News

Ontario Supporting People and Businesses

TORONTO — The Ontario government continues to support the province’s economy by introducing new measures to promote economic stability and encourage investment, while keeping Ontario families, workers, and the environment safe and healthy. Today, Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced Ontario’s Fall Red Tape Reduction Package and introduced the Supporting People and Businesses Act.

“This comprehensive red tape reduction package builds on three years of work to reduce burden and lighten the load for people and businesses weighed down by the pandemic’s demands,” said Minister Tangri. “Cutting red tape and modernizing our regulatory system will help people and businesses meet the demands of today, while positioning them for a brighter tomorrow.”

If passed, the act will support businesses on the ground and help government deliver clear and effective rules that promote public health and safeguard the environment without sacrificing innovation, growth and opportunity.

Some of the proposed changes in the act, include:

  • Making it easier for people to become volunteers by providing free police record checks. It will also reduce administrative burden for police services.
  • Proposing changes to set the groundwork for the government to allow licensed restaurants, bars and other hospitality businesses create or extend their outdoor patio spaces.
  • Creating greater access to veterinarians by developing a “one-health” approach to veterinary facilities that will benefit farmers, the agri-food sector and the general public.
  • Increasing financial supports and simplifying the application process for the Second Career program to help those looking for employment, train for occupations in high demand.
  • Modernizing regulations under the Healing Arts Radiation Protection Act to align with the current Health Canada Safety Codes to ensure they reflect the latest evidence and technology. It will also help to relieve the backlog of appointments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Developing a pilot program for non-electric and electric-assist large cycles that will give municipalities another option to attract and boost tourism while maintaining road safety.

“Since taking office, our government has been working to remove the red tape and regulatory burdens that make growth for businesses more difficult and stifle opportunities for job creators, non-profit organizations, and workers across the province,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade. “Through our work to modernize our regulatory system and make Ontario ripe for future investment and economic prosperity, we’re making Ontario an even better and easier place for businesses to expand and thrive.”

The 2021 Burden Reduction Report shows Ontario continues to make substantial progress in reducing regulatory burdens. In the past three years (ending June 30, 2021) our government has reduced its total number of regulatory compliance requirements by 6.5% and achieved $373 million in net annual savings to businesses, not-for-profits, municipalities, universities and colleges, school boards and hospitals in regulatory compliance costs.

BACKGROUNDER

Ontario’s Fall 2021 Red Tape Reduction Package is the next step in our plan to ease unnecessary burdens and stimulate economic activity. These initiatives will help demonstrate to people, businesses, investors and entrepreneurs that Ontario is open for business. The government is working to rebuild stability in communities across the province, while preparing them for a brighter tomorrow. With the introduction of the Supporting People and Businesses Act, the government continues to reduce red tape and support all Ontarians throughout the pandemic.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Modernize veterinary facility accreditation

Modernizing the accreditation model for veterinary facilities would make it easier for a veterinary practice to offer services to a wider range of species and clients. For animal owners, this would provide access to a broader range of services from veterinary practices, expanded service availability in some areas and increased innovation in the services that veterinarians offer to the public, including farmers.

Improve the Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program

The government is introducing initial changes to the Feeder Cattle Loan Guarantee Program Order-in-Council that will improve program responsiveness, reduce administrative burdens and provide flexibility in emergency events, ensuring the continued success of the program. Further changes are planned to implement other recommendations from the recent program review.

Amend regulations under the Milk Act (Dairy Phase II)

As part of Ontario’s Open for Business Action Plan, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission are proposing amendments to regulations under the Milk Act to support the economic success of the industry and reduce burden, while continuing to protect food safety.

Improve administration of the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act

The government will be implementing further regulatory changes to improve the administration of the Farm Business Registration program and fully implement the previous program reforms. The additional changes will reduce administrative burden for Accredited Farm Organizations while ensuring accountability and value for money.

Ministry of the Attorney General

Modernize the Barristers Act

The government is proposing to repeal a section of the Barristers Act to remove an outdated courtroom procedure that prioritizes cases of senior lawyers and does not recognize licensed paralegals. This eliminates a provision that is inconsistently applied, and may help improve efficiency in courtrooms.

Update the Crown Administration of Estates Act

The proposed amendment to the Crown Administration of Estates Act make a change to reflect the migration of the Ministry of the Attorney General to the Ontario.ca website.

Update the Courts of Justice Act

The proposed amendment to the Courts of Justice Act makes changes to reflect the updated judicial title of “associate judge.” This change in title from “case management master” to “associate judge” was announced as part of the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021.

Extend outdoor liquor sales licences

Building on the success of temporary changes made during the pandemic, Ontario is proposing to make permanent changes that would set the groundwork for the government to make it easier and faster for licensed restaurants, bars, and other hospitality businesses to apply to create or extend their licensed outdoor patio spaces.

