Regulation and Fee Changes Coming Into Force July 1, 2016
The following legislation and regulation changes will come into effect on July 1, 2016, listed alphabetically by responsible ministry:
Accessibility Directorate of Ontario
A regulation under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 will be updated to create a more accessible customer experience across Ontario. Based on recommendations from the Accessibility Standards Advisory Council/Standards Development Committee, changes will clarify requirements for businesses, make it easier for organizations to understand their obligations and align it with other accessibility standards. For example, obligated organizations will need to train all employees and volunteers on how to interact with people with different disabilities.
Ontario is also increasing the number of Regulated Health Professionals who can prescribe the use of a service animal. All organizations must still comply with the standard and submit reports on time.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Amendments to the French version of the Beef Cattle Marketing Act will correct discrepancies between the English and French versions of the act, making the French version consistent with the English version.
Regulatory changes under the Food Safety and Quality Act will mean potatoes for sale in Ontario will no longer be required to be packed in specified container sizes as set out in the Produce, Honey and Maple Products regulation. Any containers used will still need to be suitable to hold potatoes, and requirements for grading, packing and container sizes will align requirements for potatoes with those that currently apply to other kinds of produce. To provide helpful information to consumers, yellow-fleshed potato varieties will continue to require labelling. Corresponding changes will also be made to the French version of the regulation.
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ontario is making a number of regulatory changes to the Courts of Justice Act to help clarify family law rules and procedures with respect to the service of documents by a courier, cost awards and procedures. The Family Law Rules are also being amended to extend the term of the Family Case Manager, who has the authority to hear certain types of motions, make specified orders and hold case, settlement and trial management conferences in family cases. This position will be extended for an additional five years in the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa.
The Courts of Justice Act will be updated to reflect that justices of the peace are able to remain in office until the age of 75.
A regulation under the Professional Engineers Act will be amended to specify performance standards for conducting structural reviews of tower cranes before and after they are constructed and begin operation. Changes also include a number of minor corrections to the performance standards, such as clarifying the requirements of evaluation reports for drinking water systems and the addition of headings to each report section.
A number of regulatory changes are being made to the Liquor Licence Act:
- Requiring all stores that sell liquor to post signs warning of the dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant
- Allowing manufacturers of beverage alcohol to have a bar or restaurant at each of their licensed manufacturing sites
- Allowing patrons at a beverage alcohol manufacturing site (e.g., a winery or brewery) with an open serving of liquor (e.g., a glass of wine) to travel from one licensed area (e.g., an on-site store, restaurant or tour area) to another while holding that same serving of liquor
- Allowing patrons at a beverage alcohol manufacturing site (e.g., a winery, brewery or distillery) to purchase liquor from the manufacturer's on-site store when they are at an on-site restaurant
- Increasing the amount of liquor that a beverage alcohol manufacturer's representative can have on hand from 180 to 360 litres
- Allowing liquor to be auctioned for charity at special occasions, and expanding the ability to serve homemade wine and beer from religious occasions (e.g., religious weddings) to any special family occasion at a location requiring a special occasion permit, such as an event hall
- Allowing employees of beer- and wine-making shops to move large containers used to make beer or wine to other premises, if, for example, the business changes its location; the changes will also allow a designate to complete a customer's batch of beer or wine in the event the customer is not able to attend in person (e.g., injury)
- Requiring that every person who provides samples of liquor for licensed manufacturers, such as a winery or brewery, receive training in responsible service
- Eliminating the requirement that the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario must approve advertising by licensed manufacturers, to be consistent with other liquor licences.
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Ontario is establishing new rules to regulate and govern the collection and retention of identifying information, also known as street checks, which will help ensure that identifying information collected through interactions with police is voluntary. On July 1, 2016, some sections of the new regulation will come into force that require police services boards to develop policies on annual reporting, document issuance and data retention requirements; and chiefs of police to develop associated procedures.
