New Legislation And Regulation Changes Come Into Effect January 1, 2020

Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural AffairsUpdates to legislation will strengthen food safety requirements for the processing of fish and fish products in Ontario.

New regulations under the Food Safety and Quality Act will:

  • Effective January 1, 2020 the new licensing provisions for fish processors conducting higher risk activities come into effect.
  • Prepare fish processors for enhancements to the government’s capacity to respond to food safety incidents involving fish products.
  • Phase out outdated requirements with outcome-based provisions and allow for risk-based inspection with a range of enforcement tools.
  • Clearly define government responsibilities for inspections and reduce inspection duplication between public health units and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

Amendments to the Farm Products Payments Act will:

  • Provide the Livestock Financial Protection Board with more flexibility around quorum and ensure the board composition better reflects the needs of the sector.
  • Require boards to pay a greater range of program delivery expenses to support the long-term sustainability of the programs and future program enhancements.

Ministry of the Attorney General

Amendments to the Courts of Justice Act and its regulations will:

  • Increase the maximum amount of a claim in Small Claims Court from $25,000 to $35,000.
    • Make it faster, easier and more affordable for people and businesses to resolve their legal disputes.
    • Increase the minimum amount of a claim that may be appealed to the Divisional Court from $2,500 to $3,500.
  • Expand access to the Simplified Procedure in civil court to simplify complex processes and reduce the legal costs associated with cases involving modest values.
    • Beginning January 1, 2020, people and businesses with civil court claims up to $200,000 will be able to use the Simplified Procedure process, up from the previous claim amount of $100,000.
    • Changes will make it easier, faster and more affordable to resolve issues by limiting trials to five days, requiring parties to agree on a trial management plan and removing the option of a civil jury trial unless a jury notice has previously been filed.
  • Improve efficiency in the Divisional Court by clarifying court document filing requirements.
    • Limit factums (documents) on motions for leave to appeal to facts, issues, statements of law, and authorities that are relevant to a ground on which leave to appeal may be granted.
    • Limit motion records to documents which are referred to in the party’s factum and which are relevant to a ground on which leave to appeal may be granted.

Amendments to a regulation under the Law Society Act will:

  • Improve the efficiency of the Law Society Tribunal related to processes of the Hearing Division:
    • For certain types of motions, eliminating the requirement for the same members who will hear the merits of the proceeding to also hear the motion.
    • Allow a single member panel, rather than a three-member panel, to exclude the public and/or witnesses from all or part of a hearing.

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Changes to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) will:

  • Establish rules for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information held by service providers licensed or funded under the CYFSA.
  • Establish a new statutory right for children, youth and family members to access and correct their personal information held by those service providers. For example, service providers will be required to respond to access requests within 30 days.
  • Clarify the ministry’s responsibilities in collecting personal information from individuals and service providers for oversight, evaluation and planning.

The provisions will improve privacy protection, accountability and transparency and will help the ministry to better use data and measure client and program outcome.

Ministry of Education

Regulations under the Education Act will:

  • Require elections for one-year term student trustees to be held by the last day of February each year and elections for two-year term student trustees to be held by April 30 of each year. For school boards that have two or more student trustees with two-year terms, board policy should ensure the staggering of terms where possible.

Legislative amendments and regulations under the Ontario College of Teachers Act and the Early Childhood Educators Act will:

  • Require the Ontario College of Teachers and College of Early Childhood Educators to establish a funding program to provide therapy and counselling to individuals who allege they were victims of sexual abuse or child pornography committed by an educator in the course of the educator’s practice.
  • Guide the operations of each College’s funding program for therapy and counselling. These regulations will prescribe the maximum amount of funding that may be provided under the program, the period during which funding may be provided, additional purposes for which funding may be provided, and additional persons to whom funding may be paid.

Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

To support the Watay Power Project, amendments to the Ontario Energy Board Act and Electricity Act will:

  • Enable six communities to connect to the provincial electricity grid and receive rate protection subsidies, ensure federal project funding can be applied to cover the cost of rate protection, and correct First Nation community names that are currently inaccurate.
  • Ensure that residents in the six Independent Power Authorities (IPAs) communities are eligible for rate protection through the Rural or Remote Electricity Rate Protection (RRRP) subsidy, once distribution service is transferred to Hydro One Remotes.
  • Allow the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to receive federal project funds and apply them to cover the cost of RRRP, reducing the amount that must be collected from all Ontario ratepayers.
  • Remove six IPA communities from exemptions under the Ontario Energy Board Act and the Electricity Act once distribution service is transferred to Hydro One Remotes.
  • Include the six IPA communities under Hydro One Remotes’ list of serviced communities, conditional on an order from the Ontario Energy Board.