Permit cannabis delivery and pick-up services

In response to the federal government’s legalization of cannabis, the Ontario government is proposing to permanently enable cannabis retail stores to offer popular delivery and curbside pick-up services. This would also enable retailers to continue supporting physical distancing and general public health directives.

Ministry of Colleges and Universities

Increase college degree-granting caps

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities continues to support students by offering more opportunities to access high-quality education that ensure they graduate with the skills and expertise to meet labour market demands.

Consolidate transfer payment agreements

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is exploring options to reduce the administrative burden associated with multiple transfer payment agreements to the same transfer payment recipient.

Where possible, including multiple grants in a consolidated transfer payment agreement could help drive efficiencies by reducing the time to review and manage transfer payment agreements while also ensuring accountability.

Remove barriers to entrepreneurial activities for postsecondary educational institutions

International students are vital to Ontario’s economy. That’s why the government is making it easier for Ontario’s postsecondary institutions to enrol them. This means that registered private career colleges, Indigenous institutes, and institutions with proven track records in other jurisdictions will enjoy fewer barriers to designation as learning institutions under Ontario’s International Student Program.

Review the Ontario Student Assistance Program Performance Requirements for private postsecondary institutions

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities will review the Performance Requirements for private postsecondary institutions approved for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) to ensure they continue to be relevant and responsive to student needs within a growing and evolving sector.

The Ministry anticipates this review will create new opportunities and reduce red tape for private postsecondary institutions approved for OSAP.

Create tuition fee transparency for university and college students

The government is aiming to provide students with increased accountability, transparency, and clarity by providing details of tuition fees at Ontario’s postsecondary institutions.

Reduce duplication of reporting requirement for the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund / Ontario Trust for Student Support

Removing the online reporting requirements for endowments will reduce duplication and benefit colleges and universities by easing the administrative burden so they can focus on supporting students with high-quality education. The requirement for reporting through audited financial statements will remain in place to ensure adequate oversight and accountability.

Support digital learning for private career colleges

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is proposing changes to approvals for online delivery of training at Private Career Colleges to support continued flexible delivery options to students.

Expand degree-granting authority for publicly assisted colleges

Exploring options for expanding degree-granting authority of colleges offers greater opportunity to recruit international students, better meets employers’ demands for graduates with degrees with technical skills, and allows for more equity so that students who prefer applied education would have access to more degrees at local colleges. The ministry is also exploring ways to reduce red tape for colleges.

Expand credentials in the public college system to include “applied” Master’s degrees

Exploring options for expanding the suite of credentials that Colleges of Applied Arts can offer will ensure Ontario has strong, market-driven programs at all levels.

Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

Repeal Part II of the Water Opportunities Act, 2010

In keeping with the government’s goal of streamlining legislation, we are repealing an unnecessary administrative section in order to keep the Water Opportunities Act current.

Ministry of Education

Remove the confirmation of supervisory officer appointments and approval of second job

The government is proposing to remove the redundant confirmation process for the hiring of supervisory officers in school boards. This will give school boards the flexibility to hire supervisory officers in a timely fashion to meet their senior leadership needs and maintain oversight of their employees.

Modernize the Ontario College of Teachers Act

We’re proposing to modernize the governance structure of the Ontario College of Teachers Act (OCTA) to allow the Ontario College of Teachers to effectively regulate the teaching profession in the best interests of students and better reflect the community it serves. The changes will ensure a streamlined, efficient, and effective governance structure in the public interest. The proposed legislative amendments to the OCTA demonstrate that the government is taking a proactive approach to modernizing the governance structure of Ontario’s largest regulatory body.

Reduce administrative burdens for First Nations students to access provincial schools

The government is proposing to amend Regulation 296 under the Education Act to make it easier for First Nations students to attend provincial schools for the blind and deaf. The proposed amendment would remove administration burden for bands as they would no longer need to seek federal Minister’s approval.

Modernize the Education Act to align with the Municipal Elections Act

Ontario is seeking to align language in the Education Act with changes to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. The proposal would remove a reference to ranked ballot voting, which is no longer available for municipal elections in Ontario. It would also adjust the timing of the annual board meeting when school boards must elect their chairs and Directors of Education must submit their annual report to their board from December to November.

Make it easier for children with special needs to access the therapies they need in school

The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministries of Children, Community and Social Services and Health, will review Policy/Program Memorandum 81 Provision of Health Services in Schools to modernize how nursing and rehabilitation services are delivered. This will make it easier for children with special needs to access the therapies they need in school.

