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Regulations and Statutes Coming Into Force January 1, 2019

Backgrounder

Regulations and Statutes Coming Into Force January 1, 2019

Office of the Premier

The following legislation and regulation changes will come into effect on January 1, 2019. They are listed by responsible ministry:

Ministry of the Attorney General

A regulation under the Courts of Justice Act has been amended to increase the number of federal judges in the Superior Court of Justice by 12, all of whom will be assigned to the Unified Family Court. This change will help families to resolve their legal issues in one convenient location, which will simplifies processes, improve consistency and reduce the number of times they need to appear in court.

Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure under the Courts of Justice Act will promote the efficient use of Divisional Court time and resources by authorizing a court registrar to automatically dismiss Divisional court cases that are not set down for a hearing or terminated by any means within five years. Amendments to the estate court application forms will simplify processes and improve efficiencies in processing these applications.

Amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure under the Courts of Justice Act will help to simplify court processes and improve efficiencies by:

  • Allowing a case to be started by application where it is unlikely that there are any material facts in dispute requiring a trial.
  • Allowing the court to impose a discovery plan on a motion for discovery.
  • Establishing deadlines for the service of supplementary expert reports.
  • Allowing a respondent to confirm a motion date in order to seek costs of an abandoned motion. 
  • Clarifying the requirement for the evidence to be filed on a motion for removal of lawyer of record.

To promote efficient use of family court time and resources amendments to the Family Law Rules under the Courts of Justice Act will require parties to file a completed Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form (TSEF) prior to a family law trial at the Superior Court of Justice. The TSEF canvasses each party's witness lists, disclosure, and other practical issues to ensure that cases are ready for trial.

The Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario (ELTO), Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (SJTO) and Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO) clusters of tribunals will be consolidated into one new cluster, entitled "Tribunals Ontario." These changes are part of the government's plan to review tribunals accountable to the Ministry of the Attorney General to ensure programs are effective, affordable and sustainable.

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017, new requirements have been established for children's residential and foster care licensees so that children and youth know their rights, are encouraged to participate in community activities, and have a residence that is safe and clean. And new provisions have established additional requirements for complaints procedures, including processes and timelines for responding to complaints made by children and youth receiving residential services.

There are new requirements that govern the use of mechanical restraints in secure treatment programs. This includes more training, parent/guardian notifications, and a requirement to obtain a psychiatrist's order authorizing the use of mechanical restraints.

Under the District Social Services Administration Boards Act, the government is extending the current moratorium on allotment changes for District Social Services Administration Boards, for an additional 12-month period - through to December 31, 2019.

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The following amendments have been made to the Coroners Act:

  • The act requires the Chief Coroner to publicly explain why a discretionary inquest was not held, for incidents that were investigated by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). A regulation under the act has been amended to set out what information must be included in the Chief Coroner's explanation of why a discretionary inquest was not necessary, e.g., gender, race, approximate location of incident. The regulation also prohibits the inclusion of the name(s) of the deceased, police officers involved or coroners.
  • The act provides the Chief Coroner with the authority to disclose personal information to an entity prescribed in regulation for research, data or statistical analysis related to the health or safety of the public, sets requirements for Information and Privacy Commissioner approval of practices related to storage of personal information and sets out offences related to failing to comply with the requirements of this section. Amendments have been made setting out additional requirements and exceptions related to that disclosure.
  • An amendment to the act will extend the time-limited minister's regulation used to increase representativeness of on-reserve First Nation residents for inquest jury rolls in the territorial districts of Thunder Bay and Kenora for an additional two years.

A new regulation under the Police Services Act will set the requirements for municipalities to follow when publishing community safety and well-being plans as required under the current act. The regulation will require that:

  • A plan must be published within 30 days after a municipal council's resolution to adopt the plan.
  • The plan must be published online, in any other manner or form determined by the municipality and printed copies must be available by request.

A regulation under the Police Services Act is being amended to allow police officers seeking to campaign in municipal elections to begin a leave of absence on the day he or she is nominated. The amendment will make the regulation consistent with the Municipal Elections Act, making the rules for police officers comparable to other municipal employees.

The following amendments have been made to the Fire Code:

  • The phased compliance deadlines to the Fire Code requiring fire safety enhancements to care occupancies, care and treatment occupancies, and retirement homes regulated under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 will be complete and sprinkler installation requirements come into force on January 1, 2019.
  • To enhance public and firefighter safety additional inspection and testing requirements of fire department pumper connections on standpipe and hose systems will be required every five years when the fire department connection is older than 30 years.

Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

The Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018, will repeal the Green Energy Act, 2009, and reintroduce select energy efficiency and conservation provisions in the Electricity Act, 1998. Associated regulations will also be revoked and re-made under the Electricity Act, 1998. The Act will also amend the Planning Act and the Environmental Protection Act.

There will be a number of regulations that will be re-made under the Electricity Act, 1998. These regulations:

  • Designate certain projects and technologies so that they can be used despite legal restrictions that may otherwise apply. This regulation will allow clotheslines to remain usable under certain conditions and will maintain an override to legal restrictions for some renewable energy projects such as rooftop solar systems.
  • Require municipalities, municipal service boards, universities, colleges, schools and hospitals to report annually on their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and develop conservation plans.
  • Require building owners of commercial, industrial, multi-unit residential and other building types that are 50,000 square feet or larger to report their building's energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emission data annually. The requirement is being rolled out over time. In 2019, buildings 100,000 square feet or larger will be required to report.
  • Set minimum energy and water efficiency requirements for electrical, natural gas and oil products and appliances used in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

The Conservation Authorities Act will be amended to ensure alignment with the Green Energy Repeal Act.

Supporting the Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan

Under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016, tire producers will be environmentally and financially responsible for recovering resources and reducing waste associated with the tires they supply in Ontario.

Ontario is also winding up the existing Used Tires Program and Ontario Tire Stewardship (the industry funding organization responsible for managing the program under the Waste Diversion Transition Act, 2016). In its place, the Tires Regulation will establish a new framework that makes individual tire producers responsible for the collection and end-of-life management of tires.

Ensuring Sustainable Water Use

Under the Ontario Water Resources Act, the government will extend the moratorium on new or increasing permits to take groundwater for water bottling until January 1, 2020 in order to continue our scientific work and policy review of the ministry's water taking framework. The moratorium also prohibits permits for conducting pumping tests in order to determine the feasibility of using the groundwater supply as a source of water to produce bottled water. 

Supporting tougher penalties for polluters

The upper risk threshold for sulphur dioxide will come into effect.  It is intended to manage the risks associated with sulphur dioxide emissions while the new sulphur dioxide standards are being phased in.  The new sulphur dioxide standards will take effect on July 1, 2023.

A new regulation will increase accountability by petroleum facilities to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide. Effective January 1, 2019, petroleum facilities will be required to undertake enhanced monitoring and reporting, and submit plans on how they intend to reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide. This new regulation would adjust some of the provisions in existing regulations pertaining to petroleum facilities, including those related to the upper risk threshold in relation to flaring-type incidents.

There will also be amendments which will enable the ministry to issue an environmental penalty when a proposed new threshold for sulphur dioxide discharges from flaring-type incidents is exceeded.

Ministry of Finance

The new Low-Income Individuals and Families (LIFT) tax credit will be effective January 1, 2019. It will provide low-income and minimum wage workers up to $850 in Ontario Personal Income Tax relief and couples up to $1,700 when they file their 2019 tax returns.

Amendments to the Taxation Act, in response to federal changes, to maintain Ontario's tax credit rate for non-eligible dividends at 3.2863 per cent in the 2018 taxation year and subsequent taxation years.

Amendments to the Pension Benefits Act are required to update the references to disclosure requirement references following recent changes to implement a new funding framework for defined benefit pension plans. As of January 1, 2019, pension assessments are increasing from $1,000 per month to $1,500 per month to ensure the sustainability of the Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund following the recent coverage increase to the fund.

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

To improve compliance with rules governing conduct when making collection calls amendments have been made to regulations under the Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act:

  • Requiring collection agencies, who employ 10 or more collectors, to start recording collection calls and retain the recordings for at least one year.
  • Improving enforcement compliance by providing a new enforcement tool, adding the use of monetary administrative penalties to ensure collection agencies record collection calls.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, changes to the Communicable Diseases - General regulations will allow parents, under certain conditions, to opt-out of the mandatory prophylactic eye treatment administered to all infants at birth to prevent transmission of Ophthalmia Neonatorum. Ophthalmia Neonatorum can be caused by sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea and chlamydia. 

Under the Regulated Health and Professions Act, changes to the Controlled Acts regulations will restrict the application of soundwaves for diagnostic ultrasound to only members of the College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario and certain other regulated health professions.

Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs

The following amendments have been to Ontario's election finance regime under the Election Finances Act:

  • Ontario's political contribution limits will be aligned with federal contribution limits and increase to $1,600. Beginning January 1, 2020, Ontario's annual contribution limit increase will match the federal rate of increase of $25 on January 1 each year.
  • Political actors will be able to participate in fundraisers, while maintaining fundraising transparency rules.
  • Removing the cap on the amount of money that can be contributed at a fundraising event.
  • Eliminating the requirement that contributors certify their donation is of their own funds.

Ministry of Labour

Under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act key amendments to the Employment Standards Act will come into force including:

  • Repealing Personal Emergency Leave and replacing it with three unpaid days for personal illness; two unpaid bereavement leave days; and three unpaid days for family responsibility leave.
  • Maintaining the minimum wage rate at $14 per hour until 2020, and then increasing it by the rate of inflation. 
  • Repealing equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status) while maintaining the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex.
  • Reversing Bill 148's scheduling provisions.
  • Modifying and moving the existing three-hour rule.
  • Reinstating exemptions from certain Employment Standard Act Standards for Crown workplaces and certain public bodies.
  • Revoking the special rules regarding personal emergency leave for the auto industry.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

Aggregate Resources Act

Fees will be indexed to the Ontario Consumer Price Index and will occur each year going forward.  Indexing means that fees and royalties will increase gradually each year in small increments according to inflation.

Fees from licences and permits will be distributed in part to local and upper-tier municipalities in which the site is located to help offset the costs of the impacts that aggregate hauling can have on municipal infrastructure.

Improvements to Ontario's Hunting and Fishing Licencing System

Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act there will be regulation changes to ensure a streamlined and modernized approach to licencing hunting and fishing activities and to support the renewal of Ontario's electronic hunting and fishing licensing system.

The changes broadly fall under the following three themes:

  • Streamline licensing - including creating one Outdoors Card and a single fishing and hunting licence document that would contain all valid licences a client has purchased. 
  • Improve consistency - including the elimination of some licensing requirements to create more consistency for resident hunters, non-resident hunters, and deemed licence holders.
  • Modernize for the future - including providing more service delivery options, updating regulatory requirements for game seals, and enhancing the hunter-harvest reporting regime to standardize requirements and moving to electronic reporting channels.

Veterans and active Canadian Armed Forces service members can recreationally fish for free if they are residents of Ontario. 

Amendments to support the Green Energy Repeal Act

There will be amendments to the Ministry of Natural Resources Act and the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act to support alignment with the Green Energy Repeal Act.

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Changes to the Private Career Colleges Act will:

  • Remove the requirement for private career colleges to establish a trust account to hold fees paid by or on behalf of international students in vocational programs.
  • Remove the 25 per cent fee limit that private career colleges may charge and collect from international students before students begin training.
  • Increase the fee threshold from $1,000 to $2,000 for vocational programs that are exempted from the Act's approval requirements.

Ministry of Transportation

Steps will be taken to ensure Ontario's roads are safe for everyone by making changes under the Highway Traffic Act. Starting January 1, there will be tougher penalties for high-risk driving behaviour by:

  • Increasing penalties to $250 (first offence), $350 (second offence) and $450 (third and subsequent offence) for having a blood alcohol concentration that is 0.05 or higher, failing a roadside sobriety test or violating the zero tolerance requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers.
  • Introducing a $550 penalty for refusing to take a drug or alcohol test if you register a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 or if a drug recognition evaluator determines that you are impaired.
  • Increasing the Driver's Licence Reinstatement fee from $198 to $275 when getting a suspended licence back.
  • Setting higher fines and increasing demerit points for repeat offences, and driver's licence suspensions for distracted driving offences to ensure road safety.

Expanding the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles (CV/AV) in Ontario through changes to the Highway Traffic Act will open the door to new CV/AV testing and R&D opportunities in Ontario for local business interests and international sector investments. This would help the CV/AV sector reduce barriers to immediate and long-term economic gains in and for Ontario.

Under the Highway Traffic Act, the existing annual (full) and semi-annual (partial) inspection requirement for buses, school purposes vehicles and accessible vehicles will be replaced with a full inspection every six months. If these vehicles have undergone a full inspection within the last seven months and can provide proper documentation to demonstrate this, they will qualify for a Limited Brake Inspection (LBI). These vehicles will be required to display an orange semi-annual inspection sticker instead of the yellow annual sticker required for trucks, motor vehicles, trailers and trailer converter dollies.

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

The fee for a Class 3 sight-seeing vehicle licence at the Niagara Parks Commission will increase from $70 to $75 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.

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