Legislation and Regulation Changes Coming Into Force July 1, 2015
The following legislation and regulation changes will come into effect on July 1, 2015, listed alphabetically by responsible ministry:
The Ministry of the Attorney General
To support the work of engineers, amendments to the Professional Engineers Act will strengthen requirements for licensing, establish an engineering technologist class of limited licence, clarify requirements for engineering interns, and set out eligibility requirements for former presidents and Professional Engineers Ontario employees who wish to run for its governing council. Stronger new licensing requirements for professional engineers under the Open for Business Act will also be proclaimed into force.
To help prevent fraud and improve consumer confidence when buying or selling tickets online, a new regulation under the Ticket Speculation Act will allow ticketholders to resell their tickets at more than their face value as long as the tickets are verified by the original vendor or are resold with a money-back guarantee.
Ontario is making real estate transactions faster and more convenient for buyers and sellers by allowing Ontarians to conduct land transactions electronically. Amendments to the Electronic Commerce Act will make it possible for documents, such as agreements to buy and sell houses, mortgages and deeds to be signed and emailed to a real estate agent.
Regulations under the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Act will remove the $100 maximum administrative monetary penalty for parking violations and allow the use of such penalties for accessible parking violations. These changes will give municipalities greater flexibility to address parking violations.
Amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act will establish a new process for serving applications and notices of hearing for disputes involving residential rental accommodation. With this change, in the event of a dispute, the Landlord and Tenant Board rather than the applicant will be responsible for serving these documents to the respondent unless the Landlord and Tenant Board orders otherwise.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services
The Ministry of Community and Social Services is amending a regulation under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Act to remove the remaining $1 ODSP age-related supplement for families with children aged 13-17 to reduce unnecessary complexity and simplify the rate structure. The change is being implemented in July 2015, when the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) maximum increases from $1,310 to $1,336 as a result of indexation. The regulation will also be amended to increase the ODSP Transition Child Benefit (TCB) by $1. The increase to both the OCB and the ODSP Transition Child Benefit will completely offset the impacts of removing the age-related child supplement for ODSP families with dependents aged 13-17.
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
As part of the changes to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, real estate agents will not be allowed to imply they have received an offer unless that offer is in writing. A seller's brokerage will also be required to keep records of all offers they have received for one year. Concerned buyers will also be able to ask the Real Estate Council of Ontario to verify the number of competing offers with the brokerage.
Through an amendment to the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act, debt settlement service providers can only charge fees after the debtor begins making payments to creditors, limits will be set to fees charged, and customers will be able to cancel their contract with the provider during a 10-day cooling-off period.
A regulation change under the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act will also require debt service providers to provide plain-language contracts and provide debtors with written reports on the performance of their agreement. The debt service provider must state its registered name and registration number in advertisements, and will not be able to make claims that misrepresent its services.
Regulations under the Vintners Quality Alliance Act are being amended to allow the Vintners Quality Alliance Ontario to suspend or revoke a wine approval if a winery is no longer a member. Wineries that meet certain criteria will also be allowed to market and label South Islands wines, a newly defined sub-appellation, within Lake Erie North Shore.
A regulation in the Technical Standards and Safety Act is being changed to clarify the Technical Standards and Safety Authority's risk and safety management plan requirements for small propane transfer facilities.
The Ministry of Education
Changes to the Election of Council Members regulation under the Ontario College of Teachers Act will extend the candidate nomination review period from five to 10 days to improve the candidate administration and verification process. In addition, the Election Committee will be reconstituted as the Governance Committee.
The Ministry of Energy
Energy efficiency requirements and test methods for refrigerated display cabinets -- like those used in grocery stores to display meat, dairy or pastry items -- are being enhanced through an amendment to a regulation under the Green Energy Act to align with efficiency standards in the U.S.
Amendments to a regulation under the Ontario Energy Board Act will require changes to electricity invoices, and enable the Minister of Energy to specify additional changes and require accompanying messages, related to the upcoming exemption from the Debt Retirement Charge and the new Ontario Electricity Support Program.
