A new year often marks the start of new legislation. The following provincial legislation and regulation changes came into effect on January 1, 2023, in Ontario. They are listed by the responsible ministry.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
The Ontario government is amending the Agricultural and Horticultural Organizations Act to better support the province’s 483 agricultural and horticultural societies. These groups educate citizens about agriculture, beautify downtowns, and host fall fairs and exhibitions. Amid some societies reporting a drop in membership levels partly due to the pandemic, the proposed amendment would lower the minimum member thresholds for the societies to qualify for annual provincial grants needed to operate and ensure financial sustainability. The new threshold for agricultural societies would be reduced from 60 to 40 members. For horticultural societies, it would be reduced from 50 to 25 members except in territorial districts where it would be reduced to 15 from 25 members.
Ministry of the Attorney General
The Ontario government is amending a regulation under the Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019 to generate revenue and opportunity for growth in the hospitality industry on a permanent basis. Bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments are now able to create or extend temporary patios, as long as their municipality or band council has the approved extension, on a permanent basis. Temporary patios may only operate for a maximum of eight months per calendar year. Temporary patio extensions were previously enabled through AGCO Registrar Policy.
The Ontario government is amending a regulation under the Professional Engineers Act to make the Professional Engineers Ontario’s Professional Evaluation and Knowledge Program mandatory for all licence holders to ensure continued education and professional development.
Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturalism
The Ontario government in accordance with a regulation under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and the Anti-Racism Data Standards is requiring all Ontario school boards to collect race-based data as it relates to academic performance, special education received and suspensions, expulsions or a decision of a principal to refuse to admit students to a school or classroom.
The Ontario government is bringing into force amendments to the Ontario Heritage Act to streamline and focus processes for heritage protection while reducing approval delays for housing and other projects, including:
- Changes to the processes and requirements governing provincial heritage properties.
- Improve requirements around the inclusion of non-designated properties on a municipal register that would encourage increased information sharing and timely decision-making.
- New limitations on designation for properties subject to proposed development.
- Prescribe criteria for including non-designated properties on a municipal register and establishing heritage conservation districts while raising the threshold for designation of individual properties.
Ministry of Education
The Ontario government has declared that individuals who applied for a letter of certificate from the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario or the Association francophone à l’éducation des services à l’enfance de l’Ontario, no later than December 31, 2010, and received their approved letter of certificate by February 23, 2014, are no longer considered to have met the necessary education and training requirement to become a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators.
The Ontario government is amending the licensing requirements under the Child Care and Early Years Act to streamline the child care licensing process. The new amendments will ensure all licensing applicants have their eligibility for the Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) funding confirmed prior to investing in becoming licensed and operational by requiring them to:
- Consult with their local service system managers (SSMs) and obtain advice as to whether they will be eligible to receive CWELCC funding (in alignment with local targeted growth plans); or
- Advise their local service system manager of their application and that they will not be applying for enrolment in CWELCC.
Amendments will also streamline and expedite the application process by requiring applicants to submit key municipal approvals together with their application.
New regulations will be implemented to set modernized standards for lodgings at provincial and demonstration schools in Ontario by enhancing student safety, supporting a healthy learning environment and promoting consistency, accountability, and transparency in all provincial and demonstration school lodging programs.
Ministry of Energy
The Ontario government is establishing a voluntary Ultra-Low Overnight (ULO) Price Plan for consumers who pay Regulated Price Plan (RPP) electricity rates. The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) will be required to direct local distribution companies (LDCs) to allow RPP customers – which includes residences, small businesses and farms – the ability to switch to the new plan.
The Ontario government is amending its efficiency regulation under the Electricity Act, 1998 to update energy efficiency standards for 18 products (e.g., residential heat pumps, air conditioners, commercial water heaters, commercial gas furnaces, liquid-filled transformers, vending machines, etc.) to maintain harmonization with federal, U.S. government and other industry standards.
The Ontario government is amending a regulation under the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, for Ontario Power Generation to establish a variance account to track additional revenues and costs associated with the revised shutdown schedule for Pickering Nuclear Generating Station (i.e., September 2026 instead of December 2025). The Ontario Energy Board would review the account balance and determine its disposition in a future rate-setting period.
