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New laws and rules take effect in Ontario in 2019




The new year in Ontario means new laws and regulations.

The provincial government has made a host of changes to everything from energy to wages for workers and even political fundraising. Here are some of the new laws and rules you might notice in 2019. 

Environment/green technology

A repeal of the previous Liberal government’s Green Energy Act will come into effect on Jan. 1 and will reintroduce some energy efficiency and conservation provisions in 1998’s Electricity Act.

Regulations remade under the 1998 Electricity Act will include a requirement for municipalities, educational institutions and owners of large buildings to report energy use and a set minimum for energy and water efficiency thresholds. 

A repeal of the previous Liberal government’s Green Energy Act is now in effect. (Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)

The Used Tires Program and Ontario Tire Stewardship will also be ending. A new framework established by the Tires Regulation will take their place and makes tire producers responsible for collecting and managing tires at the end of their useful life.

Ontario will also extend the moratorium on new or increasing permits for taking groundwater for water bottling until 2020. The province says it will be continuing its scientific work and policy review of the water-taking framework. The moratorium prohibits pumping tests permits for determining the feasibility of using groundwater as a source for bottled water.

The province will extend the moratorium on new or increasing permits for taking groundwater for water bottling until 2020. (CBC)

Changes for workers

As part of the government’s commitment to keep minimum wage at $14 an hour, the province has launched a tax credit for low-income individuals and families.

It will provide up to $850 in a tax credit for individuals and up to $1,700 for couples. Minimum wage will be reviewed in 2020 and will be tied to the rate of inflation.

Rollbacks to the previous Liberal government’s policies will now kick in replacing paid leaves for emergencies, illness or bereavement with unpaid leaves.

In addition, the province will roll back provisions that ensured part-time, casual or temporary employees were paid at the same amount as full-time workers. Pay equity provisions based on gender remain in place.

Minimum wage will stay $14 an hour and will be reviewed in 2020. (Robert Short/CBC)

Changes on the road

Most drivers caught on a hand-held device will now be fined up to $1,000 — more than double the current fine. Additional penalties include a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points.

For a second conviction within five years, the maximum fine rises to $2,000, plus six demerit points and a seven-day driver’s licence suspension.

More convictions within that five-year period would be an even bigger hit to the wallet at a fine up to $3,000, six demerit points and a 30-day suspension.

Most drivers caught on a hand-held device will be fined up to $1,000. (The Associated Press)

Penalties for having a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.05, failing a roadside sobriety test or violating the zero tolerance requirements for young, novice and commercial drivers will now be increased to $250 for the first offence, $350 for the second offence and $450 for third and subsequent offences.

There’s also a new $550 penalty for refusing to take a drug or alcohol test if you register a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 or if a drug recognition evaluator determines impairment.

A new penalty for refusing to take a drug or alcohol test if you register a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 will cost drivers $550. (Shutterstock)

Additionally, the fee to get your drivers licence reinstated after a suspension has increased from $198 to $275.

Changes to the Highway Traffic Act will expand testing of connected and autonomous vehicles in highway, which the province says will open opportunities for new testing and research and development opportunities.

Election finance

Political contribution limits in the province will now match federal contribution limits at $1,600, and starting in 2020 Ontario’s annual contribution limit will increase to the federal rate of $25 at the start of each year.

Ontario will rise political contribution limits to match federal contribution limits at $1,600. (iStock)

Politicians will now be able to participate in fundraisers and the province has also eliminated the cap on the amount of money that can be contributed at fundraising events.

Hunting and fishing

Hunters and fishers can expect streamlined licensing with the creation of a single Outdoors Card and one fishing and hunting licence document. The document would have all licences a client has purchased.

The creation of a single Outdoors Card will mean hunters and fishers can expect streamlined licensing. (Radio-Canada)

The government says the move is to improve consistency and to “modernize” the system for anglers and hunters. This includes plans to change regulation and look at improving measures in which hunters report their harvests.


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa




With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV




A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence




Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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