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Regulation and Fee Changes Coming Into Force January 1, 2016

Archived Backgrounder

Regulation and Fee Changes Coming Into Force January 1, 2016

Office of the Premier

The following legislative and regulation changes will come into effect on January 1, 2016, listed alphabetically by responsible ministry:

Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs 

The Métis Nation of Ontario Secretariat Act will recognize the unique governance structure of the Secretariat within the boundaries of existing provincial corporate law.  

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs 

A number of regulatory amendments for maple products come into effect under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 including: 

  • Aligning maple syrup grading and colour classification standards with federal standards to allow for more consistent labelling
  • Requiring that material used in the manufacturing and packaging of maple products or maple sap be from food-grade material
  • Requiring all maple syrup to include a code to assist in tracing product to enhance food safety. 

Changes to regulations under the Farm Products Marketing Act are being made to include apricot production and marketing within the mandate of the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers' Marketing Board. 

Ministry of the Attorney General 

Amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act come into force and require the online posting of expense information for Members of Provincial Parliament. The act also requires the online posting of the rules respecting those expenses. 

Amendments to the Ombudsman Act come into force expanding the Ontario Ombudsman's oversight to cover municipalities and publicly assisted universities. 

A regulation under the Ombudsman Act will exempt certain local boards in the municipal sector from the Ombudsman's oversight, as oversight systems already exist for local boards. The exemptions in the regulation are similar to the municipal ombudsman framework in the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act. The exclusions are: 

  • children's aid societies
  • boards of health
  • committees of management established under the Long-Term Care Homes Act
  • police services boards
  • public library boards. 

An amendment to the Architects Act will establish mandatory minimum claim limits for the professional liability insurance that architects holding Certificates of Practice are required to carry. These limits will better protect the public, as they will more accurately reflect the current value of property and architectural projects in Ontario. 

A regulation under the Law Society Act was amended so lawyers and paralegals will no longer be required to submit information about mixed trust account balances in their annual report to the Law Foundation. Instead, they will be required to submit this information as part of their annual report to the Law Society of Upper Canada. 

A regulation under the Courts of Justice Act will introduce changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure to clarify and improve procedures regarding estates. In particular, it will require individuals to provide "proof of death" when applying for a certificate of appointment of estate trustee. This certificate provides the individual with the authority of an executor, allowing them to manage and distribute the estate of the deceased.    

Ministry of Community and Social Services

The new Healthy Smiles Ontario Program will integrate six publicly funded dental programs into one, to make it easier for children and youth from low-income families to get free dental care. To implement the new integrated Healthy Smiles Ontario Program on January 1, 2016, regulations in both the Ontario Works Act and the Ontario Disability Support Act will be amended to: 

  • Transfer the provision of dental services for children and youth under 18 in families receiving social assistance to the new Healthy Smiles Ontario Program.
  • Transfer dental services for children and youth under 18 who reside in a First Nations geographic area from Ontario Works to Healthy Smiles Ontario, effective January 1, 2017.
  • Amend a cost-sharing regulation in the Ontario Works Act to ensure the province pays 100 per cent of the cost of these dental services beginning August 1, 2015. 

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services 

A regulation under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act will implement new and enhanced standards of care to better ensure the well-being of marine mammals. The regulation sets out standards in such areas as nutrition, reproduction, light and noise exposure, water quality, enclosures, and access to qualified veterinary care. 

The regulation also establishes administrative requirements to strengthen accountability through mandatory record keeping, and enhancing animal management and care through the creation of an animal welfare committee and individual animal welfare plans. The regulation's requirements for facilities with marine mammals will be phased in beginning in early 2016. 

Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure 

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, organizations must meet certain standards by January 1, 2016:

  • Large private/non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees must be in compliance with the accessibility standard for employment by making hiring and employee support practices accessible; they must also make public information accessible when asked
  • Private sector organizations with 1 to 49 employees must train all employees and volunteers on the accessibility requirements that apply to their job duties and the organization, as well as make their feedback processes, like surveys and comments cards, accessible when asked
  • All public sector organizations (e.g., municipalities, hospitals and schools) with one or more employee(s) must meet the accessibility standard for the design of public spaces by making new and redeveloped public spaces accessible (e.g., parking lots, recreational trails, service counters).
  • Public sector organizations with 1 to 49 employees must make public information (e.g., emergency plans and procedures, company policies) accessible when asked
  • All Government of Ontario and Legislative Assembly internet websites and web content must conform with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA  (excluding audio descriptions and live captioning)
  • All public sector and private/non-profit organizations must continue to be in compliance with requirements that have already come into force, such as providing accessible customer service training and feedback processes. 

