Legislative and Policy Update October 22 – October 26

  • November 06, 2018

Last Week at Queen’s Park

On Monday, Christine Elliott, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, announced the creation of Consumption and Treatment Service sites to provide treatment and rehabilitation to people struggling with addictions. These sites would replace the former supervised injection sites set up by the Wynne government. Under the new model, each site would implement an ongoing monitoring and reporting plan, as well as adhere to new audit and enforcement protocols. The 18 sites currently in place across Ontario will need to apply to continue operating under the new system. Minister Elliott also indicated that the government would be proceeding with three other proposed sites, previously approved under the Wynne government. The Toronto Star reported that critics of the plan say there is a need for more than the current 21 sites.

On Monday, Ontario’s 444 municipal elections were held. The City of Toronto, with its newly-created 25-wards, re-elected Mayor John Tory. Ex-MPP and former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, Patrick Brown, was elected mayor in Brampton. Bill Mauro, Ontario’s former Minister of Municipal Affairs, is the new mayor of Thunder Bay, while former provincial Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry, was elected the mayor of Cambridge.

On Tuesday, the government introduced Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, to remove a number of legislative changes to employment and labour laws brought in by the previous government under Bill 148.  Among other things, Bill 47 will freeze the minimum wage at $14/hour until 2020. The Bill has been met with opposition from anti-poverty activists and union leaders, but is supported by business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The government also announced Tuesday its plan to cancel funding for three scheduled post-secondary campus expansions in Brampton, Milton and Markham. The campuses were reported to cost the government $300 million. The leader of the Opposition, Andrea Horwath, said the cancellation was not only a waste of money already invested, but also squandered a valuable opportunity to expand Ontario’s capacity for research, innovation and excellence. The Ford government stated that the move was precipitated by a higher than expected deficit.

On Wednesday, the premier continued his tour of northern Ontario, attending the opening of Harte Golde’s Sugar Zone gold mine near White River. It is the first gold mine to open in northern Ontario in more than 10 years, and is expected to create about 200 jobs for the community.

On Thursday, Minister of Education Lisa Thompson introduced legislation requiring new teachers to pass a mandatory “math knowledge test” and revoking the license of any teacher found by their regulatory body to have committed sexual abuse of a student or a child. The Toronto Star Editorial Board wrote an article in praise of the legislation. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, however, claimed the “math knowledge test” is premature given the province is in the middle of a consultation on a variety of education topics.

The Standing Committee on General Government met for clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 4, Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, on October 22.

Law Society of Ontario

Convocation met October 25, 2018. At the meeting, Convocation approved an annual fee increase for lawyers of $18 for a total annual fee of $2,201. The full Convocation update can be found here.

On October 15, the nomination period opened for the 2019 Law Society of Ontario Bencher Election. Further information on the elections can be found on the LSO web-page.

The LSO will be inviting input from the legal community and the public on a draft regulatory framework permitting lawyers and paralegals to provide services through charities and not-for-profit corporations. The comment period will be open until January 18, 2019. The draft regulatory framework has been designed as a means to facilitate access to justice. Please see the Alternative Business Structures Working Group’s October Report for more information. 

The Upcoming Week in Legislative Committees

The Standing Committee on Social Policy will hold public hearings on Bill 34, An Act to Repeal the Green Energy Act, 2009 and to amend the Electricity Act, 1998, the Environmental Protection Act, the Planning Act, and various other statutes, on October 29 (agenda) and October 30 (agenda), 2018.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts will meet to discuss the 2017 Annual Report of the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario on Cancer Treatment Services, Section 3.02 on Wednesday, October 31 (agenda).

The Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly will have a closed session on October 31, 2018 to discuss the Office of the Ombudsman (agenda).

Legislation

NOTABLE GOVERNMENT BILLS (UPDATES FOR THIS WEEK)

Bill Number & Name

Status

Bill 4, Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018

Phillips, Hon. Rod

Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks

October 23, 2018 – Ordered for Third Reading

Bill 32, Access to Natural Gas Act, 2018

McNaughton, Hon. Monte

Minister of Infrastructure

October 23 & 24, 2018 – Second Reading – Debate.

October 25, 2018 – Time allocated

Bill 34, Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018

Rickford, Hon. Greg
Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

October 25, 2018 – Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy

Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018

Wilson, Hon. Jim

Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

October 25, 2018 – First Reading – Carried

Bill 48, Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2018

Thompson, Hon. Lisa M.

Minister of Education

October 25, 2018 – First Reading – Carried

NOTABLE PRIVATE MEMBERS BILLS (UPDATES FOR THIS WEEK)

Bill Number & Name

Status

Bill 39, Accessible Parking and Towing Industry Review Committee Act, 2018

Martow, Gila

October 25, 2018 – Second Reading Debate, Carried, Ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy

Bill 46, Terrorist Activities Sanctions Act, 2018

Smith, Dave

October 22, 2018 – First Reading – Carried

REGULATIONS

  • None to report

PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE:

  • Members, Securities Proceedings Advisory Committee, Ontario Securities Commission.  Application Deadline: November 23, 2018
  • Landlord and Tenant Board (SJTO) Member (Part Time).  Application Deadline: October 31, 2018
  • Landlord and Tenant Board (SJTO) Member (Full Time).  Application Deadline: October 31, 2018
  • Landlord and Tenant Board (SJTO) Vice-Chair (Full Time).  Application Deadline: October 31, 2018
  • Human Rights Tribunal (SJTO) Member (Part Time).  Application Deadline: October 31, 2018
  • Human Rights Tribunal (SJTO) Vice-Chair (Full Time).  Application Deadline: October 31, 2018
  • Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (ELTO) Member (Full Time).  Application Deadline: November 1, 2018
  • Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (ELTO) Vice-Chair (Full Time).  Application Deadline: November 1, 2018
  • Board of Negotiation (ELTO) Member (Part Time).  Application Deadline: November 1, 2018
  • Licence Appeal Tribunal (SLATSO) Member (Full Time).  Application Deadline: November 1, 2018