Ministry of Energy
Changes to the Energy Statute Law Amendment Act will replace the current electricity planning process known as the Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP) with an enhanced Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) process that is efficient, supported by robust stakeholder consultations and responsive to an evolving energy sector.
Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
A new regulation under the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act outlines detailed requirements for businesses and institutions participating in the cap and trade program, including:
- Greenhouse gas emission caps
- Entities covered by the program
- Auction and sale of allowances
- Distribution of allowances
A cap and trade program is a proven and cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change by giving polluters an incentive to cut emissions. It creates a price on carbon emissions by limiting the amount of greenhouse gas pollution that can come from the economy (the cap) and then allowing those covered by the cap to trade among themselves (the trade) in a flexible and cost-effective way.
A regulation under the Environmental Bill of Rights will be amended to require more ministries to use the Environmental Registry to consult with the public on government decisions that could impact the environment.
Ontario amended the Local Air Quality regulation in June 2011, introducing new air standards that have been phased in over the last five years. Effective July 1, 2016, new or updated air standards are in place for the following nine substances:
- Butadiene, 1,3-
- Chromium compounds (hexavalent forms)
- Chromium compounds (metallic, divalent and trivalent forms)
- Dioxins, furans, and dioxin-like PCBs
- Manganese and manganese compounds
- Nickel and nickel compounds
- Uranium and uranium compounds
Ministry of Finance
A number of regulatory changes come into effect under the Pension Benefits Act, including:
- The implementation of the 2016 Agreement Respecting Multi-Jurisdictional Pension Plans, including five signatories: Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. It replaces the 2011 agreement between Ontario and Québec regarding the administration of pension plans that operate in more than one jurisdiction
- Allowing the rules that apply to single-employer pension plans in circumstances of a merger to apply also to multi-employer pension plans
- Providing pension plan members and former and retired members with greater knowledge by requiring pension plan statements to include information about the statement of investment policies and procedures (SIPP), such as whether and how environmental, social and governance factors are incorporated in the SIPP.
To improve access to information for people insured under group insurance policies, amendments under the Insurance Act will allow a person/claimant under a group life, accident or sickness insurance policy to receive a copy of that policy, while specifying what information should not be released.
An amendment to the Securities Act improves protections for investors by broadening insider trading offences to include a new prohibition against a person or company that has knowledge of material, non-public information from recommending someone purchase or sell a security. Related insider trading defences have been updated in regulations, as well.
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Amendments to a regulation under the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure) will reduce the burden on businesses by providing more efficient ways to disclose documents. It is now clear that businesses can send disclosure documents to prospective franchisees electronically or by courier. As well, rescission notices can be sent by pre-paid courier.
In response to industry requests, amendments to regulations under the Vintners Quality Alliance Act will allow VQA logos or letters on wine closures and lower the minimum sugar content of Muscat grape varieties for some wines.
Amendments to a regulation under the Wireless Services Agreements Act clarify how provisions are applied to reduce compliance burden, and avoid consumer and business confusion. For example, the changes make it clear that the act does not apply to prepaid wireless services. As well, it clarifies when to use addendum documents to update copies of contracts.
Amendments have been made to the regulation under the Travel Industry Act to reduce the burden on business. Businesses that exclusively offer one-day tours are now exempt from the Travel Industry Act requirements. As well, certain not-for-profit corporations promoting tourism in Ontario will be exempt from some registration and operating requirements. These amendments will help businesses in the travel sector grow and prosper.
The new changes under the Repair and Storage Liens Act impact the length of the notice period, the methods to provide notice, as well as the determination of "fair value" of repair and storage where an amount is not agreed upon. The period during which a storer has to provide written notice of a lien has been reduced from 60 days to 15 days after the day the vehicle is received (for vehicles registered in Ontario). This applies where an article subject to a lien was received from a person other than its owner or a person having its owner's authority. Notice can be given by fax, electronic transmission, delivered personally, by prepaid courier or by certified or registered mail. There is also a new list of discretionary factors for a judge to consider when "fair value" of services is determined in court.