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
The Ontario government is amending its Emissions Performance Standards program to meet stricter benchmark criteria set by the federal government, allowing the program to extend to 2030 and ensuring Ontario industries remain covered by our own Ontario-made program that will continue to be fair, cost-effective and flexible to meet the unique needs and circumstances of our province. The government will bring forward plans for the use of proceeds from the EPS program in 2023.
In addition, the Ontario government is amending its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting program to support the implementation and delivery of the province’s Emissions Performance Standards program for the 2023-2030 period and maintain harmonization with federal GHG reporting requirements.
Regulatory amendments will require the use of a new hazardous waste reporting registry with streamlined reporting processes for more than 40,000 businesses and institutions regulated by the Hazardous Waste program, while modernizing by shifting from paper to electronic reports. Information will be submitted through a digital reporting service delivered by the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority. The reporting service opened on November 15, 2022, and the regulated community will be required to use it starting January 1, 2023. A new regulation was also created to carry over existing fee exemptions from Regulation 347 (e.g., fee exemptions for municipalities running hazardous waste days) and outlines other fee setting requirements the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority must follow when recovering the full cost of the Hazardous Waste program.
In setting clear rules to support the appropriate beneficial reuse of excess soils and working with municipalities and other law enforcement agencies to help put a stop to the illegal dumping of excess soil, the Ontario government implemented a pause beginning in April 2022 of certain requirements in the Excess Soil Regulation that came into effect January 1, 2022. The provisions that were paused will come back into effect on January 1, 2023, and include an amendment that removes the reuse planning requirements, such as registration, sampling and tracking, for excess soil moved from lower-risk projects, and amending the Rules for Soil Management and Excess Soil Quality Standards (Soil Rules) to remove limits on the pile size for temporary piles of soil for storage.
The Ontario government brought in a regulation providing an exemption for certain Peel Region roads from the prohibition under the Environmental Assessment Act on proceeding with a planned undertaking within 30 days of completion of the class EA (Environmental Assessment) process. As this 30-day waiting period ended in in September 2022, the regulation is now spent and no longer needed.
Amendments to the regulation for Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities of Hydro One will be revoked on January 1, 2023. The revocation provision was included to provide MECP with time to update the approved Class Environmental Assessment for Minor Transmission Facilities (“Class EA”) to reflect the amendments made by the regulation.
On January 1, 2023, a time-limited exemption for Northern Ontario from the renewable content requirements for gasoline prescribed in the Cleaner Transportation Fuels regulation will expire.
Ontario finalized amendments to regulations made under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016. In the case of the Tires regulation, the government made the following changes intended to reduce unnecessary administrative requirements while ensuring the environment and consumers are protected:
- Amend the small producer exemption to require only record-keeping for all small producers.
- Update producer hierarchy to replace Ontario brand holders with Canadian brand holders.
- Add a provision to clarify what producer responsibility organizations can do for producers and how they share liability.
- Allow repair of tires to count toward management targets.
In the case of the Batteries regulation, the government made the following changes intended to streamline enforcement efforts and increase transparency related to visible fees:
- Amend the small producer exemption to require just record keeping for all small producers.
- Add a promotion and education requirement related to visible fees.
- Add a provision to clarify that producer responsibility organizations have shared liability with producers for certain aspects of the regulation, such as establishing the collection network and ensuring the collection is managed properly.
In the case of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulation, the government made the following changes intended to reduce streamline enforcement efforts and increase transparency related to visible fees:
- Add a promotion and education requirement related to visible fees.
- Update “producer agreement” provision to clarify how producer responsibility organizations and producers share liability.
The government finalized a new regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act, 2016 to establish a framework for administrative penalties (AP) orders for non-compliant producers and others regulated by the Act, thus allowing for the use of administrative penalties as an enforcement tool. As a result, the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority will have an additional compliance tool to ensure obligations under the RRCEA and its regulations are being met and to ensure there are no disruptions in waste diversion services to Ontarians.
Ministry of Finance
The Ontario government is making amendments to the Ontario Business Corporations Act that will require privately held business corporations to collect and retain certain beneficial ownership information and make it available upon request by law enforcement, tax, regulatory and other prescribed authorities.
