Proposed Changes to Create Jobs and Reduce Regulatory Burden in Specific Sectors

Today, Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and the lead minister on reducing red tape and regulatory burden, announced over 30 actions to make it easier for businesses to create jobs — and for people to find them. If passed, the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 will, along with regulatory changes, eliminate red tape and burdensome regulations so businesses can grow, create and protect good jobs.

The package, part of the Ontario Open for Business Action Plan, includes actions that would give businesses more flexibility to create jobs right here at home. It would also take major steps to make it easier for businesses to locate or expand in Ontario, and to protect industrial lands. As well, it reduces regulatory burden in specific sectors.

The package would:

Help create a job-friendly flexible labour market

Ministry of Education
Remove restrictions on home-based child care providers, including allowing additional children, to make it easier for parents to find affordable child care
These proposed changes under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 would remove some restrictions on home-based child care providers, which would increase flexibility in the number and ages of children they can care for. These changes would also make life easier for parents and families by making affordable child care more available. This would make it easier for parents to re-enter the job market, and for employers to find the workers they need.

Ministry of Education
Lower the age of children that authorized recreation programs can serve from six to four
This change under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 would allow children who are four years old to take part for up to three hours in authorized recreation programs before and after school. This change would increase access to programming, making life easier for parents — including making it easier to re-enter the workplace. It would also maintain high standards and align rules with camps and kindergarten.

Ministry of Finance
Stop requiring a new regulation whenever businesses and non-profits merge single-employer pension plans into jointly sponsored pension plans (JSPPs)
The proposed change under the Pension Benefits Act would allow private-sector employers to more easily merge their single-employer pension plans with jointly sponsored pension plans. Eliminating the requirement to get government approval would make it easier for employers to reduce pension-plan risk by pooling their plans with other employers.

Ministry of Labour
Amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to reduce regulatory burden on businesses, including no longer requiring them to obtain approval from the Director of Employment Standards for excess hours of work and overtime averaging
These proposed changes would eliminate the requirement for employers to apply for Ministry of Labour approval for excess weekly hours of work and overtime averaging. It would retain these requirements for employee-written agreements. These changes would set four weeks as the maximum time that an employer could average an employee’s hours of work for the purposes of determining overtime pay. This would make companies more competitive by giving them more flexibility to manage shifts.

Ministry of Labour
Stop requiring employers to post the ESA poster in the workplace, but retain the requirement that they provide the poster to employees
Employers are already required to give each employee a copy of the most recent version of the ESA poster, in addition to posting it in the workplace. The proposed change eliminates the duplication for employers of having to do both.

Make it easier to locate or expand in Ontario

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Introduce a new economic development tool and remove planning barriers to expedite major business investments and speed up approvals so they would be completed within one year
These proposals to streamline provincial development approvals under the Planning Act would cut red tape and shorten the time it takes to build projects that create jobs. Municipalities would have the option to use the streamlined process so they could act quickly to attract major employers. The aim is to have all provincial approvals in place within one year so qualifying businesses can begin construction.

Protect industrial lands

Ministry of Finance
The government will confirm with the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) that industrial properties will be assessed based on current permitted uses, not speculative uses
MPAC administers property assessment and appeals of assessment. The proposed measure under the Assessment Act would provide greater certainty for Ontario’s business community, and would confirm that the methodology MPAC uses to assess business properties is based on permitted land uses only, not on speculative uses. This would protect businesses on employment lands where land values have jumped because of new residential developments nearby from steep property tax increases.

The package introduced today would also reduce regulatory burden so businesses could grow and create and protect good jobs in a wide variety of sectors:

