17 Bills Passed and 2 Others Introduced During the Fall 2017 Sitting of the 41st Session of the Ontario Legislature
The 17 bills passed during the fall sitting of the Ontario legislature are helping to build a fairer, better Ontario for everyone. The province is taking action to increase the minimum wage, expanding protections for consumers, making it easier for businesses to grow and create jobs, and strengthening the quality and accountability of the health care system.
Government Bills That Passed:
[Introduced May 30, 2017]
Changes the Planning Act to give communities a stronger voice in land use planning. The bill also creates the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, modernizes the Conservation Authorities Act and conserves Ontario's watersheds.
[Introduced May 31, 2017]
Modernizes construction laws to update the lien and holdback process; ensure that contractors, subcontractors and construction workers are paid promptly for the work they do; and create a fast and simple dispute-resolution process. These changes boost competitiveness in the construction industry, as well as support the largest infrastructure investment in the province's history -- about $190 billion over 13 years, starting in 2014-15.
[Introduced June 1, 2017]
Takes historic action to help people get ahead in a changing economy where many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work. The landmark act raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour by January 2019, which will give more than a quarter of employees across Ontario a pay increase. It also makes employee scheduling fairer; requires employers to pay the same wage to part-time employees who do the same job as full-time employees; introduces two paid days per year of personal emergency leave for all workers; and ensures at least three weeks' vacation after five years of service with the same employer.
[Introduced September 12, 2017]
Gives people in Northern Ontario, including Indigenous or Francophone communities, a stronger voice in the legislature. The act increases the number of provincial ridings in Ontario's Far North from two to four, promoting more engagement by Indigenous people in the political process as one of many steps on Ontario's journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
[Introduced September 14, 2017]
Makes it easier for businesses to grow and create jobs by reducing regulatory burdens and practices that cost them time and money, while protecting environmental and health standards and ensuring worker safety. The act lowers regulatory costs by requiring that for every $1 in new administrative costs to business the government must remove $1.25 of old and unnecessary costs. It will streamline compliance for small businesses and will align provincial regulations with national or international standards. And it will reduce regulatory requirements for businesses with good compliance records and allow businesses to submit required documentation electronically.
[Introduced September 27, 2017]
Strengthens oversight, enhances transparency and accountability, and safeguards the quality of health care for people across Ontario. The act makes it mandatory for the medical industry to disclose payments to health care professionals; introduces new enforcement tools for Ontario's quality and safety inspection program for long-term care homes; and allows paramedics to transport patients who call 911 to non-hospital settings, such as mental health facilities. It also introduces regulation of facilities such as splash pads, wading pools and nail salons; requires operators of community health facilities and medical radiation devices, such as MRIs and X-ray machines, to obtain a licence; and strengthens oversight of ultrasound technicians.
[Introduced October 4, 2017]
Protects a woman's right to choose and access abortion services without fear of interference, intimidation or harassment. The act allows for safe access zones to be established around clinics and facilities that provide abortion services, the homes of clinic staff, and the homes and offices of regulated health professionals who provide these services. The Act also prohibits harassing conduct anywhere in Ontario directed at clinic staff and regulated health professionals who provide abortion services.
[Introduced October 5, 2017]
Expands protection for consumers making big purchases, including:
- Enabling the creation of clearer and stronger regulations for situations in which a real estate salesperson, broker or brokerage represents more than one party in a real estate trade, and increasing the maximum fines for Code of Ethics violations by real estate professionals
- Increasing consumer confidence in Ontario's new home warranties and protections by establishing separate administrative bodies -- one to run the new home warranty program and one to regulate new home builders and vendors
- Extending rules that require "all-in pricing" in travel marketing -- highlighting the total cost, including all fees and taxes -- to out-of-province sellers who target Ontarians
- Taking action against ticket fraud and excessive markups on resale tickets, including by banning the use and sale of ticket-buying software and capping ticket resale prices at 50 per cent above face value.
[Introduced November 1, 2017]
Regulates the safe and sensible use and distribution of recreational cannabis when it is legalized by the federal government in July 2018. The act creates a new provincial retailer, overseen by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, to ensure safe and socially responsible distribution of recreational cannabis through standalone stores and an online order service. It introduces new provincial offences with strict and escalating penalties to help eliminate the illicit market, including illegal storefront dispensaries. It toughens laws on drug-impaired driving. And it protects youth by setting a minimum age of 19 to use, buy or cultivate cannabis, and introduces harm-reduction measures to avoid unnecessary youth contact with the justice system.
