October 2019
Government Introduces Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act

2019-10-30 5:54:33 PM

The government has introduced Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019, which aims to simplify and modernize regulations to lower the costs of doing business and make it easier to interact with the government.

There are a total of 80 proposed changes, both legislative and regulatory, that will result in changes across 14 ministries if passed. The government says the changes will specifically support food banks and religious charities, colleges, universities, seniors, and “reinforce environmental protections.”

The Bill has passed First Reading with proposed regulations available for comment until November 27th, 2019.

Below is a summary of the proposed changes that may be of relevance to local governments:

Repeal the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre Act, 2019
It is proposed to repeal the legislation relating to the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, which closed on June 30th, 2019.  

Expand the sale and service of alcohol in Ontario’s airports
It is proposed that licensed establishments in the post-security areas of Ontario’s international airports be allowed to sell and serve alcohol 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This would be a change from current rules allowing the sale and service of alcohol from 9am to 2am.

To comment, please click here.

Repeal duplicate legislation on delivering social services in Northern Ontario
It is proposed that duplicated programs between Part I (Local Service Boards) and Part II (Area Service Boards) of the Northern Services Boards Act, which allows for the establishment of area services boards is repealed. 

Spare owners smaller, commercial, industrial and multi-unit residential buildings from a program report
It is proposed to eliminate reporting for The Energy and Water Reporting and Benchmarking (EWRB) program, which allows building owners to review a building’s energy and water usage and compare its performance with other similar buildings.

Building owners whose buildings are under 100,000 sq ft will be exempt from such reporting and will instead be given access to the reporting tools on a voluntary basis.

Eliminate the Board of Negotiation
It is proposed to eliminate the Board of Negotiation under the Environmental Protection Act, as the government says it has not been convened in over 20 years. 

Create an electronic system to allow businesses and governments better track and report on hazardous wastes
The electronic system, that is to be redeveloped and managed by the Resource Productivity and Regulatory Authority, will include a mandate to include the development and delivery of digital waste and resource reporting service. The government says that these changes will help the province monitor and track hazardous waste moving across Ontario in real-time.

Introduce administrative penalties for environmental protections
It is proposed to expand the use of monetary penalties for environmental violations under key environmental statutes (i.e. Ontario Water Resources Act, Safe Drinking Water) against polluters.

A new program is also proposed, Ontario Community Environment Fund, which will reinvest the collected penalties into eligible organizations under the Fund with a focus to support local communities for environmental improvement initiatives.

The proposed maximum penalties set out under each Act are as follows:

  • Ontario Water Resources Act - $200,000 per contravention (same as the Environmental Protection Act)

  • Pesticides Act - $100,000 per contravention

  • Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 - $100,000 per contravention

  • Nutrient Management Act, 2002 - $10,000 per contravention

To comment, please click here

Streamline waterpower approvals under the Water Resources Act
It is proposed to amend the Ontario Water Resources Act to remove the need for waterpower facilities to obtain a permit to take water. The change would remove a duplication and overlap between the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry by moving the approvals process through the latter ministry.

All existing permits for waterpower facilities would remain in force until they are revoked by MECP or when they expire.

It is also proposed to give the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry regulation-making authority to address the assessment and management of methyl mercury impacts from waterpower facilities.

To comment, please click here

Expand qualifications to become a member of a public library board
It is proposed to expand current qualifications to allow a permanent resident of Canada to become a member of a public library board under the Public Libraries Act. Currently, only Canadian citizens qualify to be appointed.

The Act is also proposing to require boards to hold at least four regular meetings in each year as opposed to the current requirement of once a month for at least 10 months each year.

Provide an online version of the Employment Standards Policy and Interpretation Manual
It is proposed the Employment Standards Policy and Interpretation Manual be made available online to allow employers understand their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act.

Dissolve the Building Code Conservation Advisory Council
It is proposed to dissolve the Building Code Conservation Advisory Council, an advisory agency that provides advice to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing regarding standards for energy and water conservation. Other methods of consultations will instead be used.

Other proposed changes to the Building Code Act include using email as a method to serve notice or an order as required and remove a requirement for the Minister to initiate a review of the energy and water conservation provisions of the building code every four years.

Repeal legislation on fence disputes among property owners
It is proposed to repeal legislation under the Line Fences Act that was created to help resolve fence disputes between neighbours as the government says municipalities already have powers to locally regulate fencing matters through municipal bylaws and standards.

Repeal legislation to allow communities to modernize their road maintenance management
It is proposed to repeal the outdated Statute Labour Act, which provides a way of raising resources supporting the maintenance of local roads by requiring unpaid labour or commuted payments from property owners.

Reduce duplication and streamline approvals in the aggregate industry
It is proposed to reduce the overlap between the Aggregate Resources Act and municipal processes, improve flexibility for accessing aggregates, enhance a process to better protect ground water, and facilitate an approval process to clarify the roles of the province, municipalities and operators.

Streamline approvals under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act
It is proposed to create a new permit to remove forest resources on Crown land for approved non-forestry activities like electricity transmission lines and roads to far north communities.

Give municipalities the power to decide whether off-road motorcycles to drive on or across local roads to access trail networks
It is proposed to amend the Highway Traffic Act to allow off-road motorcycles to cross, ride on or along municipal roads. Municipalities would be allowed to create by-laws to support this.

For more information, please see below:

Ontario Backgrounder: Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019

Ontario Newsroom: Making Ontario Work Better for People, Smarter for Business

Environmental Registry of Ontario: Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019

Legislative Assembly of Ontario: Bill 132, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019 



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