LEGISLATIVE AND POLICY UPDATE – Week of October 25, 2021

  • October 29, 2021

This Week at Queen’s Park

This week in the Legislature, plans to address COVID-19 continued to be the focus of government announcements including; access to ‘take home’ COVID-19 tests for children in public schools, and the province’s preparation to roll out vaccines to children aged 5-11 once vaccines are approved by Health Canada. In other news, the government announced a plan to address the backlog of criminal cases accrued during the pandemic. There were a number of pieces of legislation introduced this week, including; Working for Workers Act, 2021, Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021 and the Remembrance Week Amendment Act, 2021.

On Monday, with 326 new daily COVID-19 cases, the government was faced with criticism for failing to make mandatory, vaccinations for all Ontario hospital workers. Meanwhile, the government introduced an omnibus labour Bill, Working for Workers Act, 2021, that if passed would give workers the ‘right to disconnect outside of office-hours’ and ban ‘non-compete agreements’. The legislation is the first of its kind in Canada. Opposition parties expressed initial support for the initiatives proposed in the legislation. For more information, see the Legislation section below.

On Tuesday, with 269 new daily COVID-19 cases, the province launched a new inspection program for long-term care homes along with $20 million in 2021-2022 to hire 193 new inspectors. Meanwhile a complaint was lodged with the integrity commissioner against independent MPP, Randy Hillier, for anti-vaccination posts on his social media.

On Wednesday, with just over 320 new COVID-19 cases in the province, the government announced that it would be ready to roll out vaccines for children aged 5-11 as soon as they are approved by Health Canada. The Premier expressed understanding of why parents of young children may hesitate to vaccinate their children and said the decision will be left up to parents.

On Thursday, with Ontario seeing a rise in new daily COVID-19 cases to 409, the government announced that all publicly funded schools will have access to take home COVID-19 tests for students. Thursday saw the government introduce a number of Bills including, legislation to repeal the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, and replace it with the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021. The government also introduced legislation on Thursday to allow workers to wear poppies in the workplace to commemorate Remembrance Day.

On Friday, the government announced an investment of over $72 million to help address the backlog of criminal cases, that have accumulated in the justice system as a result of the pandemic. The funding, which is spread out over two years, will establish a team of prosecutors to conduct an intensive case review and engage in a resolution blitz of targeted offences for each region.

Law Society of Ontario

The Law Society’s Convocation was held on October 28, 2021. The 2022 LSO budget was passed at Convocation, which includes the reinstatement of the 10% reduction that was made last year to Law Libraries across Ontario. Annual licensing fees will also be reduced in 2022 by $60, for an annual fee of $1,813. On the articling front, Convocation agreed to renew the 8-month minimum articling term for the 2022-2023 licensing term.

The Law Society’s next Convocation is scheduled for November 26, 2021.


Bill Number & Name


Bill 38 Remembrance Week Amendment Act, 2021

Gill, Hon. Parm, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism

October 28, 2021, First Reading Carried

Bill 37, Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021

Phillips, Hon. Rod Minister of Long-Term Care

October 28, 2021, First Reading Carried

Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021

McNaughton, Hon. Monte Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development

October 25, 2021, First Reading Carried

Bill13, Supporting People and Businesses Act, 2021

Tangri, Hon. Nina, Monte Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

October 7, 2021, First Reading Carried
October 28, 2021, Second Reading Carried
October 28, 2021, Ordered to Standing Committee


Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021
On October 25, 2021, the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, tabled Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act, 2021. The Bill proposes amendments to a number of pieces of legislation, through six schedules, key ones of which are summarized below. The OBA’s Labour and Employment section is currently reviewing the legislation for consideration of comments. If you are interested in helping with this work, please contact us at advocacy@oba.org as soon as possible.

  • Schedule 2 proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 include; the requirement on employers that employ 25 or more employees to have a written policy with respect to disconnecting from work, the prohibition of employers from entering into employment contracts or other agreements with an employee that are, or that include, a non-compete agreement (certain exceptions are provided for), and the requirement for temporary help agencies and recruiters be licensed.


  • Schedule 6 proposes changes to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997that include the permission or requirement of the Board to distribute amounts in the insurance fund in excess of prescribed amounts among certain Scheduled employers and that such decisions cannot be reconsidered by, or appealed to, the Board or the Tribunal.

Work of the Legislative Committees

Committee hearings held the week of October 25, included; 

Committee hearings scheduled for the week of November 1, include: 


A full listing of Ontario regulations posted for consultation can be found on the government’s Regulatory Registry website. Some of the current postings that may be of interest to OBA section members include the notices below. The OBA regularly works with our sections to review these postings. If you have any comments or questions, please let us know right away at advocacy@oba.org.

Proposed Additional Delegation of Planning Decisions
Changes are being proposed to the Planning Act, Municipal Act, 2001 and City of Toronto Act, 2006 that would provide municipalities with discretionary authority to delegate additional decisions to committees of council or municipal staff for minor amendments to zoning by-laws.

Deadline for Comments: November 21, 2021

Establishing a Public Registry for Mining and Exploratory Licenses of Occupation Information
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) is proposing to amend the Mining Act to establish a public registry for mining and exploratory licences of occupation. The registry would be accessible through the Mining Lands Administrative System (MLAS) allowing for easier access to the information held by the ministry.

Deadline for Comments: November 21, 2021

Proposed Amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 for Requirement for Policies on Disconnecting from Work
This proposed amendment would require employers that employ 25 people or more to have a written disconnecting from work policy in place by March 1. Employers would have the flexibility to develop a policy that is appropriate to their operational requirements.

Deadline for Comments: November 22, 2021

Proposed Amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to Prohibit Employers from Entering Non-Compete Agreements with Employees
This proposed amendment would prohibit employers from entering into employment contracts or other agreements with an employee that is, or that includes, a non-compete agreement. If the employer violates that prohibition the non-compete agreement is void. Canadian courts have generally considered non-compete agreements to be ‘restraint of trade’ and are generally unenforceable. An exception to the prohibition would apply in certain sale of business arrangements.

Deadline for Comments: November 22, 2021


Proposed Amendments to Ontario Regulation 909 of the Pension Benefits Act: Removing Certain Requirements for Administrators of Define Contribution Pension Plans
The Ministry of Finance is seeking comments from stakeholders on draft amendments to Regulation 909 under the Pensions Benefits Act. The proposed changes would remove the requirement for member-directed DC plans to establish a Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures, among other changes.

Deadline for Comments: November 23, 2001

Proposed Changes for the Next Edition of Ontario’s Building Code (Fall Consultation)
As part of the development process for the next edition of Ontario's Building Code, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is engaging in consultation starting in Fall 2021 on some existing variations from National Construction Codes as well as a number of proposed changes that are unique to Ontario's Building Code. The consultation document is currently being reviewed by the Municipal Law executive and the Construction Law executive in consideration of a submission.

Deadline for Comments: December 4, 2021

Capital Markets Act – Consultation Draft
The Ministry of Finance is consulting on a new draft Capital Markets Act (CMA) to modernize Ontario's capital markets regulatory framework. If developed into a bill at a future date, the CMA would replace the existing Securities Act and the Commodity Futures Act. At this stage, the CMA is to be considered for consultation purposes only.

Deadline for Comments: January 21, 2022



Public Appointments Available

There are more than 135 vacant government appointments available through the Public Appointments Secretariat. Appointments that may be of particular interest to OBA members include, but are not limited to: