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New taxes, wage hikes and more: 49 new laws across Canada in 2019

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Some changes are tiny and bureaucratic. Others will fundamentally change the country. The federal and provincial governments have announced numerous new rules for 2019. Most federal, provincial and territorial laws come into force immediately after their passage and assent. But legislation requiring greater planning or notice is typically delayed to allow affected parties time to prepare. Here are 49 new laws that come into effect across Canada in 2019. They range from the arrival of a federal carbon-tax plan to a fee for plastic bags in Prince Edward Island.

January 1, 2019

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada)
For provinces that either did not adopt Prime Minister Trudeau’s carbon pricing system or failed to develop their own pricing plan—that’s Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Saskatchewan—the legislation institutes a fee on carbon pollution beyond a certain threshold for larger industrial facilities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018 (Canada)
The small business tax rate is reduced from 10 per cent to 9 per cent.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada)
Requires organizations to obtain “meaningful consent” for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner has detailed necessary practices including making information collection easily understandable and allowing consumers to opt-in or opt-out.

Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act (Canada)
Anyone convicted of distracted driving will automatically have their driver’s licence suspended for three or 30 days. ‘Distraction’ ranges from holding an electronic device in your hands to eating.

A Better Deal for Consumers and Businesses Act (Alberta)
Consumer lenders providing loans at annual interest rates exceeding 32 per cent require licenses and are subject to more stringent reporting requirements.

Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (Alberta)
Requires owners of contaminated land—including oil and gas sites—seeking remediation certificates to report “new information” as well as meet specific timelines and instructions to remediate land and prevent further adverse effects.

Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2018 (British Columbia)
As part of B.C.’s 2018 budget, businesses with a payroll exceeding $500,000 will begin to pay an Employer Health Tax.

Safe and Responsible Retailing of Cannabis Act (Manitoba)
Manitoba’s Social Responsibility Fee is a 6 per cent tax on revenues of licensed cannabis retailers “to ensure they share in the social responsibility costs of cannabis legalization.”

MORE: Canada isn’t ready for legal weed

An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act, 2018 (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Eligible residents can claim a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit on their provincial income tax through the government’s new Search and Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit.

Residential Tenancies Act (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Provision to allow landlords to get immediate approval to evict a tenant in extreme circumstances and for victims of domestic violence escaping an unsafe situation to terminate a lease with only 30 days notice without financial penalty.

Environment Act (Nova Scotia)
Cap and trade pricing comes into effect in the province, a system that costs carbon and allows producers polluting above a certain threshold to buy credits from firms that burn less.

Corporations Registration Act and Companies Act (Nova Scotia)
Reduces incorporation fees from $336.40 to $200—the lowest in Canada—and waives the annual registration fee for firms in the first year of incorporation.

Safer Ontario Act (Ontario)
Recognizes police forces in Ontario First Nations’ territory as fully-fledged and guarantees support, standards and resources to undertake their work.

MORE: Inside the impossible work of Canada’s biggest Indigenous police force

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (Ontario)
Requires hunters to report hunting activity and “harvests” and allows the on-line purchase of hunting dog licenses.

Collection and Debt Settlement Services Act (Ontario)
Requires collection agencies with ten or more collectors to record certain calls relating to their activities; those not in compliance subject to fine.

Employment Standards Act (Ontario)
Excludes those working in the film and television industry from compensation for work shifts cancelled within 48 hours and also denies those employees the right to refuse unscheduled work with less than four days notice.

Child and Family Services Act (Ontario)
Requires new complaint and licensing procedures for child welfare residences as well as clinical oversight and approval of mechanical restraints in secure treatment programs.

An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance (Quebec)
Requires employees to adopt a ‘psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy’ with a section defining sexual harassment as “behaviour that manifests itself in the form of verbal comments, actions or gestures of a sexual nature.” More generous leave entitlements also come into effect.

