaccines, will need to be approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs in consultation with Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.
Provincial policy will lead the way forward
This approach will limit the ability of local governments to pass bylaws that contradict public health policies enacted by the province. For example, the proposed changes would prevent local governments from imposing masking or proof of COVID-19 vaccination bylaws on private sector operators such as grocery stores and retail businesses.
“We recognize the importance of local autonomy. That’s why the proposed changes will have no impact on the day-to-day operations of Alberta municipalities. As we move together toward a path to normal, Alberta needs one clear public health policy. The best way to do this is to make sure the rules are clear, specific and the same for all Albertans.”
Most municipalities already comply with public health requirements for COVID-19, so the proposed changes will not affect them. Local governments will continue to have authority to implement masking or proof of COVID-19 vaccination bylaws to municipal facilities, such as recreation centres, public transit and municipal buildings.
- Existing municipal bylaws on these matters will no longer be in effect when the legislation comes into force.