The Ontario government has passed legislation regarding the current temporary reduction to provincial fuel and gas taxes. The legislation extends the current rate cut to December 31, 2023. This follows legislation passed in spring 2022 that cut the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre and the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre for six months, from July 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022.
The Ontario government has passed legislation to help vulnerable seniors by doubling the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment for 12 months, starting January 2023. This measure will increase the maximum payment to $166 per month for single seniors and to $332 per month for couples – a maximum increase of almost $1,000 per person in 2023. About 200,000 of the province’s lowest income seniors will receive additional support in 2023.
Ministry of Francophone Affairs
Ontario is amending a regulation under the French Language Services Act to designate four new agencies: Centre de santé communautaire de Timmins, Équipe de santé familiale académique Montfort, Foyer St. Jacques and Timiskaming Home Support. As well, three existing designated agencies are expected to be amended to reflect an expansion of the programs they provide in French: Counselling and Family Service Ottawa, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario/Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre and Renfrew Victoria Hospital. Sixteen additional designated agencies are expected to be amended to reflect administrative changes with respect to the name of sponsoring ministries, agencies, and designated programs.
Ministry of Health
The Ontario government is making it easier for people to connect to care closer to home by bringing into force a new regulation under the Pharmacy Act, 1991 that enables a pharmacist, an intern or registered pharmacy student to prescribe treatment options for 13 of the most common minor medical conditions.
The Ontario government will also bring into force amendments to a regulation under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act that will require the owner and operator of laboratories to report the results of tests into the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS), where OLIS has the functional capability to receive the results of that particular test.
The Ontario government will bring into force a new regulation for health care professionals under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 that will reduce barriers to registration and help nurses start practising sooner, such as requiring timely decisions and responses from the College of Nurses, language proficiency testing requirements and exemption from Canadian experience requirements.
New legislation around the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019 will come into force that replaces references to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services in the Mandatory Blood Testing Act, 2006 with the Minister of Health.
Ministry of Infrastructure
Ontario is making changes to an existing regulation under the Building Broadband Faster Act, 2021 (BBFA) to set out circumstances in which the Minister of Infrastructure may modify rulings issued by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) related to work undertaken by electrical utilities on high-speed internet projects. It will also ensure compensation decisions related to high-speed internet projects can be made by the OEB when necessary. At the same time, Ontario is removing a separate BBFA regulation that no longer serves any purpose as a result of amendments to the BBFA that were passed in April 2022 under the Getting Ontario Connected Act. These changes will align the BBFA with existing legislation like the Ontario Energy Board Act to help build and deliver high-speed internet projects as quickly as possible.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
The Ontario government is improving community housing by requiring service managers to have an access system. This will make it easier to understand the different types of housing assistance available, who is eligible and how to apply.
To eliminate duplication, the Chief Electoral Officer is being given the authority to create a register of voters that can be used for both provincial and municipal elections.
To help municipalities accelerate the creation of new housing, the planning approval process has been streamlined and modernized. This includes incentivizing municipalities to make timely decisions by requiring them to refund rezoning and site plan control application fees if they fail to make a decision within legislated timelines. Recognizing that municipalities are working to speed up housing permits and approvals, we will introduce legislation that would, if passed, delay the implementation of planning application refunds by six months, from January 1, 2023, to July 1, 2023.
Maximum income levels for rent-geared-to-income housing eligibility are updated to match the most recent data provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This supports Ontario’s Community Housing Renewal Strategy, including access to affordable housing and supports that meet people’s needs.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
On July 1, 2022, regulation amendments under the Aggregate Resources Act were implemented to provide consistency with the On-site and Excess Soil Management Regulation under the Environmental Protection Act. In accordance with the details of the decision notice, as of January 1, 2023, Aggregate Resources Act licensees/permittees will be required to keep records detailing the soil quality deposited at a pit or quarry for seven years after the date on which rehabilitation of the pit or quarry is completed.
As part of More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, a new Minister’s regulation will require conservation authorities to include fee provisions in cost apportioning agreements with municipalities and to identify lands suitable for housing or housing infrastructure in their land inventories.