MORE: Canada should elect a gender-balanced Parliament in 2019

An Act to improve the performance of the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, to better regulate the digital economy as regards e-commerce, remunerated passenger transportation and tourist accommodation and to amend various legislative provisions (Quebec)
Among many changes to the regulation of Quebec’s insurance industry, allows life insurance policy holders to sell an existing policy to a third party for a value determined by an independent appraiser.

January 15, 2019

Safe Food for Canadians Act (Canada)
Significantly expands the list of individuals and firms required to hold a Canadian Food Inspection Agency license, a ‘food safety preventive control plan’ as well as a food tracking and tracing process.

February 1, 2019

Safe Body Art Act (Nova Scotia)
Requires permits for those selling body art services—tattoo and piercing studios, for instance—and demands operators meet standards for infection prevention and records management.

February 18, 2019

Family Day Act (British Columbia)
British Columbia transfers Family Day from the second Monday in February to the third Monday to move the holiday in line with other Canadian provinces.

March 1, 2019

Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act (Ontario)
Among various changes, makes codes of conduct mandatory for members of council and local boards. The Act also expands the role of Integrity Commissioners to advise and educate politicians and board members regarding conduct and conflict of interest.

April 1, 2019

Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (Canada)
Allows Canada Health Transfer deductions to be reimbursed when provinces and territories have taken the steps necessary to eliminate extra-billing and user fees in the delivery of public health care.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017 (Canada)
Eligible veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members will begin to receive Pension for Life, a monthly payment to compensate ill or injured soldiers for pain and suffering resulting from service-related disabilities.

MORE: The Trudeau government’s education plan for veterans is stingy

An Act to amend the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Act and the Income Tax Act (Canada)
Annual CPP contributions will increase over the next seven years. An individual with earnings of $54,900 will contribute about an additional $75 per year in 2019.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Canada)
Under federal legislation, a charge on fossil fuels paid by producers and distributors goes into effect for provinces that haven’t passed their own legislation. In Yukon and Nunavut fuel charges begins July 2019

An Act to implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (Canada)
Among the impacts of this trade agreement with Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam is a lowering of the Japanese tariff on Canadian fresh beef to 26.6 per cent from a pre-pact level of 38.5 per cent.

MORE: The Liberal Party insider who helped save the TPP deal

Local Food Sector Act (Alberta)
Establishes an Alberta local food council, create a local food week and establishes new organic certification requirements for products sold within the province.

Medicare Protection Amendment Act (British Columbia)
Extends provisions that protect residents against unlawful charges for medical services to include diagnostic services. Doctors can be fined $20,000 for breaches and potentially “de-enrolled” from billing the public health system after multiple violations.

Insurance (Vehicle) Act (British Columbia)
B.C. Residents making injury claims following a motor vehicle accident will now be limited to $5,500 for pain and suffering on minor injury claims, with resolution of disputes through a tribunal, rather than the courts.

Cannabis Act (Ontario)
Private retailers can now sell marijuana in bricks-and-mortar shops.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario)
Harassment and violence are now defined as workplace hazard that affect health and safety. Workplaces with 20 or more employees must develop a code of practice on managing violence in the workplace.

Nunavut Elections Act (Nunavut)
Municipal elections now overseen by the Chief Electoral Officer of Elections Nunavut and election rules harmonized. Previously, local authorities were responsible for running elections.

MORE: As Nunavut turns 20, Inuit rethink their own governance

April 6, 2019

The Mines Regulation Act (Saskatchewan)
Introduces mine safety, inspection and management requirements for employers and owners, including more stringent fire and airborne contaminant standards.

June 1, 2019

Employment Standards Act (British Columbia)
Minimum wage in the province rises from $12.65 per hour to $13.85.

Act Respecting Children, Youth and Families (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Prioritizes keeping families intact, expands permanent options for children and youth in foster care, develops a licensing regime for out-of-home care placement and strengthens service delivery for Indigenous youth and children and their families

June 16, 2019

An Act to amend the Civil Code and other legislative provisions as regards adoption and the disclosure of information (Quebec)
Individuals adopted in Quebec now have the right to know their original first and last names, the first and last names of their biological mother or father (if consent provided) and the potential to contact their biological parents.