Ministry of Energy

Enable limitation period for electricity system settlement process

Ontario is proposing to enhance the Independent Electrical System Operator’s (IESO) settlement processes by instituting a two-year limit (or other prescribed period) on certain electricity-related settlements that are based on entitlements derived from legislation or regulations. This is expected to provide greater financial certainty, enhance the customer experience, and reduce administrative burden for market participants, large consumers, and the IESO.

Simplify the Regulated Price Plan for electricity

Beginning on November 1, 2021, the Ontario Energy Board will set Regulated Price Plan (RPP) prices once per year instead of twice, if the necessary regulatory amendments are approved. Prices would continue to be set to recover the forecast RPP supply cost for the next 12 months. This initiative would provide RPP customers greater certainty on what electricity prices will be for a full year.

Modernize the Ontario Energy Board

We are delivering on the government’s commitment to modernize the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and strengthen public trust in its effective oversight of the natural gas and electricity sectors. These operational reforms will help the OEB to better serve Ontarians, operate more effectively and efficiently to protect the interest of consumers, and ensure that Ontario’s energy system remains sustainable and reliable. Independent commissioners are central to the OEB’s modernized structure, and attracting highly trained professionals with specialized skills ensures the OEB is able to best protect consumer interests, including that rates remain reasonable and affordable.

Enable more choice and competition in electricity suite metering

Ontario is launching a regulatory registry consultation to explore opportunities to make it easier for multi-unit buildings to choose among suite metering services, allowing residents to benefit from potential cost savings on their electricity bills.

Implement the Green Button Standard

Ontario is enhancing consumer choice with the Green Button standard that will allow customers to track and control energy use on their smartphone to reduce bills and save money. Starting November 1, 2021, utilities will be required to implement Green Button within two years, by November 1, 2023.

This will allow residential and commercial customers to download detailed data on their electricity and natural gas usage, and share this data with apps of their choice to help them identify opportunities to increase energy efficiencies to help save money and reduce demand. Apps could also provide helpful tips and allow customers to compare and contrast their energy consumption with their own over time and that of others.

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

Consolidate environmental permissions

Ontario is proposing to allow businesses the option to consolidate Environmental Compliance Approvals, Permits to Take Water, and Renewable Energy Approvals for the same facility into a single approval. Allowing businesses to consolidate multiple environmental permissions and sets of conditions would reduce duplicative administrative activities for businesses, speed up important industrial and infrastructure projects, and establish a coordinated approach for public consultation and Indigenous engagement. Businesses eligible for the consolidated approval approach would still need to follow all the same environmental protections and compliance conditions.

Clarify authority to change a class of projects

As part of Ontario’s ongoing work to modernize the environmental assessment (EA) program, the ministry is proposing a minor amendment to the Environmental Assessment Act (EA) to clarify the Minister’s authority to make changes to the types of projects that can follow a Class EA.

To protect and safeguard the environment, projects that follow the Class EA process will still require consultation with the public, stakeholders, and Indigenous communities, development of mitigation measures and documentation of the findings in a report. We are committed to seeking input from the public, stakeholders, and Indigenous communities before allowing other project types to begin following the Class EA process.

Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) Transparency Changes

Ontario is taking steps to ensure that the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA) is transparent, accountable, and provides effective oversight for our new producer responsibility model.

Over the last year, we have made a number of changes to RPRA. These include making amendments to the Operating Agreement that outline details of their governance and operations, and introducing a new requirement for RPRA to establish an Industry Advisory Council that can help ensure transparency and accountability.

We are now proposing to make more changes to further increase RPRA’s transparency and accountability to the people of Ontario.

Modernize environmental permissions

Ontario is streamlining environmental permissions for projects and activities where environmental risks are low. The proposed exemptions and self-registration for activities such as microbreweries and low-risk sewage works, such as foundation drainage from buildings, eliminates unnecessary technical reporting, which saves businesses time and money.Rigorous screening processes, technical assessments and public consultation occur before providing exemptions or registrations to ensure environmental protections are maintained. Removing the need to obtain an environmental permission for low-risk activities allows businesses to begin operations and infrastructure projects faster.

Exclude fertilizer from being regulated as a hazardous and special product

As fertilizers sold in Ontario no longer contain pesticides and therefore pose a minimal risk to the environment, we have exempted fertilizer producers from the collection and management requirements under the new Hazardous and Special Products regulation. To minimize fertilizer waste going to landfills, fertilizer producers are still required to educate consumers to use up any leftover fertilizer products or share them with family or friends. These reduced requirements are expected to reduce costs for fertilizer producers.

Simplify Environmental Compliance Approvals

Ontario is proposing to create smarter, more efficient processes that will reduce red tape for job creators in the auto sector, waste sector and other manufacturing sectors, while maintaining strong environmental protections. We are proposing to give Ontario businesses the flexibility to make low-risk operational changes that don’t compromise environmental protections, such as increasing the amount of materials they recycle or replacing outdated equipment, without having to seek permission from the ministry. This builds on recent work with auto sector manufacturers to reduce redundancies through a single flexible Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA).