Amendments to a regulation under the Electricity Act will set minimum energy efficient standards for:

  • Walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers
  • Ceiling fans
  • Regulated incandescent lamps. This category covers general-purpose incandescent light bulbs such as halogen lamps (i.e., not CFLs or LEDs)
  • Luminaires used for roadway lighting (street/roadway lights)
  • High Mast luminaires. This category covers roadway lights mounted on high masts (generally 20 metres or higher), designed to illuminate a large area
  • Commercial and industrial pumps.

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Regulatory changes under the Toxics Reduction Act and Environmental Protection Act will:

  • Align Ontario with other jurisdictions by removing the requirement for facilities to report annual acetone releases and reducing burden for business without reducing protection for human health and the environment.

These changes align Ontario with the federal government and other provinces that have not required acetone release reporting since 1998.

Regulatory changes under the Environmental Protection Act will:

  • Strengthen emission testing standards for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles.
  • Clarify existing laws against tampering with vehicle emission systems.
  • Make it illegal to sell devices that interfere with or disable emissions control systems.
  • Strengthen the on-road enforcement of emissions standards for both light passenger vehicles and heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles.

Regulatory changes under the Environmental Protection Act will:

  • Reduce burden for dry cleaning businesses, which already follow strict federal inspection and compliance requirements, by removing unnecessary provincial training requirements.
  • Modify requirements to Greener Diesel-Renewable Fuel Content for Petroleum Diesel Fuel to include the use of advanced renewable fuel technologies, such as biocrude.
  • Require fuel suppliers to maintain an annual average of 10 per cent renewable content in regular grade gasoline. The amendments will also change the regulation’s name to “Greener Gasoline: Bio-based Content Requirements for Gasoline” to reflect the broader range of advanced biofuels eligible for compliance. Northern Ontario will be exempt from these new compliance requirements for three years, until 2023.

Regulatory changes under the Ontario Water Resources Act will:

  • Provide more clarity and flexibility to well contractors in the choice of materials used for casings, as well as modify insurance requirements to match what is available in the market.
  • Extend the moratorium on new or increasing water takings from groundwater sources by water bottling companies for nine months, to October 1, 2020, so that we can continue our review and analysis and give people confidence that Ontario’s water resources are protected now and into the future by good policy that is based on solid science and evidence.

Regulatory changes under the Safe Drinking Water Act will:

  • Add a new standard for haloacetic acids, which are disinfection by-products. This standard is being adopted in accordance with changes made to Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, and in close consultation with the Ontario Advisory Council on Drinking Water Quality and Testing Standards.
  • Require that drinking water systems properly calculate and comply with the new standard for haloacetic acids.

Ministry of Finance

Amendments to the Estate Administration Tax Act will:

  • Eliminate the tax on taxable estates with assets of $50,000 or less and reduce the tax on larger estates by $250.
  • Extend the deadlines for filing estate information returns from 90 to 180 days for filing an initial return, and 30 to 60 days for filing an amended return.

These measures will provide tax relief to Ontario families.

Legislative amendments and regulations underthe Gasoline Tax Act will:

  • Eliminate the requirement for First Nation consumers to use the Ontario Gas Card as proof of eligibility for the exemption at point of sale, and instead, enable them to use the federal Status Card as proof of eligibility.
  • Change the timeline for calculating interest on refunds to be payable from the date of the refund application to the date the government makes the refund payment.

Legislative amendments and regulations underthe Pension Benefits Act will:

  • Enable the implementation of the variable benefit framework, which, if the plan permits, allows members of defined contribution pension plans to receive pension benefits directly from the plan after they retire.

Changes to the Pension Benefits Act will also:

  • Revoke a spent (transitional) provision related to the new defined benefit funding rules introduced in May 2018.

Amendments to the Insurance Act will:

  • Place a $1 million cap on vicarious liability for vehicle leasing companies that deal with lessors at arm’s length for leased vehicles used as a livery vehicle.
  • This regulatory amendment is consequential to an amendment to the Insurance Act that came into force in 2019 to reduce burden on vehicle leasing companies by reducing unlimited liability as an insurance claim risk.

Amendments to the Taxation Act will:

  • Reduce the small business corporate income tax rate of 3.5 per cent to 3.2 per cent, fulfilling the government’s promise to cut Ontario’s small business tax rate by 8.7 per cent and providing tax relief of up to $1,500 annually to over 275,000 businesses.
  • Reduce Ontario’s small business (non-eligible) dividend tax credit rate from 3.2863 per cent to 2.9863 per cent, corresponding to the reduction in the small business corporate income tax rate.

Ministry of Francophone Affairs

Amendments to regulations under the French Language Services Act will:

  • Partially designate the University of Sudbury as French-language services provider and fully designate the Canadian Mental Health Association-Ottawa Branch with respect to programs carried out on behalf of the Ministry of Health as French-language services providers.

