FREDERICTON (GNB) – The third session of the 58th Legislative Assembly closed today with 63 bills passed and a focus on families, education and the economy.

“New Brunswickers have told the government what is important to them and this session showed that the government is listening,” said government house leader Rick Doucet. “We continue to work hard to make changes in areas that matter most to the people in this province, including the economy, health care and education.”

Some of the legislation that has passed and received royal assent this session includes:

  • Introduced Family Day, a statutory holiday beginning in February 2018 to recognize New Brunswick families.
  • Built on the free tuition program by creating a new post-secondary education grant program, Tuition Relief for the Middle Class, to make post-secondary education more accessible by providing more upfront financial assistance to New Brunswick students.
  • Cut the small business income tax rate to three per cent on April 1. This is the third cut to this rate since Jan. 1, 2015.
  • Brought in two new acts, the Local Governance Act and the Community Planning Act, which replaced the former Municipalities Act and Community Planning Act. This is the first update in 40 years and is intended to provide appropriate, effective powers and responsibilities for local governance.
  • Amended the Motor Vehicle Act to improve safety for cyclists by creating “Ellen’s law” in memory of New Brunswick cyclist Ellen Watters, who died in December as a result of her injuries from a collision with a motor vehicle while she was on a training ride near Sussex.
  • Tabled the Intimate Partner Violence Intervention Act to provide victims of intimate partner violence with additional tools to increase their safety while they seek more permanent solutions.
  • Amended the Family Services Act and the Vital Statistics Act so records for future adoption will be made available to both birth parents and adoptees, once the adoptee has reached the age of majority (19). For past adoptions, records will now be opened once the adoptee has reached the age of majority, unless a birth parent or an adult adoptee has filed a disclosure veto.
  • Enhanced animal protection by amending the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Municipalities Act.
  • Responded to the Commission on Electoral Reform with several measures, including lowering the political contribution limit to $3,000 from the current $6,000 and encouraging parties to recruit more women by giving greater weight to votes received by female candidates.
  • Passed legislation to enable public organizations to store data at the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training, to facilitate data research which is intended to provide better program delivery in everything from health care to poverty reduction to traffic safety, and aims to make New Brunswick a leader in Canada in this area.
  • Repealed the 2005 tax break which capped the property tax bill for the Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John.

“By focusing on our economic growth plan, 10-year education plans and family plan, we will continue to make positive change,” said deputy house leader Victor Boudreau. “Working together, we are getting things done to make New Brunswick the best place to live, work and raise a family.”