Welcome to the first bi-weekly update on legislation in the provincial and federal legislature. The provincial legislature began sitting on September 11, while Parliament does not sit until September 18, 2017. Highlights from the first week of the Ontario legislature include the introduction of a new ministry and a proposed re-drawing of the northern electoral boundaries.
Ontario has been in session for a week, and in this time a number of significant acts have either been introduced or moved to second reading. The following is a full list of the Acts:
- Bill 149, An Act to establish the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. (Introduced Sept. 11, Moved to Second Reading on Sept. 14, Ordered referred to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs)
- Bill 150, An Act to proclaim Simcoe Day (First Reading Carried)
- Bill 151, An Act to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to expand the entitlement to benefits under the insurance plan for posttraumatic stress disorder. (Second Reading carried on division, ordered referred to Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills)
- Bill 152, An Act to amend the Representation Act, 2015 and certain other Acts. (First Reading Carried)
- Bill 153, An Act to regulate the labelling and certification of organic products. (First Reading Carried)
- Bill 154, An Act to cut unnecessary red tape by enacting one new Act and making various amendments and repeals. (First Reading Carried)
Bills at Second Reading
- Bill 139, An Act to enact the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 2017 and the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre Act, 2017 and to amend the Planning Act, the Conservation Authorities Act and various other Acts.
- Bill 148, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and to make related amendments to other Acts
- Bill 142, An Act to amend the Construction Lien Act.
Three specific Acts deserve special emphasis as they pertain to First Nations. The first is Bill 149, which would create a new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. British Columbia has a similar Ministry, which was created this summer with the new NDP government. Debate on the bill has focused on whether the expanded bureaucracy is a positive or negative development. For a more detailed analysis of Bill 149, please click here.
Bill 152, which redraws the electoral map in Northern Ontario. If passed, this Bill would implement the recommendations of the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission. This includes amending the Representation Act, 2015, to include two additional electoral districts in the geographic area occupied by the current ridings of Kenora–Rainy River and Timmins–James Bay.
Finally, Bill 139, also known as the Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017, would continue the Ontario Municipal Board under the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act. Most of the new act is the same; the key change is in the practices and procedures applicable to tribunal proceedings. The act also provides a case management conference for all appeals under the Planning Act. According to Minister McGarry, a second Environmental Registry posting and stakeholder consultations, including with First Nations, fed into the development of this Bill.
Parliament is not currently sitting.
Next Update: October 2