We encourage other Ontario manufacturers to apply for a single, flexible approval for air, noise, waste, and sewage ECAs to eliminate unnecessary administrative steps and ensure that their facilities continue to comply with environmental regulations. Facilities that want to make more significant operational changes that could have a greater environmental impact will still be required to seek approval from the ministry. We are also working to make our ECAs easier to understand by using less technical language, which will help businesses meet the requirements and make it easier for the public to understand how facilities are being regulated.

Recover value from waste

Our government is committed to reducing the amount of waste going to landfills. Advanced recycling and energy recovery technologies can help ensure valuable resources – like hard-to-recycle plastics – can be put to good use, such as creating new products or fuel alternatives.We will be proposing changes to better clarify the environmental assessment process for advanced recycling technologies – saving the industry time and removing barriers to divert more plastic waste from landfills. We will be seeking public input on changes to support economic opportunities for businesses and industry that will divert more materials from landfill and use materials derived from waste, such as renewable natural gas.

Update the audit requirement for tires

Ontario is proposing changes to reduce unnecessary administrative requirements for the tire industry while ensuring that the environment and consumers are protected. To ensure tire producers aren’t burdened by duplicative requirements already covered by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), and since the CPA already protects consumers from potentially false, misleading or deceptive representations related to fees, we are proposing to remove the audit requirement related to separate recycling fees.We are also proposing changes that will remove the third-party audit requirement related to how many tires were supplied into Ontario and changing this to an internal verification process. Producers will still be required to conduct management audits to verify the outcomes of their recycling and reuse activities. However, we will consult on reducing the frequency of those audits.

Simplify the gasoline volatility regulation

Each spring, Ontario petroleum facilities are required to switch from winter-grade gasoline to summer-grade gasoline, which produces fewer fuel vapours that can contribute to ground-level ozone and smog formation. Ontario is proposing to reduce unnecessary administrative requirements on the petroleum industry with changes to align our gasoline volatility reporting requirements with national timelines for switching from winter-grade gasoline to summer-grade gasoline. These changes would reduce burden and costs to petroleum facilities by only requiring reports for summer gasoline volatility limits once a year.

Protect public lands from adverse possession

The ministry is proposing changes that will prevent people from claiming ownership of public lands by unlawfully occupying a public space in provincial parks and conservation reserves, ensuring that the land remains available for public use and enjoyment. This also supports our ongoing work to safeguard the environment and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. This proposal aligns with a similar proposal by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry to amend the Public Lands Act (PLA) to eliminate adverse possession on public lands under that legislation.

Ministry of Finance

Modernize the regulatory framework for Defined Contribution pension plans

The Ministry of Finance is proposing regulatory amendments to remove the requirement for the administrators of member-directed Defined Contribution pension plans to prepare a statement of investment policies and procedures.

The Ministry is also proposing regulatory amendments to remove the requirement for the administrators of Defined Contribution plans to file an auditor’s report on the plans’ annual financial statements and to instead enable the CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario to require audited financial statements only in certain circumstances.

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services

Expand online access to services for business and not-for-profit corporations

On October 19, 2021, our government is launching the new Ontario Business Registry, which will cut red tape for small businesses and make it easier and quicker for Ontarians to access government services, saving time and money. For the first time ever, businesses across the province will have direct online access to over 90 services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will be able to complete electronic transactions immediately, rather than waiting weeks by submitting through the mail or by fax. This modern online service will make it easier and more affordable for millions of businesses and not-for-profit corporations to access government services in Ontario and will help them focus their time and energy on what they do best – growing the economy and creating new jobs.

Give businesses flexibility to use virtual services

Our government is finding ways to move businesses forward by providing them the flexibility they need to recover from this challenging time. We’re taking action to remove barriers for Ontario businesses that limit the use of virtual services such as calling and hosting meetings and voting. We are exploring changes that would enable more targeted and timely relief for businesses now and from the effects of potential future emergency situations.

Improve access to critical government services

Our government is making it simpler, easier, and more convenient to access key government services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Customers can skip the lines by renewing their documents through ServiceOntario’s easy-to-use and secure online services, 24/7, right from the comfort and safety of their home. We are looking at how we can further improve our digital platforms to increase online uptake and make the renewal process easier for ServiceOntario’s highest volume transactions, such as licence plate stickers, driver’s licences, and Ontario Photo Cards.