June 21 or September 30, 2019
An Act to amend the Bills of Exchange Act, the Interpretation Act and the Canada Labour Code (National Indigenous Peoples Day) (Canada)
Federal NDP member Georgina Jolibois’ private members bill will create a statutory holiday marking Canada’s residential school legacy. Federal government expected to announce choose between the two dates in time for 2019.

July 1, 2019

Canada Business Corporations Act (Canada)
The elimination of bearer shares and bearer share warrants or options. Bearer shares allow for complete anonymity of share ownership and transfer. Changes won’t impact existing bearer shares.

Environmental Protection Act (Canada)
Sale of toiletries containing microbeads – miniature manufactured solid plastic particles – prohibited except in natural health products or non-prescription drugs. Microbeads, often used in skin cleansers, are characterized as toxic and can harm aquatic organisms

Education Act and Inuit Language Protection Act (Nunavut)
Requires the implementation of Inuktut instruction in Grade 4 to Grade 9

Prince Edward Island • Plastic Bag Reduction Act (Prince Edward Island)
Consumers will no longer receive plastic bag at checkouts or with take-out food orders. Recyclable paper bags can be provided at a cost of no less than 15 cents and reusable bags at no less than $1.

July 25, 2019

Consumer Protection Act (Quebec)
Places limits on loyalty card providers’ ability to place expiry dates on rewards or change terms for exchanging points for goods or services, requires greater transparency regarding billing errors and tightens rules for merchants offering high-cost credit to assess a consumer’s ability to pay before extending loans.

August 1, 2019

Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Canada)
Expands requirements for truck tractors manufactured in Canada to have electronic stability control systems. The technology is designed to reduce rollover and loss-of-control crashes.

October 1, 2019

Construction Lien Amendment Act (Ontario)
The legislation sets out timelines for payment to building contractors and subcontractors in order to significantly reduce payment delays. Owners will have 28 days to pay a contractor, while contractors must pay subcontractors within seven days of receiving their payment.

October 17, 2019

Cannabis Act (Canada)
The sale of cannabis edible products and concentrates are legal “no later than 12 months following” Canada’s Cannabis Act coming into force on October 17, 2018.

TBD 2019

Trademarks Act (Canada)
Among amendments are the registration term for trademarks to be reduced from 15 years to 10 years and the definition of a trademark broadened to include nontraditional items like smells, tastes, textures, and moving images

An Act to Enable Clean Energy Improvements (Alberta)
Allows municipalities to establish Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs that pay for energy-efficient upgrades or renewable energy systems for home and business owners with financing repaid through property tax bills.

Transportation Modernization Act (Canada)
Expected to come into force Summer 2019, will approve an air passenger ‘bill of rights’ guaranteeing consistent protections expected to include minimum compensation for flight delays and lost luggage as well as clear guidelines for tarmac delays.

MORE ABOUT YEAR AHEAD 2019:

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Chris Selley: The blinding incoherence of Ottawa’s hotel-quarantine theatre is becoming obvious

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Canada’s new mandatory hotel quarantine system landed over the weekend like a wet, mildewy towel. You have to book by phone. No one answers. There are multiple reports of Canadian citizens being put on hold for three hours, then cut off seemingly automatically.

“Our trained and specialized travel counsellors are providing around-the-clock service to facilitate hotel bookings,” a spokesperson for American Express Global Business Travel told National Post.

The “regular hours of operation” listed are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Ottawa time.

Officials have blamed the call backlog on people calling too far in advance of travel. Would you wait until the recommended 48 hours before your flight? The online advice implies you need “proof of having reserved and pre-paid for (hotel) accommodation” even to get on the plane. In fact, help is available for those disembarking without reservations, a Public Health spokesman said.

That might be useful information to put on the internet. But then, so would a reservation system. All the participating hotels already have one of those.

