Burden Reduction Act, 2016
The Ministry of Economic Development and Growth has reintroduced a package of legislative amendments that are intended to reduce regulatory burdens and practices that cost businesses time and money while protecting environmental and health standards and enhancing worker safety. The Ministry worked with 11 partner ministries and is proposing amendments to more than 50 different statutes. These include:
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Amending the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act to eliminate the need for an Order in Council (OIC) to establish a program. This would give authority to the minister to create or amend programs responsive to the needs of industry.
Ministry of the Attorney General
- Retaining the "industrial exception" in the Professional Engineers Act would allow businesses to have work performed on their own equipment by employees, rather than professional engineers.The proposed "industrial exception" would continue to protect worker health and safety, provide greater certainty and avoid unnecessary costs to the manufacturing sector, resulting in an estimated savings of between $118 million and $196 million per year for the manufacturing sector.
- Repealing the outdated Bulk Sales Act that was established over 100 years ago to protect creditors when a business sells off assets. Creditors now have access to a number of more effective ways to protect their interests, and the legislation is expensive to administer. Ontario would join all other Canadian jurisdictions in eliminating this statutory vehicle.
- Incorporating recognized standards for international business dealings into Ontario law, as soon as the federal government has ratified the related international conventions. Businesses would have the option of incorporating the standards into contracts, saving the cost of negotiations over matters such as which electronic communications are recognized or which country's court would be used to resolve a dispute.
- Modernizing rules for commercial arbitration, which would make Ontario a more attractive jurisdiction for resolving cross-border disputes.
The proposed amendments to the Courts of Justice Act and Justices of the Peace Act would help the court system function more effectively and efficiently through the following changes:
- The process for making court rules in provincial offences court would be simplified, providing flexibility to address changes in technology.
- The position of Small Claims Court Administrative Judge would be created to ensure the smooth functioning of that court.
- Members of judicial and justice of the peace appointments advisory committees would be provided immunity from liability for actions done in good faith.
A clarification would also be made in the Provincial Offences Act to give municipalities the tools they need to collect defaulted fines in full.
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
- Recommending proposed changes to the Office of the Fairness Commissioner's governance and reporting structure to improve the agency's accountability. The proposed changes would also help to strengthen the Office of the Fairness Commissioner's ability to deliver on its mandate of ensuring regulated professions and trades have fair registration practices.
Ministry of Energy
- Amending the Ontario Energy Board Act and the Electricity Act to empower the Ontario Energy Board to be more flexible in its regulatory processes and reduce red tape for market participants, as well as new consumer protection responsibilities to ensure natural gas and electricity utilities are prohibited from disconnecting customers during certain times of year, such as during winter months
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
- Proposing minor changes and administrative updates to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, the Public Lands Act and the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act. The changes would streamline efficiencies, modernize approvals and make housekeeping changes to update references, dates or previous errors/omissions. For example, allowing the use of more efficient methods for client notifications besides registered mail, like email.
Ministry of Labour
- Amending the Protecting Child Performers Act with regard to overnight travel expenses, the number of hours a child performer may work in a day, rules relating to breaks, and requirements for individualized adult accompaniment. The proposed changes are intended to align the act with current industry practices (generally negotiated between employer associations and employee associations), while still maintaining child performer safety.
- Amending the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act to provide the authority for the Human Resources Professionals Association to regulate its members who conduct workplace investigations. The proposed amendment would give association members, in good standing, the authority to conduct investigations without having to get a private investigators licence and be regulated by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services through that ministry's licensing program.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
- Proposing minor changes that would make it possible for more business activities to move to the Environmental Activity and Sector Registry, the online self-registration system available for certain low-risk activities.
- Reducing the number of face-to-face meetings required in compliance checks. Instead, inspectors could request information through calls or email when appropriate -- improving service delivery. The proposed amendments would also correct minor drafting or translation errors in a number of pieces of legislation.
Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
- Amending the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and Forestry Act to eliminate the need for an Order in Council (OIC) to establish a program. This would give authority to the minister to create or amend programs responsive to the needs of industry. The proposed amendment would also ensure the mining sector and other sectors across Northern Ontario are more efficiently provided with the resources they require.
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
- Modernizing the Business Corporation Act to ease requirements on quorum of directors' meetings and allow directors' meetings to occur in any place unless the corporation's articles or by-laws require otherwise. The amendments would also allow a corporation to maintain email addresses, if provided, to facilitate electronic communication with shareholders, debt obligation holders and holders of warrants.
- Amending the Business Regulation Reform Act to require businesses to provide their Business Number (BN - Canada Revenue Agency's issued business identifier) during any interaction or registration with a government entity. It would also enable Delegated Administrative Authorities and Crown corporations to use the Business Number.
- Updating the Consumer Protection Act to increase the power of inspectors, enabling them to issue a proposal for an order against a supplier. The changes would also allow the inspection of documents without entering the company's premises. The changes would broaden the type of information that can now be made publicly available about companies that have received compliance orders.
- Creating a formal process of mediation for disputes between suppliers and consumers.
- Modernizing the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Actto require people who submit a request for information or correction of personal information to specify that the request is being made under the respective act. This would ensure that both requesters and recipient institutions understand that a request has been formally made, triggering statutory requirements on the part of the institution and procedural rights for the requester.
- Amending the Land Titles Act to address increasingly sophisticated fraud situations and help combat title fraud. A number of processes would also be updated to streamline how easements are recorded in the land titles system, and how co-owners of property may give evidence of their percentage of ownership.
- Updating the Personal Property Security Act which would allow a debtor to waive, in writing, the right to receive a copy of a verification statement.
- Streamlining the Technical Standards and Safety Actwhich would provide a time limit for appeals of inspection orders, seals and fees issued under the act. A person would have 90 days to appeal.
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
- Changing the Ontario Place Corporation Actto better support the province's vision for Ontario Place as a year-round, vibrant waterfront destination. The proposed amendments would lower the cost and complexity of transactions for the government, Ontario Place Corporation and third-party businesses interested in investing in Ontario Place, and would support ongoing revitalization work.
Ministry of Transportation
- Amending the Highway Traffic Act which would allow for non-police escorts to ensure the safe movement of oversize-overweight loads that require traffic control.
- Additional amendments would clarify or correct various sections, including an update to accommodate the new Toronto Transit Commission streetcars.