Notes from the Dome: Alberta Party pushes unemployment supports, family law bill passes

Calgary-Mackay-Nose Hill Alberta Party MLA Karen McPherson introduced a private member’s bill Tuesday to support unemployed and underemployed Albertans.

It’s the first piece of legislation ever tabled by the Alberta Party.

McPherson said Tuesday she has heard from a lot of people in her riding who aren’t able to find a job. The bill was a response to that, and involved consultation with unemployed Albertans, economists, recruiters, First Nations and post-secondary institutions.

McPherson’s bill would establish an employment advisory council to recommend ways to reduce unemployment and underemployment, and get employers, educators and others working together to create training and job opportunities.

With the session due to wrap this week there’s a good chance her bill will die on the order paper, but McPherson said she’s optimistic the NDP government will take her ideas to heart.

New law on the books

Former common-law partners can more easily make child support claims for their adult children with disabilities thanks to legislation passed Tuesday.

Previously the Family Law Act limited child support claims to adults between 18 and 22 years of age, or full-time students.

But new rules bring legislation in line with the federal Divorce Act, meaning family law claims can be made in support of adult children who need care because of illness, disability or other causes.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley thanked Christina Ryan and her daughter Emily Pitchers, 19, for advocating for the legislative change.

“Not very many people get to influence the law, and Emily has gotten a new law that will support families on the books,” Ganley said, presenting a signed copy of the bill to the family.

In November, Ryan said her family fell through the cracks while trying to firm up support for Pitchers, who has disabilities.

“We bring a legacy so that all the families who didn’t have a voice beforehand … will be properly looked after within the eyes of the law,” Ryan said Tuesday.

The bill also outlined new rules for unmarried couples in the process of splitting up, giving them clear-cut property division rules.

egraney@postmedia.com

cclancy@postmedia.com

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