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
The Lieutenant Governor in Council is officially appointing Christine Elliott as Ontario's first-ever Patient Ombudsman. The province has made legislative and regulatory changes in order to create the role of Patient Ombudsman.
As of July 4, 2016, the first business day of the month, the Patient Ombudsman office will be able to receive and respond to complaints from patients about public hospitals, long-term care homes and Community Care Access Centres, in order to help meet the needs of patients who have not had their concerns resolved through existing complaint mechanisms. Starting July 4, Ontarians can connect with the Patient Ombudsman:
- By mail at:
Box 130, 77 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1N3
- By telephone at: 1-888-321-0339
- Online at: www.patientombudsman.ca
Ontario is proclaiming into force amendments to the Excellent Care for All Act to set out the functions and powers of the Patient Ombudsman, which include:
- Investigating, helping to resolve, reporting on and responding to complaints about the health care system made by patients, former patients and caregivers
- Investigating health sector organizations on her own initiative
- Making recommendations to health sector organizations following investigations
- Reporting to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on her activities and recommendations, and to Local Health Integration Networks as appropriate.
The amendments will also expand the mandate of Health Quality Ontario to include responsibility for supporting the Patient Ombudsman.
Ontario is making other regulatory changes under the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 to:
- Define the term "caregiver" for the purposes of the act and regulations, including new provisions relating to the functions of the Patient Ombudsman and patient relations. The definition will replace a narrower definition of "caregiver," which is being revoked. The new definition includes any individuals who provide or have provided care or support to a current or former patient, Community Care Access Centre client, or long-term care home resident.
- Revoke a regulation that restricts the authority of Health Quality Ontario (HQO) to collect personal health information. After the amendments to the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 come into force, this regulation will no longer be necessary, as the restriction on HQO's authority in respect of personal health information will be addressed in the act.
Other Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care changes effective July 1:
Regulations under both the Health Insurance Act and the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 have been amended to update the co-payment amount charged to hospital chronic care patients and long-term care home residents. The co-payments, which contribute to the cost of meals and accommodation, are increasing by 1.1 per cent to reflect inflationary increases to the costs of providing food and accommodation. This annual inflationary increase is consistent with previous years.
Housekeeping changes are being made to sections of Ontario Regulation 201/96 pertaining to pharmacy claim submissions under the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program. The minor changes include:
- Removing outdated dispensing physician offsets, which, although included in the regulation, were never implemented in practice
- Revising the two dispensing fees per month (30-day) policy to two dispensing fees per 28 days to streamline the dispensing and claims submission process for pharmacies that dispense medications to ODB recipients in weekly (7-day) increments.
Ministry of Housing
Amendments to regulations under the Housing Services Act, 2011 and amendments to the Ontario Housing Policy Statement will help improve the support and sustainability of affordable housing in Ontario. The changes will:
- Amend and rename the Ontario Housing Policy Statement to reflect the overall vision and goals of the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy Update, the goal to end chronic homelessness, and the four provincial priority areas for ending homelessness
- Remove the requirement for public housing projects to be comprised of as many rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units as possible and expand the range of organizations that can own non-profit housing projects. This will give municipalities the flexibility they need to create more mixed-income communities and help sustain their existing housing stock.
Ontario is also exempting income from scholarships, bursaries and fellowships for a student as part of their household's RGI calculation, as well as increasing the amount of money that can be held in a non-interest-bearing bank account without affecting a household's RGI calculation.