Ministry of Education 

A new regulation under the Early Childhood Educators Act will require mandatory participation for all members of the College of Early Childhood Educators in the College's Continuous Professional Learning program. This program helps to promote high standards and quality assurance to best serve and protect the public interest. 

Ministry of Energy 

The Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) cost will be removed from residential users' electricity bills, saving a typical user about $70 per year. The DRC helped to pay off the remaining debt from the former Ontario Hydro. As planned, the five-year Ontario Clean Energy Benefit that gives eligible customers 10 per cent off their electricity bill will also come to an end. 

A regulation under the Green Energy Act sets energy efficiency standards for a broad range of appliances and products that are sold or leased in Ontario. An amendment to the regulation will set and revise efficiency standards for 18 products, such as natural gas commercial boilers, computer room air conditioners, furnace fans and water chillers. 

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change 

An amendment to a regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act will revise standards and reporting requirements for drinking water testing to include some solvents and refrigerants that include trihalomethanes. The amendment will also remove 13 pesticides that are no longer used commercially from drinking water testing because they have not been present in any drinking water systems in Ontario for more than 10 years. These changes will make Ontario's testing approach consistent with internationally recognized scientific research and expert advice for these substances. The updated standards align with or are more stringent than current national guidelines 

A regulation under the Environmental Protection Act for greenhouse gas emissions reporting has been amended to require new entities to report their emissions and to lower the reporting threshold. The amendments bring Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions reporting requirements in line with Québec and California -- jurisdictions that already have a cap and trade program. 

Ministry of Finance 

To help lower auto insurance rates, all insurance companies in Ontario must provide a discount for drivers who buy and install winter tires. 

Currently, administrators of a pension plan file a statement of investment policies and procedures (SIPP) with the Financial Services Commission of Ontario. An amendment to a regulation under the Pensions Benefits Act will now require the administrator of a pension plan to file a SIPP that includes information as to whether environmental, social and governance factors are incorporated into the plan's investment policies and procedures and, if so, how those factors are incorporated. 

An amendment to a regulation under the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act will prohibit credit unions from promoting insurance products on their websites that they are not currently permitted to promote in their branches. It will ensure that Ontario's rules for credit unions promoting insurance products remain harmonized with the federal rules applicable to banks. 

Further to a commitment in the 2014 Budget, an amendment to a regulation under the Assessment Act would exempt non-profit long-term care homes from property tax. This would provide consistent and equitable property tax treatment to all eligible non-profit long-term care homes.  

Under the Mortgage Brokerages, Lenders and Administrators Act, changes will be made for people who are buying a home and have a mortgage. Currently, brokerages cannot accept any fee in advance if the principal amount of the mortgage is $300,000 or less. This amount has been changed to $400,000 or less. 

Under the Taxation Act, the way Ontario taxes trusts, including estates, will be changed to align with the federal approach of applying the highest personal income tax rate to all trusts, with some exceptions. The federal approach will limit tax planning opportunities and improve tax fairness and neutrality. 

Graduated federal rates will continue to apply for the first 36 months of eligible estates (Graduated Rate Estates, or GREs) and to trusts created as a consequence of the death of an individual that have beneficiaries eligible for the federal Disability Tax Credit (Qualified Disability Trusts, or QDTs). Graduated Ontario rates and the Ontario surtax will continue to apply to GREs and QDTs taxable in Ontario. All other trusts (top-rate trusts) taxable in Ontario will pay the province's top marginal personal income tax rate of 20.53 per cent on all of their taxable income. 

The Ontario tax credit rate for charitable donations over $200 will be raised to 17.41 per cent for top-rate trusts. This higher rate is consistent with the maximum benefit of the credit for individuals who pay the Ontario surtax. 

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services 

A regulation under the Technical Standards and Safety Act was amended that requires propane operators to carry insurance in order to be licensed in Ontario. This change was recommended by the Propane Safety Review Panel. 

Amendments to both the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act require an organization to develop, document and preserve its records. If an individual alters, conceals or destroys a record to prevent someone from accessing it, they will be fined up to $5,000. 

A regulation under the Corporations Act was amended to prevent non-profit organizations from registering with a business name that is restricted under federal and provincial law. 

