Public Health Act Amendments in Alberta
Update: Alberta Bill 28 is now law as of December 9, 2016. There are some sections regarding immunizations that are not yet effective, but will be proclaimed in effect at a future date by the Government of Alberta.
Alberta Health has introduced Bill 28, Public Health Amendment Act, 2016.
It passed first reading on November 7, passed 2nd reading on November 9, passed the Committee of the Whole on November 10, and passed 3rd reading on November 22.
Among the amendments are provisions relating to the reporting of contact information and health information to the medical health officer. This contact information can be requested from both schools (charter, private, public) and early childhood services programs and providers. The medical officer of health is seeking to obtain the contact information of students and their parents for the purpose of communicating information regarding voluntary health programs, including immunization, hearing, vision, speech, and dental health programs, and for the purpose of communicable diseases control. This is not yet the law.
The law is changing very slightly, but the Ministry of Health has announced that it intends to change its practices in the way it collects and monitors immunization records. The Ministry’s goal is to see an increase in the number of immunizations but this is NOT being mandated. There is currently no mandatory requirement to immunize.
Even if Bill 28 does not pass, the existing provisions in the Public Health Act permit the medical officer of health to request from school boards or private schools, with whom homeschoolers have notified, to share your contact information. You may in turn receive a communication from the Ministry of Health offering voluntary health programs to your family.
HSLDA is monitoring these changes to ensure that they do not infringe on parental freedoms or privacy with regards to decisions made about their children’s health.