Ministry of Labour
Amendments coming into force under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and various regulations under it include:
- Adopting new international standards for providing employers and workers with consistent health and safety information about hazardous workplace chemicals (e.g., on labels)
- Extending noise protection to all workplaces covered under the act, including construction projects, health care facilities, schools, farming operations, fire services, police services and amusement parks. Examples of protective measures include engineering controls, such as sound barrier walls, to reduce noise at the source; limiting a worker's exposure time; and wearing hearing protection devices
- Strengthening requirements for high-visibility safety apparel and headgear for workers in mines, which now have to meet certain prescribed criteria and be maintained in good condition
- Enhancing and clarifying requirements regarding conveyors used for mining, specifically requirements for guarding and emergency stopping devices/pull cords
- Updating training requirements for surface diamond drill operations to reflect changes to the modular training program
- Requiring employers to take appropriate safety measures to ensure construction workers are protected from hazardous concentrations of biological and chemical substances
- Introducing new technical and operational safety requirements for the safe operation of drill rigs, including new training requirements for rig operators
- Enhancing and clarifying provisions relating to exposure to carbon monoxide, and other fumes and gases, released from internal combustion engines for workers on construction projects
- Enhancing and clarifying provisions relating to the use of portable ladders.
Amendments under the Registered Human Resources Professionals Act will contain a listing of the 12 professional designations and initials that members of the Human Resource Professionals Association may use. Seven of the designations currently exist, and the remaining five will be added as new designations as part of this change.
The Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997 (PSLRTA) provides a neutral framework to resolve labour relations issues that arise from certain types of restructuring in the broader public sector. Starting on July 1, if there is an event to which the PSLRTA applies and a union represents at least 80 per cent of employees in the new bargaining unit, that union will be ordered to be the bargaining agent for the new bargaining unit without a representation vote. This regulation will help reduce the potential for disruption and delay for workers in the broader public sector when there are changes to bargaining units, following events such as amalgamations or restructurings to which the PSLRTA applies. The threshold percentage was determined after consultation with stakeholders.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs
Amendments to regulations under the Municipal Act, 2001 and City of Toronto Act, 2006 will expand municipalities' ability to give financial assistance to municipal/city services corporations that provide affordable housing.
Changes to the Planning Act will give residents a better understanding of the planning process in their communities and a greater say in how they grow. In turn, communities will have more independence, be better able to resolve planning disputes, and be given tools to manage their official plans and growth more effectively.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
An amendment to a regulation under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act will add 15 traps for otter to the list of traps that meet international humane trapping standards. This will allow Ontario trappers to choose from the full range of approved traps and ensure continued market access for Ontario fur products in the European Union.
Ministry of Transportation
On July 1, 2016, a new safety inspection standard that will modernise the inspection of passenger and light duty vehicles in Ontario will come into effect. The new standard incorporates a more detailed inspection of safety-related items and includes provisions for evolving vehicle technologies.
Ontario is updating its off-road vehicle (ORV) regulatory framework through amendments to the Highway Traffic Act and the Off-Road Vehicles Act. These changes will better reflect Ontario's current highway network and sections where ORVs are prohibited or permitted.
Treasury Board Secretariat
Changes to the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 will give the Integrity Commissioner the authority to investigate alleged violations of the act, the ability to prohibit lobbying for up to two years and the ability to provide guidance and direction on lobbyist conduct. The amendments will also provide new rules for lobbyists (including a new conflict of interest provision) and strengthened enforcement provisions (including stiffer fines for offences under the act). In addition, there will be a lower threshold for the mandatory registration of lobbying activity, requiring businesses and organizations to register when lobbying activity by their paid staff totals 50 hours per year or more.
NEW FEES AND FEE INCREASES
Ministry of the Attorney General
A flat fee structure will be set for the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). The fee to institute a new proceeding will increase from $125 to $300. This is the first increase in OMB fees in about 25 years.
Ministry of Education
Ontario is changing the amount of fees for new child care licences, renewals and revisions for child care centres and home child care agencies. Child care licensing fees have not changed since 1993 and are significantly lower than in many other Canadian jurisdictions. The amount of the fee increase will depend on the number of licensed child care spaces at the centre and the number of homes associated with the agency. The fees will help offset the costs of ensuring health, safety and quality in child care.