Work From Home

Bills focus on the consumer

Over the past couple of weeks, the government introduced two bills with a focus on consumer protection:

• Bill 12, the New Home Buyer Protection Amendment Act, is modelled on regulations that were established in Wood Buffalo-Fort McMurray to oversee rebuilding of the community. This legislation is similar to a policy that protects 75 per cent of Canadians in other jurisdictions from negligent or unscrupulous builders, and also establishes a licensing system for home builders. For more information, visit www.alberta.ca/release.cfm and search for “builder accountability.”

• Bill 13, the Securities Amendment Act, will stiffen regulations for self-regulatory organizations, such as the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association. Its aim is to compel attendance and the production of evidence during both investigation and adjudication phases, strengthen these bodies’ enforcement abilities, and improve investor protection. As an MLA, I have heard many heartbreaking stories from constituents who have lost their life savings through poor counsel from financial advisers, and had very little recourse to recover their lost retirement funds. While unscrupulous financial advisors represent a tiny minority, their potential to impact peoples’ lives is tremendous.

If you would like to read up on these bills, or others being tabled in legislature, you may do so by visiting www.assembly.ab.ca.

Childcare

While I am reluctant to wade into federal issues, I need to respond to the May 5 column by our federal MP regarding childcare (“Recognize parents at home,” Opinion — Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan MP Garnett Genuis, The News). While some families are able to establish a pattern of one parent staying at home —whether employed from home or not — for most families of young children, finding affordable, accredited and accessible childcare is a huge challenge. Many working parents are not able to work from home, let alone afford to stay home while losing an income. Many do not have access to paid parental leave. While I appreciate the call to ensure that parents can choose their own options, I am also delighted the Alberta government is committed to supporting parents through accessible, affordable and accredited childcare spaces.

Most recently, the government announced funding for 22 not-for-profit day cares to offer $25 per day childcare spaces. Some of these childcare spaces created will be offered to parents who work nontraditional hours; i.e., outside of the range of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday.

This week, I had the pleasure of introducing the staff and board members of the Boys and Girls Club of Strathcona County to the Legislative Assembly.

This organization has worked tirelessly to provide much-needed before- and after-school childcare spaces to school-age children in our community.

Donate blood

Canadian Blood Services has been holding weekly blood clinics in Strathcona County. Upcoming clinics will be held on Tuesday, May 23 at Centre in the Park, and Saturday, May 27 at Bethel Lutheran Church.

To book an appointment or to get more information, visit www.blood.ca.

I am happy to report the booking and donation process has been streamlined, and new donors are always needed and welcome.

The Victoria Day weekend is traditionally when we spend time in our gardens and finally plant our tomatoes and other veggies.

I wish everyone a wonderful long weekend with families and friends, and hopefully (weather cooperating) some gardening time, as well.

Annie McKitrick is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Sherwood Park Constituency. If you have any questions or comments about this column or any other provincial government issues, she would like to hear from you. Please contact McKitrick’s constituency office at 780-417-4747 or by e-mail:  sherwood.park@assembly.ab.ca.

Work From Home