Expand the jurisdiction of the Condominium Authority Tribunal

Ontario is proposing to expand the Condominium Authority Tribunal’s (CAT) jurisdiction to include nuisance related disputes. This will give condo owners’ and corporations’ access to faster and cheaper dispute resolution for some of the most common types of condo disputes. The ministry is exploring further expansion of the CAT’s jurisdiction.

Strengthen Ontario’s consumer protection on electrical safety

Our government proposes to better equip the Electrical Safety Authority with a more efficient and effective compliance framework, allowing the organization to redirect resources to public safety and education efforts. This work will help to address the underground economy of unlicensed contractors and the competitiveness of licensed contractors who are compliant with the regulations. Minimizing the prevalence of illegal electrical installations strengthens Ontario’s public safety and consumer protection mandates and improves the safety of all Ontarians.

Replace outdated technology with efficient alternatives

Ontario is proposing to eliminate the use of traditional fax machines in government operations by the end of 2021 in favour of simpler and more convenient digital options. Shifting to modern digital tools will save time, increase privacy and security of data and information, and be more accessible and easier to use than legacy fax machines. We are inviting provincial agencies and Broader Public Sector partners to follow our lead in eliminating traditional fax lines.

Modernize the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010

On October 19, 2021, the Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 will come into force. The Act will provide a modern legislative framework for Ontario’s not-for-profit corporations and reduce burdens by moving from paper-based filings to digital services and providing enhanced flexibility.

Create tools to enhance government productivity

Ontario is modernizing to make it faster and more convenient for people and businesses to interact with the government. These modernizations include implementing digital productivity tools, such as eSignatures, eApprovals, Binder Browser and OPSdocs. By giving the workforce this suite of digital office business tools, Ontario’s back-office work is becoming more secure, cost-effective, and efficient, so decisions can be made sooner, and services can be delivered to people more quickly.

Update Vital Statistics Act

The government amended Regulation 1094 of the Vital Statistics Act (VSA) to permanently authorize coroner investigators who are active registered nurses and nurse practitioners to complete, sign, and copy Medical Certificates of Death (MCODs). The amended regulations reduce the strain and burden on coroners, physicians, and authorized nurse practitioners who have been on the frontlines of our province’s fight against COVID-19. The amendments also reduce delays in registering deaths and issuing burial permits, resulting in easier funeral and burial arrangements for loved ones.

Consolidate government transfer payments

An important part of government work is moving funds to those who need it, such as ministries and agencies that provide public services directly to organizations, businesses, and people from all walks of life. Our government is modernizing the administration of transfer payments to improve service delivery.

The enterprise Transfer Payment Ontario system (TPON) will provide ministries with standardized, streamlined processes to manage and administer their transfer payment programs , resulting in more efficient and effective program delivery at a lower cost to the taxpayer. For transfer payment recipients, the system will provide a seamless user experience, reducing their administrative burden and freeing up more time to deliver key services for the people of Ontario.

Ministry of Health

Enhance and clarify the Healing Arts and Radiation Protection Act

Working with key stakeholders and safety experts, the government has identified regulatory amendments and policy clarifications for HARPA.

Ontario is updating safety requirements in the regulation to align with updated national guidance to reflect best available evidence and evolving technology while ensuring the safety of patients, workers and the public who use the devices. To help industry and health system partners better understand legislative requirements and clarify roles and responsibilities, the government will also revise forms and guidance documents to clarify policies.

In addition, The govenmernt will improve review and approval timelines for the designation of new CT machines, including streamlining burdensome approval requirements to replace CT devices in hospitals.

Align appointment process for ministry board-governed operational agencies

The government is aligning Public Health Ontario’s Board appointment process with other ministry board-governed operational agencies to ensure Public Health Ontario is strongly positioned to continue supporting the province’s COVID-19 response and ongoing improvements of the public health and broader health care system. These changes will strengthen the relationship between Public Health Ontario, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the Ministry of Health, and enhance accountability of the agency while ensuring it retains its scientific and technical independence at this critical time.

Modernize the regulatory framework for the laboratory sector

The Ontario government is modernizing the regulatory framework for laboratories to ensure Ontarians can continue to receive the high-quality health care they need. This includes introducing a streamlined process for licence approvals and renewals so that Ontario’s laboratories can continue to provide important health care services to Ontarians and support them in their health care decisions. Ontarians will benefit from additional flexibility in laboratory operations and will enjoy Improved access to laboratory services in the province.

Modernize governance of health regulatory colleges

The government is consulting on governance reforms that would improve decision making, bolster transparency and accountability of Ontario’s regulatory colleges and further support high-quality health care for Ontarians. In addition, the Ministry will consult on designating colleges as public service agencies under the French Language Services Act, 1990 to bring greater consistency to the availability of French language services across colleges and improve access to services for Francophones.

