Proposed Changes in the Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017
Ontario has introduced a package of legislative amendments intended to reduce regulatory burdens and practices that cost businesses time and money, while protecting environmental, health, and worker safety standards. The Ministry of Economic Development and Growth worked with five partner ministries and is proposing amendments to more than 40 different statutes. These include:
Ministry of the Attorney General
Proposed changes to the Charities Accounting Act would allow charities to make social investments that help further their purposes and achieve a financial return. The amendments will allow charitable organizations to make social investments consistent with their mission by exempting these types of investments from restrictive prudent investor rules.
A number of amendments will be made to the Courts of Justice and Justices of the Peace Act,including:
- Clarifying that people over the age of 64 may apply to become judges and justices of the peace.
- Designating the Superior Court of Justice to manage complaints against the small claims court administrative judge, including giving the Superior Court of Justice the power to investigate complaints and, if appropriate, discipline the judge for his or her conduct.
- Making certain Canadian Free Trade Agreement tribunal costs orders enforceable as court orders. The change would give Ontario businesses and the Ontario government the ability to initiate dispute resolution proceedings under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement.
The Notaries Act will be amended to remove the requirement for a non-lawyer notary public to be a Canadian citizen.
The Juries Act will be amended to permit electronic options for jurors to return their jury eligibility questionnaires and to receive jury summonses. The deadline for returning a jury questionnaire will be extended from five to 30 days.
Other technical and housekeeping amendments will be made to modernize outdated wording in French and English and to improve accessibility.
Ministry of Economic Development and Growth
If passed, the bill would enact a new statute called the Reducing Regulatory Costs for Business Act, 2017. This new legislation, if enacted, would implement five new initiatives to reduce burden on Ontario businesses by requiring the government ministries to:
- Reducing regulatory costs: Requiring all ministries to offset every dollar of new administrative costs to business by removing $1.25 of old and unnecessary costs.
- Streamline compliance for small business: Ensure that undue burdens aren't placed on small businesses when new or amended regulations are introduced, while maintaining robust environmental, health and safety requirements and other public interest protections.
- Align international or national standards: Increase harmonization with other jurisdictions and adopt international or national standards, where appropriate, when developing or reviewing regulations.
- Reward good actors: Recognize businesses that have a good compliance record and lower their costs by reducing requirements, such as the number of inspections, without compromising the environment health and safety, and other protections.
- Guarantee electronic transmission: Provide businesses with the option to electronically submit any required documentation to the Government of Ontario instead of more costly paper submissions.
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
The Land Registration Reform Act will be amended to allow electronic registration of survey plans. Electronic submission and registration of plans will reduce the burden on land surveyors, saving these small business owners the time and the cost of registering hard copy plans.
The Land Titles Act will be amended to allow for a single name to be used to register documents within the land registration system where that single name is permitted under the Vital Statistics Act and the Change of Name Act.
The proposed amendments to the Business Corporations Act would increase shareholder democracy and increase flexibility in private corporations.
The proposed amendments would enable the future proclamation of the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA). The proposed amendments to the Corporations Act would enable Ontario not-for-profit corporations to benefit from some of the ONCA features prior to its proclamation, such as allowing notice of members' meetings to be sent electronically and members' meetings to be held electronically. These proposed amendments would increase flexibility, encourage participation in meetings, provide clarity and reduce burdens and costs for not-for-profit corporations.
The proposed amendments to the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 would increase clarity in Ontario's franchise law, including franchisor disclosure obligations to prospective franchisees.
The proposed amendments to the Personal Property Security Act would reduce costs to lenders, lessors and repairers by providing greater certainty.
The amendments to the Corporations Information Act, and a number of other business law statutes, will facilitate implementation of the new modern business registration system, and ensure that related provisions are appropriately aligned, including:
- Modernizing service delivery and enable electronic access to all modern business registration system services.
- Providing the Director with broadened duties and powers to support and implement more efficient and flexible service delivery under a new electronic system.
- Making amendments to provide greater consistency across the business law statutes and enable future business law reform agenda.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
The proposed amendments to the Municipal Elections Act would provide clarity that compliance audit committees (established in all municipalities across the province prior to municipal elections) may deliberate in private for the purpose of making decisions.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
The proposed amendments to the Pesticides Act would transition the pesticide licensing program from paper-based to online service delivery. Licenses would be issued automatically online if prescribed requirements are met. This change would eliminate approximately 5,200 paper-based applications the ministry receives each year, providing a faster, more efficient way to get a licence.
The proposed amendments to the Environmental Protection Act will allow the ministry to make certain information about pesticide licences publicly available online, supporting a transparent and open government.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The proposed amendments to the Farming and Food Production Protection Act will enable the Minister to appoint multiple vice-chairs to the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board. This would increase the board's capacity to manage the hearing process and shorten wait times.