For now, this all-too-predictable shambles isn’t a problem for the government. On social media, many are revelling in the misery and stress it’s causing, calling it travellers’ just deserts  — never mind if it’s an expat coming home to take a job, or a grieving family returning from a funeral, and not some fully vaccinated cartoon-villain snowbird. Former Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips and Canada’s other gallivanting politicos created a full-on moral panic overnight, and the feds, hitherto scornful of anyone who suggested international travel was worth worrying about, were happy to provide some red meat.

The populist glee will wear off, though, and the blinding incoherence of this policy will eventually dawn on people. There is evidence right here at home that may illustrate the problem.

Since November, travellers arriving at Calgary’s airport on international flights, or overland  into Alberta from Montana, could take a test upon arrival, and another a week later, and upon receipt of two negative results avoid the 14-days quarantine that has otherwise been demanded of “non-essential” humans entering the country for nearly a year. That “pilot project” was unceremoniously cancelled Sunday night.

At first, participants were allowed out and about, with a few restrictions, as soon as the test-on-arrival came back negative — usually within 48 hours. Upon receipt of the second negative result, they were subject to even fewer restrictions for the remainder of the two weeks. Later, travellers from the U.K. and South Africa were excluded; the federal rule requiring a negative test to board a flight to Canada kicked in; and on January 25, the rules changed such that pilot-project participants had to remain in quarantine until the second negative result after a week.

With the U.K. and South Africa excluded and a negative test required to board, the percentage of travellers testing positive on arrival dropped by half, from 1.47 to 0.75 per cent; the number testing positive a week later dropped by one-third, from 0.74 to 0.5 per cent.

It’s a small sample size. It doesn’t prove anything. But it’s intuitive: if you weed out high-risk travellers, and test before departure, you get fewer initial positives. This hints at one approach Canada could have taken but didn’t: focus more stringent measures on certain countries. Do we really need to treat arrivals from famously COVID-free countries like New Zealand (0.7 new daily cases per million population, on a two-week average), or Taiwan (0.03 cases), the same as those disembarking flights from Israel (384), the United Arab Emirates (296) or the United States (202)?

That one in 200 travellers were still testing positive after a week highlights the central flaw in the government’s plan, however. As I noted two weeks ago, research suggests the probability of a “false negative” PCR test only falls below 50 per cent on the fifth day after infection. If your goal is to prevent international travellers from transmitting COVID-19 to anyone in Canada, you can accomplish it vastly more effectively with a five- or seven-day quarantine, followed by another test, than with three days waiting for the result of a test conducted at the airport.

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Carleton Master’s Sociology Student to Receive Royal Ottawa Award for Mental Health Work

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Charlotte Smith, a Carleton University master’s student in Sociology, has faced overwhelming challenges throughout her life: childhood sexual abuse, homelessness, incarceration, drug dependency.

Undaunted, she has channelled these experiences into her academic, advocacy and activist work, developing research projects to address youth homelessness, creating a bursary to help homeless youth attend Carleton, and delivering food, phones and other essential items to homeless and precariously housed youth who are struggling during the pandemic.

For these actions, and for sharing her story of recovery to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness, Smith will be awarded the Personal Leader for Mental Health award at the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health’s 2021 Inspiration Awards.

“It can be re-traumatizing, embarrassing and awkward talking so publicly about your mental health and substance use issues, so it’s comforting when someone tells you that you’re not just oversharing, you’re actually making a small difference in other people’s lives,” says Smith, who will be joined on the Inspiration Awards virtual podium by Carleton President Benoit-Antoine Bacon, winner of the Royal’s Transformational Leader award.

“Getting an award like this is fantastic, but there are so many people doing so much important work on mental health and substance use,” says Smith, who last year won a Community Builder Award from the United Way East Ontario for her volunteer efforts in COVID times.

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Shopify Launches Offering of Class A Subordinate Voting Shares

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OTTAWA, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP)(TSX:SHOP) (“Shopify”) today announced that it has filed a preliminary prospectus supplement (the “Preliminary Supplement”) to its short form base shelf prospectus dated August 6, 2020 (the “Base Shelf Prospectus”). The Preliminary Supplement was filed in connection with a public offering of Shopify’s Class A subordinate voting shares (the “Offering”). The Preliminary Supplement has been filed with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces and territories of Canada, except Québec. The Preliminary Supplement has also been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) as part of Shopify’s registration statement on Form F-10 (the “Registration Statement”) under the U.S./Canada Multijurisdictional Disclosure System.