Regulations under the Electricity Act and the Ontario Energy Board Act are being amended to clarify the ability of electricity utilities to undertake on-bill financing for electricity conservation and demand management measures. On-bill financing helps consumers make investments in energy efficiency retrofits through repayment on the utility bill.
Regulations under the Electricity Act are being amended to ensure Industrial Conservation Initiative participants provide written consent for sharing certain information, such as company name and location, with the Ministry of Energy. The Industrial Conservation Initiative provides an incentive for large electricity consumers to shift their electricity consumption to off-peak hours to save on average 15 to 20 per cent on their energy bills.
Regulations under the Electricity Act are being amended so that low-volume customers, who are not billed through a regulated price plan or who have signed contracts with energy retailers, see two invoicing changes: line loss charges will be included as part of the delivery line, and global adjustment charges will be calculated on the basis of metered consumption.
The Electricity Act is being amended to allow the Independent Electricity System Operator (recently merged with the former Ontario Power Authority) to continue business operations related to investments and borrowing based on its operations prior to the merger.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
The Pesticides Act is being amended for the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seed to ensure treated seed is only used when there is evidence of a pest problem. Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to protect bees and other pollinators through such measures. The new rules aim to reduce the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-treated corn and soybean seeds by 80 per cent by 2017.
Amendments under the Environmental Assessment Act will simplify environmental assessments for the electrification of new or existing commuter rail corridors. This will speed up the process of expanding commuter rail service to keep Ontario moving while ensuring the environment continues to be protected.
Ontario has completed amendments to the composting standards under the Environmental Protection Act and the Nutrient Management Act. The changes allow more organic wastes to be composted and diverted from disposal, while maintaining protection of the environment and human health.
The Ministry of Finance
The Taxation Act has been amended to index the Ontario Child Benefit to inflation. This will enhance the benefits received by low‐ to moderate‐income families to help them with the cost of raising children.
A regulation under the Pension Benefits Act has been amended to allow the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital to use letters of credit to finance a portion of any solvency deficit in their pension plan.
Office of Francophone Affairs
The following organizations will be fully designated as agencies that provide services in French through a regulatory amendment under the French Language Services Act:
- Catholic Family Services of Durham / Services à la famille catholiques de Durham
- Cochrane Temiskaming Children's Treatment Centre
- Champlain Community Care Access Centre / Centre d'accès aux soins communautaires de Champlain
- North-East Community Care Access Centre / Centre d'accès aux soins communautaires du Nord-Est
These organizations asked to be designated as agencies that provide services in French.
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
An amendment to the Smoke Free Ontario Act will allow smoking on uncovered patios for veterans' organizations. This will create consistency with Royal Canadian Legions, which are already exempt from the smoking ban for uncovered patios.
The Ambulance Act and the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act are being amended to enhance oversight of the province's air ambulance service provider, provide additional powers for the Lieutenant Governor in Council and minister, as well as to designate Ornge as the province's air ambulance service provider.
Amendments to the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act will ensure the protection of personal information for patients being tested for HIV in cases where they visit an anonymous testing clinic.
A number of regulatory and statutory changes will establish a new College of Naturopaths, which will regulate the profession of naturopathy in Ontario. Related amendments will also:
- Set standards and requirements for the profession
- Allow naturopaths to collect certain specimens and list the laboratory tests that they will be able to perform and request
- Allow medical laboratory technologists to draw blood on the order of a naturopath
- Ensure that naturopaths will be able to continue to perform acupuncture
- Set standards for performing or delegating the performance of controlled acts, for example delegating the administration of therapeutic oxygen
- Bring into force other complementary amendments to support the new college
The Ministry of Labour
Amendments to a regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act will update the occupational exposure limits for 24 hazardous substances. These changes are part of the government's regular review process for hazardous substances.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
An amendment to a regulation under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act will add 20 traps for weasel and 14 traps for lynx to the list of traps that are certified by the Fur Institute of Canada and meet international humane trapping standards.