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care 

The government is committed to a smoke-free Ontario, especially when it comes to preventing young people from taking up smoking. 

  • Regulations under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act will be amended to prohibit the smoking of tobacco on the outdoor grounds of hospitals and psychiatric facilities; and to prohibit smoking and the sale of tobacco on certain Ontario government properties.
  • Also on January 1, a legislative change to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco will come into force. This will help protect youth from the harmful effects of smoking because flavoured tobacco is more appealing to youth. A supporting regulation will come into force that exempts certain flavoured tobacco products from the ban. 

Regulations under the Electronic Cigarettes Act will come into force that: 

  • Prohibit sales of e-cigarettes to youth
  • Require e-cigarette retailers to have appropriate signage. 

To support enforcement of these new restrictions, a regulation under the Provincial Offences Act will also be amended. 

A regulation under the Long-Term Care Homes Act will be amended to update the qualifications for personal support workers in long-term care homesto reflect the new common standard across educational institutions. 

Housekeeping regulation changes under the Health Insurance Act will come into force, including deleting obsolete references to Practitioner Review Committees and revoking obsolete provisions concerning the appointment of members to the Practitioner Review Committees. 

Housekeeping regulation changes under the Health Protection and Promotion Act will come into force that modernize the list of school health programs and services that public health units provide. 

Housekeeping regulation changes under the Personal Health Information Protection Act will come into force. These changes will allow the Cardiac Care Network to compile and maintain information on vascular services, in addition to cardiac services. The Canadian Stroke Network's status as a prescribed registry will be revoked, as this group has been decommissioned. 

Ministry of Labour 

Regulatory changes under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) will help firefighters and their families get the support and care they need by adding cancers to the list of diseases presumed to be related to their work, making it easier for firefighters to qualify for benefits. Lung cancer will be added on January 1, 2016. This is in addition to breast cancer, multiple myeloma and testicular cancer, which were added in 2014, and prostate cancer, which was added in 2015. 

Additional regulatory amendments under the WSIA will provide workers who currently receive partial disability benefits from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board with an indexation factor increase of 0.5 per cent on January 1, 2016. This is part of a staged approach to provide all injured workers with full indexation.  Starting January 1, 2018, all workers' compensation benefits will be fully indexed to the Consumer Price Index on the benefit amount, with no upper limit. 

The Construction Projects Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act was amended to strengthen fall protection measures by mandating a hierarchy of fall protection methods and the use of fall protection equipment on boom-type elevating work platforms and vehicle-mounted aerial devices. Another amendment extends the current requirement for operators of vehicles to be competent to include powered machines, tools or equipment.  

Amendments were also made to the Mines and Mining Plants Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to strengthen safety requirements for workers who perform work on electrical equipment or do locking or tagging to prevent the release of hazardous energy. 

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 

Amendments to the regulations under the Development Charges Act will help municipalities generate more money to pay for transit services and waste diversion, and will increase clarity, transparency and accountability. 

Amendments to regulations under the Housing Services Act will exempt from the Land Transfer Tax Act the transfer of Thunder Bay District Housing Corporation non-profit social housing projects to the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board. This exemption will result in savings for the municipality of Thunder Bay, and the transfer will ensure the effective management of social housing stock.

Additional amendments to regulations under the Act will exempt the transfer of two multi-residential buildings, developed as part of the Athletes' Village for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The buildings will be sold to Wigwamen Incorporated and the Fred Victor Centre, both non-profit housing corporations. Affordable housing forms part of the government's legacy of the Pan Am Games. The land transfer tax exemption is part of the government's contribution to the 243 new affordable rental housing units.

Amendments to regulations under the Planning Act to provide municipalities with more decision- making authority will: 

  • Give four southern and four northern municipalities the ability to approve their own official plan amendments
  • Allow three northern municipalities to approve subdivision and condominium applications within their boundaries
  • Provide two northern municipalities the authority to approve foreclosures, exercise powers of sale and issue validation certificates.

The Building Code is being amended to require that maintenance inspections of septic systems be done in certain areas within 100 metres of the shoreline of Lake Simcoe and within 100 metres of other lakes, ponds, permanent rivers or streams in the Lake Simcoe watershed area within five years of January 1, 2016. This is the second series of inspection requirements -- the first came into effect in 2011 -- and is part of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.