A total of 1,180,000 Class A subordinate voting shares will be offered by Shopify for sale under the Offering, which will be led by Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC (the “Underwriters”).Shopify will grant the Underwriters an over-allotment option to purchase up to an additional 15% of the Class A subordinate voting shares to be sold pursuant to the Offering (the “Over-Allotment Option”). The Over-Allotment Option will be exercisable for a period of 30 days from the date of the final prospectus supplement relating to the Offering. Allen & Company LLC is acting as special advisor to the Company with respect to the Offering.

Shopify expects to use the net proceeds from the Offering to strengthen its balance sheet, providing flexibility to fund its growth strategies.

Closing of the Offering will be subject to a number of closing conditions, including the listing of the Class A subordinate voting shares to be issued under the Offering on the NYSE and the TSX.

No securities regulatory authority has either approved or disapproved the contents of this news release. This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any province, state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such province, state or jurisdiction. The Preliminary Supplement, the Base Shelf Prospectus and the Registration Statement contain important detailed information about the Offering. A copy of the Preliminary Supplement and Base Shelf Prospectus can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and EDGAR at www.sec.gov, and a copy of the Registration Statement can be found on EDGAR at www.sec.gov. Copies of these documents may also be obtained from Citigroup, c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, Telephone: 1-800-831-9146; Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, Eleven Madison Avenue, 3rd floor, New York, NY 10010, Telephone: 1-800-221-1037 or e-mail: usa.prospectus@credit-suisse.com; Credit Suisse Securities (Canada), Inc., Attention: Olivier Demet, 1 First Canadian Place, Suite 2900, Toronto, Ontario M5X 1C9, Telephone: 416-352-4749 or e-mail: olivier.demet@credit-suisse.com; or Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, Attn: Prospectus Department, 200 West Street, New York, NY 10282, telephone: 866-471-2526, facsimile: 212-902-9316 or email: prospectusny@ny.email.gs.com. Prospective investors should read the Preliminary Supplement, the Base Shelf Prospectus and the Registration Statement before making an investment decision.

About Shopify

Shopify is a leading global commerce company, providing trusted tools to start, grow, market, and manage a retail business of any size. Shopify makes commerce better for everyone with a platform and services that are engineered for reliability, while delivering a better shopping experience for consumers everywhere. Shopify powers over 1.7 million businesses in more than 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Allbirds, Gymshark, Heinz, Staples Canada and many more.

We were proudly founded in Ottawa, Canada, but prefer to think of the company location as Internet, Everywhere. Shopify is a company of and by the internet, and we have physical outposts around the world. The archaic newswire system doesn’t allow us to acknowledge this fact, so we will henceforth keep this paragraph in our press releases until technology improves.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking information and forward-looking statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws (“forward-looking statements”) including statements regarding the proposed Offering, the terms of the Offering and the proposed use of proceeds. Words such as “expects”, “continue”, “will”, “plans”, “anticipates” and “intends” or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

These forward-looking statements are based on Shopify’s current expectations about future events and financial trends that management believes might affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs, and on certain assumptions and analysis made by Shopify in light of the experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments and other factors management believes are appropriate. These projections, expectations, assumptions and analyses are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, events and achievements to differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. Although Shopify believes that the assumptions underlying these forward-looking statements are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect, and readers cannot be assured that the Offering discussed above will be completed on the terms described above. Completion of the proposed Offering is subject to numerous factors, many of which are beyond Shopify’s control, including but not limited to, the failure of customary closing conditions and other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in Shopify’s filings with the SEC and the securities commissions or similar securities regulatory authorities in each of the provinces or territories of Canada. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release represent Shopify’s expectations as of the date of this news release, or as of the date they are otherwise stated to be made, and subsequent events may cause these expectations to change. Shopify undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

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