October 2020
Bill 213: Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020 (reducing regulatory burdens)

2020-10-07 3:03:00 PM

On October 6th, the Province introduced Bill 213, Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2020. Some of what is being proposed here and in accompanying regulations appears to go beyond removing regulatory roadblocks and red tape that the Government has portrayed as this bill’s purpose.
AMCTO made a submission earlier this year to the Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction on Areas of Burden to Ontario’s Municipalities which also had impacts on residents and local businesses. However, at this time, these do not seem to be reflected in the legislative proposal.
From our initial scan of the bill, it takes some initial steps towards a digital-first approach by proposing amendments to various legislation to alter language from printed to published, but these are minor alternations. More should be done to modernize and digitize provincial processes - particularly those that impact the municipal sector. There are also minor areas where prescription is removed, while other areas where prescription is added.
Within the schedules of this omnibus bill there are several items of interest to our members and to the municipal sector. We've broken these down below. In addition, several proposed regulations related to this bill have been posted to the Regulatory Registry and EBR today for comment but those will be the subject of another blog post once we've had time to review them in more detail.

AMCTO member interests:

  1. As solemnisers of marriage, some of our members may be interested in the proposed provisions that propose to require marriage solemnisers to comply with a Code of Practice made by the Minister of Government and Consumer Services under Proposed Changes to the Marriage Act.
  1. The Minister of the Environment would be allowed to make regulations to establish fees for providing copies of and statements about documents and information under the control of the Ministry and under proposed amendments to the Ministry of the Environment Act. The schedule also states that a regulation under this section may not require the payment of a fee for request for access under FIPPA. 

  2. Proposed changes to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act would exempt the collection of development charges under the Development Charges Act on land intended to be used for a university that receives public funds.
  1. Proposed changes to the Surveys Act related to survey records in the possession of government bodies, including a municipality or board, shall maintain survey records and indices in its possession and shall consult with the Minister before disposing of these records to ensure that information continues to be preserved and available. Should the bill pass, this may have some effect on retention bylaws and disposition policies.

 Other Municipal Interests:

  1. Proposed changes to the Niagara Parks Act and St. Lawrence Parks Commission Act removes the requirement for commissions to ask the Lieutenant Governor in Council (read: Cabinet) to appoint an auditor. Proposed amendments to the Northern Services Board Act would remove prescription for how documents must be sent. 

  2. Amendments to the Ontario Water Resources Act would add a new section on “municipal support for water bottling application” which requires that persons taking a total of 379,000 litres or more of ground water per day from one or more locations in the local host municipality for the purpose of producing bottled water, must first a) request a council resolution in support of this and b) in making the request, be permitted to do so. A council may or may not support this action through resolution. There are a number of other provisions proposed.

  3. The bill would enact the Public Vehicles Repeal Act, 2020 which repeals the Public Vehicles Act and authorizes the Minister of Transportation to make transitional regulations to phase out the Act’s application before it is repealed and makes amendments to several other Acts:
  • Would make amendments to the Municipal Act by repealing ss.69 (6) and substitute provisions related to existing rights. Ss.69 (7) would be amended to strike out references to the Public Vehicles Act and sections 71-73 of the Act would be repealed and substituted with new provisions related to the City of London and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.

  • Consequential amendments to the City of Toronto Act, City of Hamilton ActCity of Ottawa Act and the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission Act particularly for references to the Public Vehicles Act.

        In addition, this schedule also  makes several amendments to the Highway Traffic Act:
  • It should be noted that passenger transportation vehicle definition does not include municipal passenger transportation systems.

  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations for passenger transportation vehicles in a number of areas. Our inference is that though regulation, specific standards for services such as Uber and Lyft and other passenger vehicles could be put in place. This could impact existing municipal bylaws that regulate private transportation companies.

  • There are proposed amendments to s.195.1 of the HTA for intercommunity buses which provides that municipal business licensing bylaws do not apply to buses that only pass through a municipality and do not take on and discharge the same passenger within the municipality. Amendments to the same section also provide for regulations designating other classes of passenger transportation vehicles not affected by municipal business licensing bylaws.
Making Ontario Better for People and Smarter for Business Press Release


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