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Amendments and Proposals in the Budget Measures Act, 2015

Backgrounder

Amendments and Proposals in the Budget Measures Act, 2015

Ministry of Finance

On November 18, 2015, Minister Sousa introduced Bill 144, the Budget Measures Act, 2015 in the Ontario legislature.  

If passed, the proposed act would implement measures contained in the 2015 Ontario Budget, enact five new statutes and amend other statutes:

ASSESSMENT ACT

  • Standardizes the timelines for property owners to file a Request for Reconsideration in order to support the early resolution of assessment issues.
  • Creates regulatory authority to prescribe eligibility criteria in order to provide greater clarity to support the administration of the property tax exemption for children's treatment centres.
  • Creates authority to include additional airports in the passenger-based payment-in-lieu of property tax program, which currently only applies to four federally-designated airport authorities.

CITY OF TORONTO ACT, 2006

  • Creates authority to provide the City of Toronto with additional flexibility in the Business Property Tax Capping program, including the option to exit or phase-out from the program, if the municipality meets prescribed eligibility criteria.

ELECTRICITY ACT, 1998

  • Sets a fixed date to remove the Debt Retirement Charge for commercial, industrial and other non-residential electricity users on April 1, 2018, nine months earlier than previously estimated.
  • This would provide certainty on ending the DRC to businesses on their electricity costs and investment decisions, resulting in estimated savings of about four to eight per cent or more off their electricity bills.
  • After the IPO, Hydro One will be paying provincial corporate income taxes to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) instead of payments in-lieu of taxes to the Ontario Electrical Financial Corporation (OEFC). To ensure that OEFC continues to get these revenues to help service and pay down the stranded debt, the amendment requires the Minister of Finance to pay from the CRF to Ontario Electrical Financial Corporation (OEFC) amounts equal to what Hydro One would be paying in provincial corporate income taxes.
  • Amends the definition of municipal electricity utility to include certain corporations and entities that are exempt from the payment of tax under the Income Tax Act (Canada) and that generate, transmit, distribute or retail electricity in Ontario.

FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION ACT

  • Implements a common registration process for all transfer payment recipients.
  • Requires businesses to provide specified information to a ministry or public entity before engaging in a financial transaction with it, such as receiving public funds.
  • Allows a ministry or public agency to request this information after it has begun working with a business or advisor. 

FISCAL TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT, 2004

  • Dissolves the Ontario Economic Forecast Council. The Ministry of Finance anticipates continuing to consult with independent experts relating to macroeconomic forecasts and assumptions to be used in the preparation of the Budget and fiscal plan.

GOVERNMENT ADVERTISING ACT, 2004

  • Corrects an error in the French version of the Government Advertising Act, 2004, so the English and French versions are the same.

INCOME TAX ACT

  • Makes technical amendments, retroactive to March 31, 2006, to the calculation of an individual's medical expense tax credit for tax years ending before 2009. There is no change in practice for taxpayers. These amendments ensure correct legislative coverage for administration of the Ontario medical expenses tax credit by fixing the in-force date of Ontario provisions that were enacted in response to a federal change but have not been proclaimed in force.

LIQUOR CONTROL ACT

  • Supports the implementation of beer sales in grocery stores.
  • Empowers the LCBO to propose to revoke, suspend, renew and transfer store authorizations. This authority would be transferred to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario by regulation.
  • Requires that sales information related to individual authorized stores be kept confidential.
  • Permits the LCBO to make payments to brewers and to collect corresponding amounts from grocery stores that sell beer.

LICENCE APPEAL TRIBUNAL ACT, 1999

  • Corresponds with amendments to the Liquor Control Act.
  • Reflects the tribunal's role in hearings related to store authorizations under the Liquor Control Act.

MUNICIPAL ACT, 2001

  • Creates authority to provide municipalities with additional flexibility in the Business Property Tax Capping program, including the option to exit or phase-out from the program, if the municipality meets prescribed eligibility criteria.

PENSION BENEFITS ACT

  • Allows the existing rules for asset transfers in circumstances of a merger to apply to multi-employer pension plans as they do now for single-employer pension plans.

SECURITIES ACT

  • Expands the powers of the Ontario Securities Commission and gives it the right to participate in proceedings when it is alleged that someone has not complied with the Commission's rules governing takeover and issuer bids.
  • Exempts the Ontario, federal and other provincial and territorial governments from rules imposing registration and disclosure requirements in relation to derivatives trading.
  • Makes a technical amendment to the French version of the act.