Amendments to a regulation under the Endangered Species Act will require businesses and individuals involved in certain low-risk activities, such as ongoing operations of pits and quarries, constructing, improving, maintaining or repairing certain drainage works, and maintaining certain ditches, to register online and follow rules in the Endangered Species Act or obtain a permit from the ministry. The regulation has been phased in to give individuals and businesses time to transition to the new rules, register, and prepare plans to minimize impacts to species.
The Ministry of Transportation
Ontario is updating its off-road vehicle (ORV) regulatory framework through amendments to the Highway Traffic Act. These changes will expand on-road access for ORVs that meet established industry standards while maintaining rider safety by:
- Allowing more types of ORVs and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) -- including two-up ATVs, side-by-side ATVs and utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs) -- to use the shoulder of public roads, where permitted
- Mandating that all riders -- including drivers and passengers of all ages -- wear an approved motorcycle helmet and use a seatbelt or foot rests where applicable
- Prohibiting children under the age of eight from riding as a passenger on any ATV/ORV operating on-road
- Clarifying access and exemptions for farmers and trappers
A new regulation under the Highway Traffic Act will prohibit over-dimensional farm vehicles, such as larger tractors, from using sections of Highway 3 in urban areas, including the Town of LaSalle and the City of Windsor.
Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act will allow Department of National Defence (DND) 404 military drivers' permits to be recognized as equivalents for a number of Ontario commercial and passenger licences. The change comes after the province completed an extensive review of DND licensing standards, which showed military training and testing requirements meet or exceed Ontario's licence testing standards.
An amendment to the Highway Traffic Act will exempt motor vehicle manufacturers from licence and permit requirements if all of the following criteria are met:
- Vehicles are newly manufactured and still owned by the motor vehicle manufacturer
- Vehicles are being driven by a licensed driver
- Vehicles are being driven from the place of manufacture to the shipping yard with a distance no greater than eight kilometres
- Vehicles are adequately insured
NEW FEES AND FEE INCREASES
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
The annual licence fee collected under the Grains Act for grain dealers will increase from $48 to $100. The fee will allow grain dealers to continue participating on the Financial Responsibility Review Committee, which provides support, advice and recommendations to the chief inspector for the Grain Financial Protection Program. This is the first fee increase in 25 years.
Amendments to regulations under the Farm Products Marketing Act will regulate and set a licence fee for oat and barley producers. Oat and barley producers who sell their crops commercially will pay a licence fee per tonne on those sales. For oat, barley and mixed grain production, the fee will be $1.65, $1.30, and $1.65 per tonne, respectively. The amendments were completed with the support of the Grain Farmers of Ontario, at the request of oat and barley producers to provide new resources that will support and sustain growth in the sector.
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
An amendment to the Long-Term Care Homes Act and the Health Insurance Act will adjust the co-payment for long-term care accommodation and chronic care accommodation to account for inflationary increases. In addition, to support the redevelopment of older beds, premiums for semi-private and private accommodations in long-term care homes will be increased by $1 and $1.75 respectively.
Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
The Ontario Northland Transportation Commission is increasing motor coach fares by six per cent and express bus parcel shipping costs by 10 per cent. ONTC will be reviewing these fares and rates annually.
Ministry of Transportation
Two new regulations under the Highway 407 East Act will help keep Ontario goods and people moving by allowing for the collection and enforcement of tolls, and by prescribing tolls payable for driving on Highway 407 East until May 31, 2017.
Fees collected under the Highway Traffic Act related to a roadside licence suspension for impaired driving as well as fees for reinstating a suspended driver's licence will both be increased from $150 to $180. These are the first fee increase since 2007 and 2004 respectively. The increases will help support the maintenance of Ontario's transportation infrastructure and recover the cost of delivering and administering programs.