Changes to the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Act, as part of the expanded oversight of the provincial ombudsman to the municipal sector, would remove outdated cross-references. The amendments will also require that local meetings be held in closed sessions when ongoing provincial or local ombudsman investigations are being discussed.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Amendments to regulations under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act will: 

  • Delay the start of moose hunting seasons by one week across much of Northern Ontario for resident and non-resident hunters
  • Allow for trappers and farmers to use a relaxing cable restraint, a type of trapping device that allows for live capture of animals, to trap wolves and coyotes under specific conditions.

A regulatory amendment under the Aggregate Resources Act will make aggregate operations on private lands in the geographic townships of Gorham and Ware in the Thunder Bay area subject to the requirements under the Act.

An amendment to a regulation under the Forest Fires Prevention Act will require major industrial sectors, such as mining, power generation and transmission, to undertake specific measures to prevent industrial-caused wildland fires.

Ministry of Transportation

Beginning January 1, 2016, Ontario will become the first province in Canada to test automated vehicle (AV) technology on-road. AVs are driverless or self-driving vehicles that are capable of detecting the surrounding environment using artificial intelligence, sensors and global positioning system coordinates. All interested applicants may apply online for consideration in the AV pilot program.

A number of Highway Traffic Act regulations have been amended to: 

  • Allow municipalities to mail certain traffic tickets to out-of-province vehicle licence plate owners and to allow Ontario courts to accept evidence from other jurisdictions for the purposes of prosecution.
  • Require drivers to remain stopped at a pedestrian crossover or school crossing until the person crossing the street and the school crossing guard are off the roadway. The current act allows drivers to proceed once the person crossing and the school crossing guard are no longer on the driver's half of the roadway.  These rules do not apply at stop signs or traffic signals, unless a crossing guard is present.
  • Require drivers to stop before entering the crossover and not overtake another vehicle already stopped at the crossover.
  • Prohibit pedestrians from entering a crossover and into the path of a vehicle or street car that is so close that the driver cannot stop.
  • Authorize the Minister of Transportation to make regulations respecting pedestrian crossovers, including proposing signs and markings.
  • Make available a new Manufacturer Licence Plate to motor vehicle and motor vehicle component manufacturers for vehicles they are using solely for the purposes of testing, demonstration, evaluation and exhibition.
  • Enable road authorities to install new types of pedestrian crossovers on low-volume, low-speed roads. 

 Office of Francophone Affairs

The University of Ottawa will be designated as an agency that will partially provide services in French under the French Language Services Act - Designation of Public Service Agencies regulation.

Treasury Board Secretariat

As part of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, the government is moving forward with amendments to strengthen oversight, transparency and accountability across government and the Broader Public Sector. These changes will: 

  • Require that ‎expense information for Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Leaders of the Opposition and their respective staff be publicly posted online. Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants and their staff have voluntarily posted expense information since 2010.

Ensure that effective January 1, 2016, designated Broader Public Sector organizations will be required to publicly post their business plans and other business or financial documents online.


Ministry of the Attorney General

The fee applied to unpaid fines under the Provincial Offences Act (POA) will increase from $20 to $40. This increase will encourage the prompt payment of POA fines and will allow municipalities to offset the costs of fine enforcement. This fee has not been increased since 1992. All revenue from this fee goes to municipalities.

Ministry of Energy

The Ontario Electricity Support Program (OESP) lowers electricity bills for low-income households by applying a credit to eligible customers' bills. To help support the program, a new charge will be applied to electricity bills. The charge will amount to about $1 on a typical residential electricity bill each month.

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

Through a regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, fees to certify system operators and water quality analysts will increase to ensure they are in line with the costs of running the program. This is the first fee increase since 2004. The fee changes include: 

  • Operator-in-training exam fee will increase from $30 to $50
  • Operator-in-training certificate fee will increase from $30 to $40
  • Drinking water exam fee will increase from $75 to $140
  • Issuing a drinking water certificate will increase from $115 to $175
  • Renewing a drinking water certificate will increase from $115 to $145
  • Issuing a limited system certificate will increase from $115 to $150
  • Classifying a facility will increase from $150 to $475
  • Assessing a course will increase from $50 (plus $30 per Continuing Education Unit) to a flat rate of $175 per course
  • Renewing a wastewater certificate will increase from $75 to $145. 

