Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017
The Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, includes the following changes to various statutes:
Ministry of the Attorney General
- Introduce the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario Act, 2017, to recognize the merger of three Ontario accounting bodies and establish Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario as a self-regulating body.
- Amend the Succession Law Reform Act to clarify that a dependant divorced spouse is eligible to seek financial support from a former spouse's estate.
Ministry of Finance:
- Amend the Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Public Protection Act, 1996 to allow microbrewers to make beer under contract for non-microbrewers.
- Amend the Commodity Futures Act to require all clearing houses to be recognized by the Ontario Securities Commission.
- Amend the Employer Health Tax Act to include a new anti-avoidance measure.
- Provides that the Minister can prescribe by regulation public entities that will require approval under section 28 of the Financial Administration Act.
- Allow the Financial Services Tribunal to combine two or more proceedings and treat evidence admitted in one proceeding as if it were also admitted in the other proceeding without the consent of parties by amending the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Act, 1997.
- Broaden regulation making power respecting the Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO), by permitting the allocation of votes to members based on the value of their organizations' assets managed by IMCO.
- Amend the Land Transfer Tax Act to support improved administration and enforcement, including increasing fines for providing false or misleading information on First-Time Homebuyers Refund applications and applying a consistent restriction of the refund to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, as well as their spouses.
- Amend the Ministry of Revenue Act to strengthen Ontario's ability to collect debts owed to the province.
- Amend the Pension Benefits Act, including enhancing the powers of the Superintendent of Financial Services.
- Update the Securities Act to allow the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada and the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada to file their orders with the Superior Court of Justice, and have them be equally enforceable as Superior Court orders.
- Make several amendments to the Taxation Act, 2007, including matching changes to the federal small business deduction and listing excluded productions for the Ontario Computer Animation and Special Effects Tax Credit.
- Amend the Taxpayer Protection Act (TPA), 1999 to support changes to the Land Transfer Tax Act (LTTA) as part of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan. This change would exempt the introduction of the Non-Resident Speculation Tax under the LTTA from the referendum requirement of the TPA.
- Amend the Tobacco Tax Act to strengthen regulations and compliance measures, including new and increased penalties for contravening the act.
- Amend the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Act to strengthen the governance of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) by reducing the size of its board of directors and allowing former elected municipal officials and employees to be appointed as municipal representatives on the MPAC board.
- Amend the Assessment Act, City of Toronto Act, 2006, Municipal Act, 2001 and Education Act to provide greater flexibility in the design of property classes and subclasses for property tax purposes, including the creation of optional subclasses to facilitate reduced tax rates for small-scale value-added and commercial activities on farms, and providing municipalities with property tax tools to help unlock housing development opportunities as part of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan.
- Amend the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Act to allow Toronto and potentially other municipalities to implement a vacant homes property tax as part of Ontario's Fair Housing Plan.
- Amend the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Act to allow municipalities to tax transient accommodation such as hotel rooms and other short-term accommodation.
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and Ministry of Municipal Affairs:
- Amend the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to add a discretionary exemption from disclosure for information that could reasonably be expected to prejudice relations between an Indigenous community and the government or an institution, or reveal information received in confidence from an Indigenous community by an institution.
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care:
- Amend the Nursing Act to allow registered nurses to independently prescribe certain drugs to improve access to care, particularly in rural and northern communities.
- Provide the government with greater flexibility to adjust pharmacy payments under the Ontario Drug Benefit Act to obtain greater value for money for the Ontario Public Drug Programs.
Ministry of Infrastructure:
- Enable Infrastructure Ontario (IO) to continue existing loan agreements with local distribution companies (LDCs) that remain at least 90 per cent municipally owned following an amalgamation with other LDCs. LDC borrowers would still be required to be 100 per cent municipally owned to be eligible to apply for a new lO loan.
Ministry of Labour:
- Amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to expand entitlement for work related chronic and traumatic mental stress; end the Old Age Security "clawback" of benefits; ensure that all workers receive the full benefits of full indexation; ensure that the legislation and the operational practices are consistent; and provide the WSIB with explicit statutory authority to establish certain operational policies.
- Amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act to reform the Grievance Settlement Board by providing for the establishment of a roster of mediators and arbitrators and making associated changes.
Ministry of Natural Resources:
- Amend the Forest Fires Prevention Act to clarify the types of costs and expenses that the Crown can recover from a person who causes a forest fire and to increase fines for starting forest fires to a maximum of $25,000 for individuals and $500,000 for corporations.
- Amend the Ministry of Natural Resources Act to change the name of the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner to the Mining and Lands Tribunal and implement related governance changes.
- Update the Oil, Gas and Salt Resources Act to enable the regulation of compressed air energy storage projects, the underground storage of other substances and to modernize the liability protection provisions.