[Introduced November 14, 2017]
Implements a wide range of measures from the 2017 Budget, including:
- Supporting caregivers: Establishes a new, streamlined Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit to provide relief for people who care for loved ones while balancing their commitments to work, family and the community
- Expanding options for postsecondary education: Recognizes Indigenous Institutes as a unique and complementary pillar of the postsecondary education and training system, allowing them to grant diplomas, certificates and degrees; and establishes a new stand-alone French-language university that will offer degrees and education in French
- Helping businesses create jobs: Cuts the corporate income tax rate for small businesses from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent as of January 1, 2018, and provides incentives of up to $2,000 to employers and small businesses that hire and retain young workers
- Cleaning up Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong: Commits $85 million to fund remediation of contaminants in the English-Wabigoon River system, working with First Nations communities
- Strengthening pension protections: Increases the guaranteed payment from $1,000 to $1,500 per month to members and beneficiaries of a private employer's defined benefit pension plan if the employer becomes insolvent
- Moving towards community-based regulation of tobacco: Amends the Tobacco Tax Act to assist the Province in implementing agreements with First Nations on the sale, manufacture and transport of tobacco.
[Introduced November 17, 2017]
The act returned Ontario college students to the classroom by ending the labour dispute between the College Employer Council and the college academic unit of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. It required the province's 24 colleges to resume operations, ensuring that students could complete their studies, and it prohibited any further strikes or lockouts during this round of bargaining.
Private Members' Bills That Passed:
[Introduced November 14, 2016]
Formally recognizes November of each year as Lebanese Heritage Month, celebrating the contributions Lebanese-Canadians have made to Ontario's social, economic, political and cultural fabric, and their continuing role in helping to foster growth, prosperity and innovation across the province.
[Introduced November 22, 2016]
Establishes a Lung Health Advisory Council to make recommendations to the government for improvements in lung health awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care. The council will also advise the government on developing an Ontario Lung Health Action Plan on research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung disease.
[Introduced November 23, 2016]
Proclaims November 20 each year as the Trans Day of Remembrance, and requires the members of the Legislative Assembly to observe a moment of silence in honour of trans people who have died as a result of anti-trans violence.
[Introduced March 20, 2017]
Creates Ontario Craft Beer Week, beginning the second Sunday of June each year. Ontario Craft Beer Week honours the province's long-standing partnership with and support for the Ontario Craft Brewers Association, and celebrates Ontario's thriving craft beer industry.
[Introduced April 12, 2017]
Celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of Korean-Canadians to the cultural, social and economic fabric of Ontario. The act designates the month of October each year as Korean Heritage Month, recognizing its historical significance for the Korean-Canadian community.
[Introduced May 2, 2017]
Proclaims October 23 each year as Lawren Harris Day, in celebration of the Ontario-born and world-renowned Canadian painter and driving force behind the formation of the Group of Seven.
Government Bills Introduced:
[Introduced November 2, 2017]
Would transform Ontario's policing framework and modernize our approach to community safety, through comprehensive measures to make it more community-focused, accountable and sustainable. The act would:
- Expand the role of municipalities -- working with police services and local service providers in health care, social services and education -- in defining and addressing local needs
- Enhance police accountability, including by creating a new Inspector General of Policing to oversee compliance with the Police Services Act
- Strengthen oversight of policing officials by expanding the mandates and including additional personnel in the jurisdiction of the three oversight bodies, and creating penalties for policing officials who do not comply with investigations
- Clearly outline police responsibilities and community safety service delivery, including defining in regulation duties that can only be performed by a sworn police officer
- Support the sustainability of First Nation policing by enabling First Nations to choose the model of policing delivery that best meets their local needs, including the option to come under the same legislative framework as the rest of Ontario.
[Introduced December 14, 2017]
The proposed bill is intended to build a foundation for world-class concussion prevention and management in Ontario, making sport safer for students and athletes. The proposed bill would implement recommendations made by an advisory committee established after the tragic death of Rowan Stringer, a 17-year-old rugby player. It would increase awareness and enhance management of concussions in schools and communities through a comprehensive plan that includes enhancing prevention, detection, management and awareness.