Through a regulation under the Ontario Water Resources Act, the fees to certify sewage works operators will increase to ensure they are in line with the costs of running the program. This is the first fee increase since 2004. The fee changes include: 

  • A new $40 fee to get an operator-in-training certificate
  • A new $475 fee to have a wastewater facility classified
  • A new $175 fee for a course assessment
  • Wastewater operator-in-training exam fee will increase from $30 to $50
  • Wastewater exam fee will increase from $75 to $140
  • Issuing a wastewater licence will increase from $115 to $175
  • Renewing a wastewater licence will increase from $115 to $145. 

Through an amendment to a regulation under the Environmental Protection Act, the fee for those who generate hazardous waste, such as biomedical wastes and waste pesticides, will increase from $10 to $20 per tonne to ensure the program achieves its environmental objectives and remains sustainable in the long term. Hazardous waste fees have not increased since their implementation in 2002. 

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services 

ON1Call is reducing fees on its members by reducing standard locate notification costs from $1.40 to $1.10. ON1Call routes requests from homeowners, contractors and excavators to utilities for the purpose of locating underground gas, electrical and telecommunication lines, and water and sewer mains to avoid damages and promote safety. 

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care 

A new regulation under the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act will come into force that establishes a fee of $360 for the approval of x-ray machine installation. Public hospitals and educational institutions will not be required to pay the fee. 

Ministry of Labour 

The Materials Testing Laboratory tests wire ropes used for transporting people and materials in mines. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the fees for Ontario mines and mining plants have been amended. For mines and other workplaces outside of Ontario, the fees for destructive testing of wire samples will also increase. The increases, which start on January 1, 2016 and will be phased in over three years, will ensure that fees are in line with the costs of running the program.‎ 

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing 

The fee to file an appeal under the Line Fences Act will increase from $308 to $311. The act deals with the arbitration of fencing disputes. The fee is linked to inflation and is adjusted every year on January 1. 

There will be fee increases under the Building Code for: 

  • Minister's ruling applications from $568.40 to $582.
  • Building Code Commission applications from $172.60 to $177.
  • Registrations, renewals and reinstatements for building officials, other designers and on-site sewage inspectors from $105 to $107.
  • Registrations and reinstatements for registered code agencies from $395 to $404.
  • Renewals of registration for registered code agencies from $290 to $297.
  • Additions of a new class of registration for registered code agencies from $65 to $67.
  • Registrations and reinstatements for designer firms from $165 to $169.
  • Renewals of registrations for designer firms from $125 to $128.
  • Additions of a new class of registration for designer firms from $35 to $36.
  • Applications to the Building Materials Evaluation Commission from $5,000 to $7,000.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry 

The following fees under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act will increase: 

  • The royalty paid by commercial fishers, from 3.3 per cent to 4.0 per cent for fish harvested
  • The annual fee for a Commercial Fishing Licence for less than 15,000 lbs. annual catch weight, from $25 to $54.56
  • The annual fee for a Commercial Fish Licence for greater than 15,000 lbs. annual catch weight, from $100 to $218.56. 

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport 

The fee for a Class 3 sight-seeing vehicle licence at the Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) will increase from $55 to $60 per day. A Class 3 sight-seeing vehicle is a charter bus or similar vehicle that gives tours no more than one day a week on NPC property. It does not include tour vehicles carrying passengers on a school trip. 

Ministry of Transportation 

Changes to fees allow the government to keep costs down for manufacturing and industry, while maintaining safe highways and bridges by making further investments in infrastructure. 

The annual fee for dealer/service plate validation and motorcycle dealer/service plate validation under the Highway Traffic Act will increase as follows: 

  • Dealer/Service plate validation increasing from $156 to $172
  • Motorcycle Dealer/Service plate validation increasing from $87 to $96. 

The annual fee for vehicle and trailer permits under the Highway Traffic Act will increase as follows: 

  • Vehicle permit, number plate and validation fees for a trailer from $53 to $59
  • Permit for motor vehicle and trailer from $14 to $20. 

The annual validation fee for farm vehicles collected under the Highway Traffic Act will increase from $123-$975 to $140-$1,110. 

Oversize/overweight permit fees for commercial carriers will slightly increase as follows: 

  • Annual permit fee from $400 to $440
  • Project permit fee from $260 to $286
  • Amendment to an existing permit from $15 to $16.50. 

A new fee of $50 will be charged for drivers who attend demerit point interviews as a result of poor driving behaviour, to cover the costs of the interview. In addition, an amendment to a regulation under the Highway Traffic Act will come into effect that will allow for the cancellation of driver's licences for those who do not pay the demerit point interview fee.



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