These changes will strengthen regulatory colleges’ ability to respond more quickly to emerging issues in the health care system and lead to a more coordinated regulatory system for health professions, while improving public trust and confidence in the colleges and Ontario’s health system. The government is committed to ensuring that the right changes be implemented and look forward to working with stakeholders to finalize the proposals.

Update reporting requirements for recreational pool operators

The government is updating its water chemistry requirements for public pools to align with the latest available evidence. This will help pool operators to better manage costs of operating public wading pools while continuing to prioritize public health and safety.

Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

Modernize references to engineers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Ministry is updating references to engineers in the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations to give other qualified engineers the ability to provide advice and certification as required under the Act and regulations.

Simplify the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act, 2021

Our government is simplifying Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system to make it easier for apprentices, trades people and employers. A new Crown agency called Skilled Trades Ontario will replace the Ontario College of Trades. It will release a new online portal that will allow tradespeople and apprentices to access services in one place, including registration, issuance and renewal of certificates, and trade equivalency assessments, with many services offered digitally.

Make it easier for those on social assistance to find good jobs

The government is making services for jobseekers easier to use and more responsive to local needs to help more people, including those on social assistance, find good jobs. As part of this, we are integrating employment programs from social assistance, such as Ontario Works Employment Assistance and Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports, into Employment Ontario and expanding these changes province-wide. We will continue to select system managers based on a fair and competitive process open to any public, not-for-profit, or private-sector organization.

Streamline the Second Career program

The Ontario government is increasing financial supports available and simplifying the application process for individuals applying to the Second Career program, which helps unemployed, laid-off workers train for occupations in high demand in Ontario. The changes include increasing weekly basic living supports for rent, mortgage, and other expenses up to $500 a week and enhancing transportation and childcare supports to better reflect the costs that people currently face.

Clarify employer obligations when serious injuries occur

The ministry is supporting employers by proposing to clarify what obligations and processes are triggered when a serious injury occurs in the workplace.

Modernize first aid requirements

The Ontario government is modernizing workplace first aid requirements to ensure they are up to date and introducing new first aid training standards that are approved by the Chief Prevention Officer. This will help improve health and safety for workplaces, and will align Ontario’s new first aid kit and training requirements to standards created by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

Make it easier to keep workers safe

The new Small Business Health and Safety Training Program will help prevent illnesses and injures by training health and safety representatives at small businesses on how to keep workers safe in the retail, construction, health care, accommodation and food services, and other sectors. Businesses will also be reimbursed for the time the representatives are away from work.

Standardize head protection requirements across all regulations

We are proposing to amend regulations to make requirements around the use of hard hats and other protective headwear more consistent across sectors. This would provide more clarity to employers, support better compliance with the regulations, and ensure workers continue to be protected on their jobs.

Amend various requirements that apply to mines and mining plants

The ministry is proposing to amend various requirements that apply to mines and mining plants under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including ventilation and the use of newer technology to examine certain workplaces while still maintaining worker health and safety protections.

Align payroll remittance of the Workplace Safety Insurance Board and Canada Revenue Agency

The government is committed at looking at ways to streamline operations and reduce administrative burden for businesses by enabling Ontario’s Workplace Safety Insurance Board to work with a federal entity, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, so that businesses can make payments to both organizations in one place.

Protect more temporary workers

Ontario is working to protect workers and temporary help agencies that follow the rules by ensuring all temporary help agencies comply with the Employment Standards Act. The government recently consulted on how we can crack down on underground agency operators that do not follow the rules, so that we can better protect temporary workers and level the playing field for businesses that comply with regulations. Ontario is reviewing input from stakeholders, including worker advocates and business leaders, and looks forward to reporting back on next steps.

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing

Give municipalities more tools to streamline planning approvals

The proposed changes would help streamline the planning system and, in some cases, help expedite approval timelines by providing municipal councils with greater authority in deciding what planning decisions can be made by committees of council or staff.

Support better, faster transit in York Region

Investing in better, faster transit is more important than ever. Which is why our government is working in partnership with York Region to significantly expand the subway network to deliver on our commitment to build the Yonge North Subway Extension. The province is proposing changes to the Development Charges Act that, if passed, would help York Region to fund its portion of the subway by enabling it to recover more eligible growth-related costs of the extension through development charges, while protecting taxpayers’ best interests.

Support efficient deliveries of goods to retail stores, restaurants, hotels, and distribution facilities to support main street businesses

At the start of the pandemic, our government made temporary changes to help ensure that important goods – such as food, medication, and essential household items – could be delivered efficiently. Last fall, the government took action through the Main Street Recovery Act, 2020 to make some of these changes permanent by limiting municipalities from regulating noise related to the delivery of goods to retail stores, restaurants, hotels and distribution facilities. These changes build on the success of temporary measures taken to help these businesses continue to receive the goods they need when they need them and help businesses stay open.