Agriculture and food processing

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Remove outdated and time-consuming reporting requirements under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, including ones required for loan guarantee programs
Currently, the Cabinet and Lieutenant Governor must approve any changes to loan guarantee programs. This delays changes needed to meet industry needs. The proposed changes would provide the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs with the authority to establish or make changes to loan guarantee programs not affecting the amount or form of the guarantee through a Minister’s Order. The Lieutenant Governor would retain the authority over the amount and form of the guarantee.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Eliminate costly and prescriptive standards under the Milk Act, and adopt an outcomes-based approach in the regulations
Current standards are outdated and costly. The proposed amendments would adopt a more outcomes-based approach. This would help reduce regulatory burden for existing, new and expanding dairy processors, as well as for small food service and retail operations.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Proposed changes under the Food Safety and Quality Act will reduce paperwork and fees and encourage additional business opportunities for provincially licensed meat processors
Current standards are outdated and costly. The proposed amendments would adopt a more outcomes-based approach while protecting our high food safety standards and maintaining a rigorous inspection system. This would help reduce regulatory burden for existing, new and expanding provincially licensed meat plants, such as small abattoirs, allowing them to focus on food safety and economic growth.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Amend the Agricultural Employees Protection Act (AEPA) to cover ornamental horticultural workers
These proposed changes would establish more equity, consistency and clarity among agricultural workers. They would bring ornamental horticultural farmers and their employees under the AEPA, ensuring the same protection as agricultural workers in other sectors. Currently, most of this small subset of workers is part of an exemption clause under the Labour Relations Act, 1995 — leaving them without legal protection. The proposed amendment would clarify which workers the AEPA covers.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Streamline the regulation under the Nutrient Management Act to remove the requirement to update the strategy every five years, if nothing has changed; increase flexibility to deal with nutrients from farm-likeanimals that are kept on facilities other than farms, such as game farms
This would reduce costs for these operations and treat similar materials in a similar fashion.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Proclaim into force the repeal of the Livestock Medicines Act and substitute minimalist regulations under the Animal Health Act
The Livestock Medicines Act contains outdated and duplicative requirements, and legislation was passed to repeal it in 2009. The government now proposes to bring the repeal into force, while maintaining key provisions around animal health in a new regulation under the Animal Health Act.

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Enable amendments under the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act to simplify delivery of programs and enhance responsiveness
Existing processes require a regulation to amend payment amounts. This creates delays and prohibits accredited farm organizations from responding to funding needs.

Auto sector

Ministry of Labour
For regulations affecting assembly lines, add a new, targeted exemption from guardrail requirements for a conveyor and raised platform or a similar system
The Industrial Establishments regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act has recently been amended to add a new, targeted exemption from guardrail requirements for vehicle conveyors and similar systems, and associated raised platforms used with vehicle conveyors or similar systems. The amendment also specifies that other measures and procedures must be developed and implemented to protect workers from the hazard of falling where this new or other existing guardrail exemptions apply. This change reduces regulatory burden for vehicle and vehicle part manufacturers by more closely aligning with regulations in U.S. jurisdictions. 

Ministry of Transportation
Expand testing of connected and autonomous vehicles in Ontario
Expanding the autonomous vehicle (AV) pilot through changes to the Highway Traffic Act would open the door to new CV/AV testing (connected vehicles/autonomous vehicles) and R&D opportunities in Ontario for local business interests and international sector investments. This would help the CV/AV sector reduce barriers to immediate and long-term economic gains in and for Ontario.

Ministry of Transportation
Allow electric motorcycles on controlled highways
Through changes to the Highway Traffic Act, electric motorcycles would be allowed on major highways, because of advancements in technology and in response to requests from the motorcycle industry. This would mean more options for customers and provide an economic boost to the industry.

Ministry of Transportation
Make requirements more flexible about when motors on e-bicycles must disengage
This change under the Highway Traffic Act would reduce the regulatory burden and respond to requests from industry stakeholders.


Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Consult on new Environmental Activity and Sector Registries (EASRs) for permits to take water, and for storm and sanitary sewers
Ontario proposes to expand the Environmental Activity and System Registry regulation for low-risk water takings — such as ones in which water is removed for a short time only and then returned to a nearby point, with no significant change to water quantity or quality. Moving these activities to a permit-by-rule system would allow businesses to begin operations faster. It would at the same time continue to ensure that water takings in Ontario are managed in accordance with our strict environmental standards, and in keeping with the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement.

Ministry of Labour
Amend the Labour Relations Act, 1995 to explicitly deem public bodies, including municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges and universities, as “non-construction employers”
Certain broader public-sector entities have become bound to collective agreements for the construction industry, even though they are not actually in the construction business. This proposal would explicitly deem municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges, universities and other public bodies to be “non-construction employers” under the Labour Relations Act, 1995. If the proposed amendments are passed, this is expected to increase competitiveness for broader public-sector construction projects.

Electricity services

Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Repeal the authority of the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to set rates for Unit Sub Metering Providers (USMPs)
Some people live in an apartment or condo unit that has its own electricity meter, and pay a USMP based on their individual hydro usage. The OEB currently has the authority under the Ontario Energy Board Act to regulate the energy rates these USMPs charge their customers. Repealing this authority would reduce the regulatory burden on USMPs and save them an estimated $1.3 million per year. It would also reduce a barrier to investment by giving investors greater confidence in the competitiveness of this market.