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Regulations under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act will:

  • Expand access to cremation services for individuals with radioactive implants received as part of cancer treatments.

Amendments to regulations under the Electricity Act will:

  • Add an Undue Hardship Clause allowing the Electrical Safety Authority to grant additional time for individuals to meet the Master Electrician licence renewal requirements in cases of extenuating circumstances, such as a critical injury. This amendment will reduce financial burden and administrative burden on businesses and support the competitiveness of Ontario businesses.

Changes to regulations under the Condominium Act will:

  • Delegate responsibility for certain condo forms from government administration to the Condominium Authority of Ontario, allowing for easier access of frequently-used forms for condo owners, mortgagees, purchasers and corporations.

Ministry of Health

Amendments to regulations under the Connecting Care Act will:

  • Identify the Ontario Telemedicine Network as an organization whose functions, staff, assets and liabilities could potentially be transferred into Ontario Health following an order from the Minister.

Changes to regulations under the Health Insurance Act will:

  • Change the primary screening test for colorectal cancer from the guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT) to the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) in the ColonCancerCheck program.
  • Eliminate funding for the Out-of-Country Travellers Program under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

Amendments to regulations under the Health Protection and Promotion Act will:

  • Merge the Huron County Health Unit and Perth District Health Unit.
  • Reduce restrictions related to dogs being allowed in outdoor and certain indoor areas of food premises, such as patios and craft breweries.
  • Exempt certain food premises, such as school snack programs or other community feeding organizations, from specific requirements, including structural and mechanical requirements, including structural and mechanical requirements (e.g., number of handwashing stations, dishwashing equipment).
  • Remove requirements for barbers and hairdressers to collect contact information of all customers and have a dedicated sink for washing equipment.

Amendments to regulations under the Healthy Menu Choices Act will:

  • Clarify requirements and provide exemptions to menu labelling for grocery and other food retail stores, ensuring the regulation is applied consistently and that business understand when the regulation applies to them.

Amendments to regulations under the Home Care and Community Services Act now clarifies that:

  • All references in the regulation in relation to a visit and/or hour of service can include virtual care. This change supports the expansion of virtual care in home and community care and signals to the sector a change in the service delivery framework.

Regulations coming into force under the Medical Radiation and Imaging Technology Act, Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act, and Regulated Health Professions Act will:

  • Update job titles to better reflect current professions

Amendments to the Ontario Drug Benefit Act (ODBA) and regulations will:

  • Allow the Executive Officer to subtract an amount from payments made to pharmacies for supplying drug benefits under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, in accordance with regulations made under the ODBA.
  • Associated amendments to regulations under the ODBA will allow the government to move to a per bed (capitation) payment model for pharmacy services provided to long-term care home residents. These changes will also eliminate the $2 long-term care home resident co-payment.

Other amendments to regulations under the ODBA and the Drug Interchangeability and Dispensing Fee Act:

  • Reducing red tape for pharmacies by adjusting certain submission requirements for drug manufacturers.
  • Remove the existing 10 per cent cap on ordinary commercial terms provided by drug manufacturers to wholesalers and pharmacies.

Regulatory amendments made under the Nursing Act and the Occupational Therapy Act to:

  • Permit Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and Occupational Therapists to initiate the controlled act of psychotherapy independently.

Amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act will:

  • Prohibit the promotion of vapour products in non-specialty stores, such as convenience stores and gas stations.
  • Reduce restrictions for tobacconists who register with their local board of health prior to January 1, 2020 so that they can carry a wider range of products.

Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

Amendments under the Occupational Health and Safety Act will:

  • Clarify requirements for temporary stairs at construction projects by outlining where stairs should start and end and identify situations where the installation of temporary stairs may not be possible.
  • Support red tape reduction by streamlining occupational health requirements for workplaces.
  • Harmonize the frequency of medical surveillance for asbestos-exposed workers in the construction sector with other regulations under the act.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Amendments to the More Homes, More Choice Act will:

  • Help increase housing supply by freezing municipal development charge rates at the time a site plan application or zoning amendment application is submitted to a municipality. The rate freeze continues for two years after an application is approved by a municipality.
  • Additional amendments also allow for deferral of municipal development charges payments specifically for institutional, rental and non-profit housing developments to:
    • Six annual installments beginning at occupancy for rental housing and institutional developments.
    • 21 annual installments for non-profit housing developments.
  • The legislation provides authority for municipalities to charge interest to cover costs associated with the deferral and the freeze with no maximum interest rate prescribed.

The fee to file an appeal under the Line Fences Act will increase from $329 to $335 on January 1, 2020:

  • The fee is adjusted every year to reflect inflation as defined by the Consumer Price Index for Ontario.