As part of More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, a new Minister’s regulation will focus conservation authorities’ role when reviewing and commenting on proposals, applications or other matters under prescribed Acts related to development and land use planning.
The ministry has made changes to some of the short-form wordings for offences under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. Designating short-form wordings for offences is necessary to allow provincial offences officers (e.g., conservation officers) to issue an offence notice (i.e., ticket) for offences in appropriate circumstances.
As of January 1, 2023, amendments to the Open Seasons regulation come into force for Wildlife Management Unit 93 to:
- Shorten the early bows-only season start date to September 1 and permit the use of bows during the gun seasons.
- Remove the alternating Saturday-Sunday bow-only and gun seasons and extend the alternating bow-only and gun Monday-Friday seasons to Monday-Sunday.
- Create a consistent season end date of December 31.
As of January 1, 2023, certain provisions introduced in the CAA through Schedule 2 of the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 will be brought into force.
- Conservation authorities will be required to conduct public consultation prior to disposing of certain lands that were previously purchased through a provincial grant.
- Conservation authorities may not review and comment on certain matters under prescribed Acts.
- The Minister can impose terms and conditions on projects carried out by a conservation authority under section 24 of the Act.
- The Minister may direct a conservation authority not to change the fees it charges for a specified period of time.
The proposed Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Repeal Act, 2022 was introduced as part of Better Municipal Governance Act, 2022 on November 16, 2022. It ends the deeming of easements or covenants that restrict the use of the lands in this area to agricultural only. Now, landowners and holders of the easements and covenants, like the City of Pickering or a conservation authority, will have the option to negotiate a change to or end current easements or covenants to make lands available for other uses without the consent of the Minister under the Conservation Land Act.
Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery
The Ontario government is amending regulations under the Condominium Act, 1998 to set out a new interest rate calculation – based on the Bank of Canada rate – that condominium (condo) developers must use to pay purchasers interest on their money (deposits or other payments) when terminating purchase agreements, including for condo cancellations. The new rate applies to terminations related to condo projects that start selling on or after January 1, 2023. This new interest rate calculation would generally give purchasers more interest under these circumstances. This regulation revokes one that was previously filed in April 2022.
The government is also enhancing consumer protections for purchasers of new and pre-construction condos with amendments to a regulation under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Those amendments require that Tarion Warranty Corporation (Tarion) provide information about condo cancellations and terminated purchase agreements to the Home Construction Regulatory Authority for posting to the Ontario Builder Directory. Additionally, Tarion’s authority to require vendors and builders to provide information about cancelled condo projects and terminated purchase agreements (when they are terminated through no fault of the purchaser) has been clarified in regulation.
Ministry of the Solicitor General
Ontario is amending use of force reporting under the Police Services Act to clarify and enhance reporting requirements in relation to use of force incidents in alignment with the Anti-Racism Act and Anti Racism Data Standards. The modernized use of force report will be implemented by police services across Ontario.
Ministry of Transportation
The Ontario government is providing Ministry of Transportation enforcement officers and police with additional tools to enforce existing hours of service rules for commercial truck and bus drivers. Hours of service rules require commercial drivers to take a break after driving for a certain number of hours. Effective January 1, 2023, MTO enforcement officers and police will be able to prohibit a driver who has violated hours of service rules from operating a commercial vehicle for a period of time. Hours of service requirements help reduce driving fatigue and make roads safer for all drivers.
Effective January 1, 2023, most existing exemptions to Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration (CVOR) requirements are removed and new equipment requirements are added under the Highway Traffic Act to improve safety and ensure tow truck operators are held to the same standards as other commercial vehicle operators.
Ontario has introduced a new digital platform called DriveON to modernize and streamline the province’s vehicle safety and emissions inspections processes. DriveON enables “one test, one result,” meaning owners of diesel commercial vehicles can have both their emissions and their safety inspections done at the same time. DriveON will reduce opportunities for fraud, eliminate paper waste and help protect people and the environment from smog-causing pollutants.
Ontario is revoking or amending regulations that allowed extensions to driver licensing, vehicle registrations, accessible parking permit renewals and other vehicle products and/or carrier fees that were introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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