Support economic recovery through Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs)

The government is undertaking discussions with stakeholders, including municipalities and businesses, on how Provincially Significant Employment Zones (PSEZs) can support economic development. The government continues to support the protection of important employment lands through the existing 31 PSEZs.

Amend regulations to allow municipalities to get low-interest loans from the Canada Infrastructure Bank

Ontario is proposing to amend regulations under the Municipal Act and the City of Toronto Act to allow municipalities across the province to enter into special conditional long-term loan agreements with the Canada Infrastructure Bank. It is expected that the bank would provide municipalities with low-interest loans that could be used to support revenue-generating projects that are in the public interest and will attract private capital, such as zero-emission buses..

Make it easier for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to reduce emissions

The proposed changes to the Toronto Atmospheric Fund Act would support The Atmospheric Fund in its mandate to invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area by streamlining approval processes.

Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry

Provide clarity to the practice of professional forestry

The government is changing the Professional Foresters Act to provide better clarity on the occupation of professional foresters while limiting potential impacts or overlaps with other natural resource professionals, including arborists. These changes help support professional foresters in Ontario by allowing improved oversight by the Ontario Professional Foresters Association.

Amend the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994

The government is changing the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994 to improve service delivery and save people time when seeking approval to harvest wood from Crown lands for personal use, such as firewood and Christmas trees. These changes distinguish authorization requirements for wood harvested from Crown lands for personal use from those for industrial/commercial use.

Amend the Public Lands Act

The government is proposing changes to the Public Lands Act to remove barriers to transferring land to First Nations and other levels of government, preventing people from unlawfully claiming ownership of public lands, help ensure public lands can be used for future resource-based economic development opportunities, especially in the North of the province, and improve customer service.

Make public land transactions easier

The government is reviewing and consulting on how to make it easier for municipalities to purchase public lands from the province to support economic development in communities, including those in central and northern Ontario. We are also working to reduce timelines and improve customer service for public lands transactions for existing tenants and adjacent landowners.

Review tree reservations on private land

Through its commitment to supporting economic development in Northern Ontario, the government is proposing to review the process by which private landowners can have tree reservations on their property removed. The Public Lands Act allows the Minister to release reservations of trees in land grants. Landowners with trees reserved to the Crown can apply to the ministry to remove the reservation. Upon ministry review and payment to the Crown for the value of the trees, the reservation is removed.

Explore deer hunting opportunities

The government will explore ways to improve and expand deer hunting opportunities in Ontario. This is one of the ways we are trying to help the resource-based tourism industry recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance economic returns to local and northern communities.Tourism was one of the first sectors affected by public health and safety measures related to COVID-19 and could be one of the last to recover. Deer hunters (resident and non-resident) spend an estimated $328 million annually, highlighting the economic importance of deer hunting in Ontario, particularly in many rural and northern communities.

Consult on challenges experienced by bear hunt operators

The government will undertake work to consult with stakeholders on ways to address challenges experienced by bear hunt operators and look at ways to provide more clarity and certainty around bear allocations. By understanding the challenges Ontario’s resource-based tourism industry has faced, we are trying to help the industry recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and enhance economic returns to local and northern communities. Tourism was one of the first sectors affected by public health and safety measures related to COVID-19 and could be one of the last to recover.

Modernize the Northern Services Boards Act

Amending the Northern Services Board Act to allow Local Services Boards to post public notices of meetings and minutes online will give them greater flexibility and autonomy to communicate with their residents in the best way they see fit. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of moving more Ontario services online, updating provincial regulations and cutting red tape. Ontario continues to make it easier for people and companies to do business here by reducing administrative burden and supporting Ontario’s Digital First Strategy.

Support the Critical Minerals Strategy

Ontario is working to create business certainty for mining companies by cutting red tape in the mining sector to help attract global investment, expand industry and create new jobs. As part of this commitment, the government is proposing to amend the Mining Act to enable, in certain circumstances, a mechanism where lessees and owners of mining lands can sell and retain the proceeds from materials extracted for testing without the requirement to file a mine production closure plan.Through a separate proposed change to the Mining Act, Ontario is also making it easier for mining companies to recover minerals from waste at mine sites. Reprocessing mine waste and tailings to extract critical minerals will provide companies with new economic opportunities, while helping to protect public health and safety, as well as the environment.

The government is proposing regulatory amendments that would allow companies to more easily recover the costs of bulk sample testing on unpatented mining claims. Additional regulatory changes will help clarify mine closure plan and closure plan amendments. The government is developing public guidance on closure plan requirements under the Mining Act, focusing on bulk sampling, advanced exploration closure planning, mine production closure planning and clarifiying certain definitions in the act.