Amendments to Ontario’s Building Code will:

  • Improve alignment with the 2015 National Construction Codes, including improvements relating to:
    • Fire prevention and early detection and warning systems.
    • Structural sufficiency of buildings to withstand external forces and improve resilience.
    • Accessibility requirements for barrier-free access.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Changes to the Public Lands Act will:

  • Update rules for waterfront property owners with small structures on Crown shoreline road allowances. The ministry can require waterfront property owners to remove a waterfront structure, if it deems removal necessary.
  • Allow property owners to place small structures on shoreline Crown road allowances, adjacent to their property, without the need to pay a fee and annual rent.

Several fees under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act are updated:

  • Fishing and hunting licence fees and permits for non-residents of Ontario will be indexed based on the inflation rate effective January 1, 2020.
  • Funds collected from fishing and hunting licence sales will go into the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account and will be used for important programs, including fish culture and stocking, wildlife population studies, research and enforcement.

Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility

Three new provisions in the Information and Communication Standard have come into force:

  • All Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly internet and intranet websites will be subject to the web content accessibility guidelines 2.0 AA, including the requirement to caption live videos and audio descriptions for pre-recorded media.
  • All printed materials that are educational or training supplementary learning resources, must meet accessibility requirements for accessible conversion ready versions.
  • Libraries of educational or training institutions must meet the accessibility requirements for digital or multimedia resources or materials.

These requirements represent the final phase to implement accessibility requirements across Ontario.

Ministry of the Solicitor General

An amendment to the Private Security and Investigative Services Act will:

  • Remove the requirement for training programs of security guards or private investigators to cost a minimum of $2,000. Private career colleges can now charge lower fees for these programs, which will reduce regulatory burden on these colleges and help ensure more training options are available to the public.

A regulatory amendment to the Equipment and Use of Force Regulation (R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 926) under the Police Services Act will:

  • Allow for the perceived race of individuals to be collected on Use-of-Force Reports. The change will also allow the Solicitor General to require a chief of police to provide information from Use-of-Force Reports to the ministry.

The new Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act and associated regulations will:

  • Better protect animals from abuse and neglect by implementing the first fully provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system. Ontario now has the strongest penalties in Canada for people who violate the new law.

The Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act will:

  • Improve animal welfare across the province by:
    • Updating prohibitions and obligations, such as increasing penalties for offences and barring the return of dog fighting equipment to a person convicted of an offence.
    • Enabling inspectors to enter motor vehicles to help pets in critical distress in extreme weather conditions.
    • Establishing new oversight provisions of inspectors that offer increased transparency and accountability.

Transitional regulations for the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act coming into force will:

  • Ensure animals are protected while long-term regulations are developed through consultation. Consultations on long-term regulations will seek advice from a multi-disciplinary table comprised of a wide range of experts, such as veterinarians, animal advocates, agricultural experts and academics, among others.

Ministry of Transportation

An update to the Metrolinx Act extends the existing framework for municipal contributions to GO Transit growth and expansion for three years to 2022.

As part of the government’s plan to help businesses expand, provide commuters with more choice and improve safety, amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will:

  • Create a 5-year pilot that allows municipalities to choose whether to allow e-scooters on their roadways. E-scooters have the potential to help hundreds of thousands of commuters get to transit connections, reduce congestion and open the Ontario market to a new and growing sector.
  • Make it easier for charter buses to travel in Ontario by registering under the International Registration Plan instead of obtaining separate trip permits.
  • Remove the trip permit requirement for small commercial trucks with U.S. plates travelling from the United States. This includes:
    • Two-axle commercial motor vehicles with a gross weight of 11,793 kg (26,000 lbs) or less.
    • Two-axle commercial motor vehicles towing a trailer with a combined gross weight of 11,793 kg (26,000 lbs) or less.
    • Commercial motor vehicles displaying dealer, service or transporter plates.
  • Allow for trucks to have an in-cab switch that can activate four-way flashers and lift the self-steering axle at the same time, which will help drivers regain traction and help prevent collisions on Ontario’s roads.
  • Defer enforcement of regulations governing the in-cab emergency override controls until November 1, 2020, which will give manufacturers time to produce and test the technology.
  • Adding new signs to improve traffic control and provide clear direction for drivers and cyclists.

Regulations under the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act will:

  • Improve customer service by allowing Highway 407 Express Toll Route customers to pay all outstanding fines at once to clear their licence plate denial.
  • Allow the International Registration Plan program to stop mailing renewal packages to registered fleets prior to their expiry. Starting January 1, 2020, all carriers must obtain their renewals online.

Regulation under the Getting Ontario Moving Act will improve road conditions and community safety by creating an offence for defacing or removing traffic signs and other traffic control devices.

Treasury Board Secretariat

Amendments to the Courts of Justice Act revise the funding structure of the Provincial Judges Pension Plan without impacting pension and survivor benefits. These changes implement the   pension recommendations of the 9th and 10th Provincial Judges Remuneration Commissions.


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