Financial services

Ministry of Finance
Amend regulations so credit unions are no longer restricted from participating in bank-led loan syndications
In a loan syndication, each member of a group of lenders funds a varying portion of a loan to a single borrower. The proposed change to regulations under the Credit Unions and Caisses Populaires Act, 1994 would allow credit unions in Ontario to enter into syndicated loan agreements led by banks and federally regulated credit unions. This would help them to better manage risk and compete, while expanding access to financing for their small-business customers.

Industrial and commercial facilities

Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Simplify and update rules for operating engineersAmendments to the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000 would give the government the authority to approve updated and more efficient rules for businesses. This would reduce regulatory burden without compromising public safety. Simplified and updated rules for operating engineers who operate boiler and pressure vessel plants would become effective after further consultation with stakeholders. These proposed changes would cut business costs by up to $5 million annually and allow companies to adopt newer technologies.

Long-term care homes

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Modernize and streamline administrative requirements for the operators of long-term care (LTC) homes
Proposed amendments to the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 would make it easier for businesses in the LTC sector to operate by reducing red tape and administrative burdens. These changes would affect the persons to whom LTC licensees would be required to give notice when they withhold approval of admission, as well as public consultations on licensing transactions, temporary emergency licences and short-term authorizations. The amendments would reduce the cost in time and money to licensees for public consultations, and would modernize the licensing process to provide greater flexibility.


Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Eliminated regulatory and licensing requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles
Removing all Ontario-specific licensing and regulatory requirements for upholstered and stuffed articles will reduce a long-standing burden on business, save businesses $4 million annually and eliminate trade barriers. These items will continue to be subject to the federal government’s health and safety, and labelling requirements — as is the case in other provinces.

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Repeal the Toxics Reduction Act by 2021, remove the toxics reduction plan in 2019 and rely on the robust and science-based Federal Chemicals Management Plan, as other provinces do
Under Ontario’s Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, regulated facilities need to report publicly on their use of certain toxic substances, and are required to identify options to reduce them through toxic reduction plans every five years. The federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan also requires facilities to take action on toxic substances, which can include identifying options to reduce their use. By 2021, all substances regulated by Ontario will be covered by the federal program.

To avoid unnecessary duplication, Ontario proposes to no longer require facilities to create or review their toxics reduction plans as the federal government finalizes its approach to these substances. The Ontario government also proposes to repeal the Toxics Reduction Act in 2021 and defer to the federal government’s Chemicals Management Plan for action on toxic substances.

Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Revoke nine regulations related to the Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) and insert these requirements into Environmental Compliance Approvals (ECAs)
In Ontario, 113 facilities are currently subject to nine sector-specific industrial wastewater regulations, as well as site-specific ECAs. To reduce regulatory burden for facilities while maintaining oversight over release of industrial wastewater, the government would transfer applicable requirements from the nine regulations into the ECAs for these facilities, and then revoke the nine regulations. These changes would allow businesses to have greater operational flexibility, such as the ability to implement changes to their production processes, so they could focus on being more innovative and competitive.

Ministry of Labour
Amend Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to allow updated labels to be placed on existing chemical containers
The proposed change would amend WHMIS regulation to allow updated labels to be placed on existing chemical containers. Without this change, existing chemicals would need to be disposed of, and new chemicals would need to be purchased. The change would save Ontario universities an estimated $60.2 million to $107.9 million.

Private career colleges

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Amend the Private Career Colleges Act, 2005 to reduce administrative burdens
These proposed changes would create registration requirements that make sense, align tuition fee collection with the federal government and reduce unnecessary regulatory notices. They would also maintain important information for students, and introduce modern and easy-to-use online services. Private career colleges would see annual savings of $460,000 in their business costs, including less paperwork. This would permit them to invest in the quality programs, instructors and infrastructure to support a vocational training sector that provides the skilled workforce that employers need.

Second-hand market

Ministry of the Attorney General
Repeal the Pawnbrokers Act
Would repeal an outdated Act that duplicates municipalities’ existing bylaw-making and licensing authority. This change would remove a layer of red tape and make pawnbroker businesses subject to local bylaws, just like any other business.


Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Repeal the Wireless Services Agreements Act, 2013 and harmonize with the federal government’s national wireless code
Repealing this Act would eliminate unnecessary duplication with federal law, making it easier and faster for consumers and businesses to understand their rights and obligations.


Ministry of Transportation
Allow electronic documentation for International Registration Plans (IRPs)
These proposed changes to the Highway Traffic Act would allow commercial truck drivers the option of an electronic cab card, making it easier to confirm driver credentials and reduce paperwork. As well as reducing red tape, this change would allow truck drivers and IRP jurisdictions increased flexibility in issuing and presenting a cab card.

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