This Week at Queen’s Park
The Legislature did not sit this week. The government’s plans to address COVID-19 continued to be the focus of debate with the government publicly musing over reopening schools in certain regions as of May 31 and facing criticism for lack of a coherent plan. In other news, the government announced an investment in innovation in the critical minerals sector in Sudbury, the next steps on reinstating passenger rail service in northeastern Ontario and a new strategy to combat violence against indigenous women and girls.
On Tuesday, with Ontario announcing 1,039 new COVID-19 infections, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health announced that some Ontario schools can now reopen on May 31 if the government decides to pursue that option. The Opposition criticized the government for lack of planning on how and when schools can reopen in person. In other news, the Minister of Transportation, announced the government will be “taking the next step towards bringing passenger rail service to people in the northeast of the province”. The rail service in northeastern Ontario was shut down in 2012 under the previous government. The move towards reinstating passenger rail was applauded by many in northern Ontario with opposition parties calling for faster completion date.
On Wednesday, there were 1,095 new COVID-19 cases, dropping the “seven-day average of daily cases to 1,623, its lowest point since March 22”, according to the CBC. The province’s fiscal watchdog, the Financial Accountability Office, released a report Wednesday stating the province will not be able to reach its previously stated goal of creating 15,000 new long-term care beds by 2024. In other news, the government announced an investment in innovation in the critical minerals sector in Sudbury that will potentially create up to 500 new jobs. The investment is part of the government’s Critical Minerals Strategy.
On Thursday, there were 1,135 new cases of COVID-19 reported. The province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, stated that “Ontario needs to see less than 500 to 600 new COVID-19 cases a day on a consistent basis” before reopening. The Premier, responding to comments earlier this week from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, that schools can reopen as of May 31 if the government agrees to it, stated that consensus from doctors and educators is required before schools can reopen. Meanwhile, teachers and parents criticized the government for ongoing uncertainty and lack of clear direction as to when and if schools will reopen. In other news, the government announced a new strategy to address gaps in supports in preventing violence against Indigenous women and girls.
Law Society of Ontario
The nomination of candidates for the election of Treasurer closed on May 13 and only one candidate was nominated for the election, current Treasurer, Teresa Donnelly. Treasurer Donnelly’s second term will run from June 23, 2021 to June 23, 2022.
The Law Society Awards ceremony was held virtually on May 26, 2021. To see a list of all the award recipients, please visit the LSO webpage.
The Law Society held Convocation on May 27, 2021 where the Honorable Justice George Czutrin was presented a LLD for his dedication to access to family justice. The former President of the Ontario Bar Association, Quinn Ross, was elected as bencher to fill the vacancy created by the departure of Paul Cooper, who was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice. The Convocation also approved by-law amendments to reflect changes to the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Rules to fight money laundering and terrorist financing.
The Law Society’s next Convocation is scheduled for June 23, 2021.
NOTABLE GOVERNMENT BILLS
Bill Number & Name
Bill 288, Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act, 2021
McNaughton, Hon. Monte Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
May 25, Consideration of the Bill by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
Bill 283, Advancing Oversight and Planning in Ontario’s Health System Act, 2021
Elliott Hon. Christine Minister of Health
May 20, Ordered for Third Reading
Bill 282, Moving Ontarians More Safely Act, 2021
Mulroney, Hon. Caroline, Minister of Transportation
May 20, Third Reading Deferred Vote
Bill 276, Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act, 2021
Sarkaria, Hon. Prabmeet Singh, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction
May 17-19, Consideration of the Bill by the Standing Committee on General Government
Bill 251, Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021
Jones, Hon. Sylvia Solicitor General
May 19, Third Reading Debate
Work of the Legislative Committees
Committee hearings held during the week of May 24, included:
Committee hearings scheduled for the week of May 31 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proposed Amendments to Ontario Reg 99 of the Pensions Benefits Act
The Ministry is seeking comments from stakeholders on draft amendments to Regulation 909 under the Pensions Benefits Act which requires pension plan administrators to provide information relating to their pension plan’s pension benefits guarantee fund to potential future claims.
Deadline for Comments: May 31, 2021
Proposed New Legislation – Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act
The proposed legislation would replace the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2009, and the Modernizing the Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Act, 2019. The legislation intends to create an agency, Skilled Trade Ontario, to oversee and be the main point of contact for client service. The Minister will maintain the authority for prescribing trades and making decisions about mandatory training and certification.
Deadline for Comments: June 5, 2021
Suspension without Pay Under the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019
The Solicitor General is requesting public input on a proposed regulation that will enable a chief of police to suspend an officer without pay, prior to a discipline hearing, when they have been charged with a ‘serious offence’, which is defined as carrying a prospective penalty of five years of imprisonment or more.
Deadline for Comments: June 7, 2021
OPP Governance Advisor Council under the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019
The CPSA requires that a Governance Advisor Council be established to advise the Solicitor General regarding the use of his/her powers with respect to the OPP. This proposed regulation would require a minimum of 11 and maximum of 20 members along with restrictions on eligibility for membership, similar to those who serve on Police Service Boards.
Deadline for Comments: June 7, 2021
Enabling the Use of Electricity Infrastructure for Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan
The government is soliciting public comment to inform the development of a regulatory framework to suppose the use of electricity infrastructure for broadband expansion in Ontario.
Deadline for Comments: June 17, 2021
Regulatory Proposals (Phase 1) under the Conservation Authorities Act
The government is proposing new regulations for conservation authorities on their core mandate by prescribing mandatory programs and services they must provide, give municipalities greater control over what conservation authority programs and services they will fund, consolidate “Conservation Areas” regulations and to require community advisory boards.
Deadline for Comments: June 27, 2021
Land Use Compatibility Guideline
The government is proposing an updated Land Use Compatibility Guideline to help municipalities and planning authorities plan sensitive land uses and major facilities. This will help to avoid or minimize and mitigate potential adverse effects from odour, noise, dust and other contaminants.
Deadline for Comments: July 3, 2021
Guidelines to Address Odour Mixtures in Ontario
The government is proposing guidance on how the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and the regulated community can anticipate, prevent and address odour issues that could be of concern to local residences.
Deadline for Comments: July 3, 2021
APPOINTMENTS & OPPORTUNITIES
Public Appointments Available
There are more than 138 government appointments available through the Public Appointments Secretariat. Appointments that may be of particular interest to OBA members include, but are not limited to:
The Law Society of Ontario is inviting lawyers, law students, licensing candidates and representatives of legal organizations and associations to apply for membership in the Equity Advisory Group. EAG is currently looking for individuals and organizational members for an upcoming three-year term ending in 2024. All positions are served on a voluntary basis. Please visit the LSO Gazette for more information on this opportunity.
The Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee is inviting applications for a judicial position in Oshawa, with a deadline of June 23, 2021. The appointment will involve presiding over criminal law matters. If you wish to apply and are seeking further information including a copy of the application form, please contact:
Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee
Tel: (416) 326-4060