TAXATION ACT, 2007

  • Amends the conditions for the Ontario interactive digital media tax credit.
  • Excludes from government assistance payments from the 2015 Ontario Production Services and Computer Animation and Special Effects Transitional Fund for the purposes of calculating a taxpayer's Ontario computer animation and special effects tax credit.
  • Updates references to the Income Tax Act (Canada) in relation to the Ontario Business Research Institute tax credit and the Children's Activity Tax Credit.
  • Amends the calculation of, and eligibility for, the Ontario energy and property tax credit and the Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant.
  • Clarifies the applicable tax rates in relation to capital gains refunds for taxation years beginning after 2015 when determining a mutual fund trust's Ontario capital gains refunds.

TOBACCO TAX ACT

  • Clarifies how the taxable price of cigars is determined when the retail dealer is also a wholesaler, importer or manufacturer of cigars.
  • Requires registrants to provide information to the Minister of Finance in respect of raw leaf tobacco that is damaged, lost, stolen, imported or exported.
  • Creates baling and labelling requirements in respect of raw leaf tobacco.

TRILLIUM TRUST ACT, 2014

  • Designates the Province's shares in Hydro One and Hydro One Brampton, as well as the head office lands of the LCBO and the Ontario Power Generation head office building, and the OPG Lakeview lands, as qualifying assets under the Trillium Trust Act.
  • Ensures net revenue gains from the sale of these assets would be invested in priority infrastructure projects through the Trillium Trust.

ONTARIO LOTTERY AND GAMING CORPORATION ACT, 1999

  • Authorizes the Minister of Finance to establish a grant program to support live horse racing in Ontario administered on the Minister's behalf by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation as the successor to the Horse Racing Partnership Funding Program.

HORSE RACING LICENCE ACT, 2015

  • Integrates horse racing and gaming regulation under the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and dissolves the Ontario Racing Commission.
  • Allows the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, through the Registrar of Alcohol, Gaming and Racing, to make rules for horse racing, race tracks and off-track betting facilities in Ontario, and enables the Registrar to issue, suspend and revoke licences for jockeys, trainers, grooms and other horse racing professionals.
  • Establishes a new Horse Racing Appeal Panel to adjudicate suspected breaches of the rules.
  • Empowers the Licence Appeal Tribunal to deal with appeals relating to horse racing licensing.

WORKPLACE SAFETY AND INSURANCE ACT, 1997

  • Adjusts benefit indexation for all injured workers on disability benefits beginning January 1, 2018. 
  • Ensures injured workers' benefits are indexed in the same way: all injured workers (and their survivors) would receive full Consumer Price Index indexation on the benefit amount, with a floor of zero per cent indexation and no upper limit.
  • Provides for interim increases to benefits for 2016 and 2017 to be made on pre-injury gross earnings. Injured workers on partial disability benefits would receive, by regulation:

        -   0.5 per cent indexation factor increase on January 1, 2016; and

        -   1.0 per cent indexation factor increase on January 1, 2017. 

FORFEITED CORPORATE PROPERTY ACT, 2015 AND ESCHEATS ACT, 2015

  • Mitigates risks to Ontario taxpayers that may arise when corporate property forfeits to and becomes Crown property when a company is dissolved.
  • Reduces the number of corporate properties that forfeit to the Crown.
  • Increases corporate accountability for costs associated with forfeited corporate property.
  • Increases transparency and certainty in the management and disposition of forfeited corporate property.
  • Returns forfeited property to productive use as quickly and efficiently as possible.

INTERIM APPROPRIATION FOR 2016-2017 ACT, 2015

  • Authorizes expenditures, up to specified maximum amounts, pending the voting of supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2017.
  • Legislates that all expenditures made or recognized under the act would have to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

SUPPLEMENTARY INTERIM APPROPRIATION FOR 2015-2016 ACT, 2015

  • Authorizes expenditures, up to specified maximum amounts, in addition to the expenditures authorized under the Interim Appropriation for 2015-2016 Act, 2015, pending the voting of supply for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2016.
  • Legislates that all expenditures made or recognized under this act would have to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

LABOUR RELATIONS ACT, 1995

  • Implements the recommendations of mediator Kevin Burkett by amending the construction industry provisions of the act to allow for a time-limited regulation-making authority. This limited-time authority would enable the making of a regulation that would deem certain bargaining rights created as a result of the Sarnia Working Agreement to be abandoned. It would also allow for an alternative agreement between the parties to be implemented, imposing additional rights and obligations. 

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