These changes are part of our Critical Minerals Strategy, which aims to attract investment, increase Ontario’s competitiveness in the global market, and become an important global supplier of critical minerals.

Establish a public registry for licences of occupation

Ontario is establishing a public registry for mining licences of occupation, a type of mining tenure. Establishing this registry aligns with Ontario’s Open Data and Digital First Strategies by responding to mining industry calls for this information to be publicly available.

Update mining closure plan standards

Ontario is updating references to certain third-party guidance documents in regulations under the Mining Act that govern the standards for closure plan and closure plan amendments. It is also correcting a reference to an inappropriate chemical test for monitoring. These proposed amendments will bring the regulation up to current standards.

Recovery of Minerals in Ontario

Through these proposed changes to the Mining Act, Ontario is making it easier for mining companies to recover minerals at mine sites while creating economic opportunities through the extraction of critical minerals. Reprocessing mine waste and tailings to extract critical minerals will help strengthen the mining industry by providing companies with an economic alternative to opening a new mine.

Ontario continues to be committed to the rehabilitation of closed and abandoned mine sites to ensure the protection of public health and safety, as well as the environment. The proposed amendment to the Mining Act is also part of our Critical Minerals Strategy to attract investment, increase Ontario’s competitiveness in the global market, and become an important global supplier of critical minerals.

Ontario has committed to cutting red tape in the mining sector to attract global investment, expand the industry and create new jobs

Clarify regulations for carbon sequestration

Over the coming months, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry will be reviewing existing rules to determine whether changes are needed to support businesses and mitigate climate change. As part of this work, the ministry will engage with partner ministries to explore approaches to a regulatory framework for carbon sequestration activities that are not related to oil and gas production.

Ministry of the Solicitor General

Make it easier to volunteer

The government is proposing changes to the Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015, to eliminate processing fees related to Criminal Record Checks and Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Checks for individuals applying to volunteer positions. Up to five copies of those results would also be available upon request at no charge.Volunteers enrich our communities and Ontario is supporting volunteerism by reducing barriers for eligible volunteers who are required to obtain police record checks. The province is reviewing other options, including regulatory changes to service standards, to support volunteers and help cut red tape for the volunteer sector.

Ministry of Transportation

Make it easier to get a Registrant Identification Number

The Ministry of Transportation is exploring ways make it easier to get a Registrant Identification Number while still ensuring the process avoids fraud. A Registrant Identification Number (RIN) is a 15-digit driver’s licence number, or a 9-digit number assigned to a person or business. If someone does not have a driver’s licence, a RIN is used for transactions including registering a vehicle or renewing a vehicle validation for a business.

Expand multi-year farm and online licence plate renewal for heavy vehicles

Ontario is proposing to expand the online licence plate renewal service to heavy commercial vehicles over 3,000 kg (including farm vehicles and buses) in 2022. This change would allow Ontarians (including business operators) to renew their heavy commercial vehicles online instead of going to a ServiceOntario centre.

Consult auto tech stakeholders on potential industry advancements

Ontario is consulting with auto and tech industry stakeholders on changes to the Automated Vehicle (AV) Pilot and Manufacturer Plate (M-Plate) programs to help ensure Ontario remains a global leader in the connected and automated vehicle (CVAV) industry. Changes being consulted on include testing for personal delivery devices, adding new vehicle types like automated farm vehicles and removing some restrictions around modified AVs. Supporting advancements in Ontario’s auto tech industry will help our economy recover, bring jobs and investment to Ontario, and deliver exciting new choices for drivers, businesses, and transit riders.

Introduce exemptions for first responder vehicles

Ontario is considering ways to support emergency services including fire, police, and ambulances by exempting emergency vehicles from automated camera enforcement. This includes red-light cameras (RLC) and automated speed enforcement (ASE) cameras.

Study impacts of single traffic guidelines

Ontario is cutting red tape by proposing changes that would allow municipalities to do a single traffic impact study when there are developments close together. This means that municipalities will be able to undertake one study to evaluate the combined traffic impacts from simultaneous, proposed developments to the surrounding road network. Using a Single Traffic Impact Study is expected to result in time and cost savings, as well as a fair distribution of costs between multiple developments.

Implement a seasonal vehicle self-declaration of valid insurance

On June 28, 2021, Ontario implemented a self-declaration override code for its Insurance Validation Program. This permits counter staff to complete a licence plate renewal on a seasonal vehicle faster and more efficiently after the customer has provided satisfactory proof of valid insurance.

Large cycle pilot project Ontario is developing a pilot program for non-electric and electric-assist large cycles. Large cycles would provide municipalities with another offering to encourage tourism and boost economic growth while maintaining road safety.



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