Overview

In the last two weeks, Ontario legislature and both the Senate and House of Commons met. The calendar for their sittings was as follows:

  • Senate: Sitting Sept 19-21; 26-28
  • House of Commons: Sept 18-22; 25-29
  • Ontario Legislature: September 20-21, 25-28

Provincial Legislation

Introduced and read the first time

  • Bill 155, An Act respecting life leases
    • Life leases are tenancy agreements where there is an entrance fee for the rental unit, but then you are entitled to the unit for a fixed term of at least 50 years. This Bill would change the information that landlords are required to disclose to a tenant, and the landlord would also gain a number of other obligations such as maintaining insurance policies and maintaining a reserve fund for emergencies.
  • Bill 156, An Act to proclaim Indigenous Day and make it a holiday
    • This would declare June 21st as a holiday under the Education Act, the Employment Standards Act, and the Retail Business Holidays Act. It was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill and First Reading Carried on September 21, 2017. Read more here.
  • Bill 157, Domestic and Sexual Violence Protection Act
    • The Long title of this Bill is “An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to domestic and sexual violence.” It entitles long-term employees to up to ten days paid leave and 15 weeks unpaid leave following sexual assault or domestic violence, and requires employers to ensure that employees receive information and instruction on domestic and sexual violence. The Bill was ordered referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy
  • Bill 158, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act in respect of harm to vulnerable road users
    • This Bill raises the legal consequences of a collision that seriously injure or kill individuals such as pedestrians, cyclists, emergency responders, and roadway workers. First Reading carried on September 26, 2017.
  • Bill 159, An Act to proclaim Simcoe Day
    • This would proclaim the first Monday in August to be Simcoe Day, unless a municipal by-law declares it otherwise within a municipality. This would not be a statutory holiday, but rather a date for recognition of John Graves Simcoe. Second Reading carried, ordered referred to Standing Committee on General Government.
  • Bill 160, Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients Act
    • The long title of this Bill is “An Act to amend, repeal and enact various Acts in the interest of strengthening quality and accountability for patients.” It reforms ten existing Acts in order to provide mechanisms to ensure that medical professionals are accountable to patients. First Reading was carried on September 27, 2017.

Bills at Second Reading

  • Bill 126, Illegal Pill Press Act
    • This Act if passed would prohibit a person from possessing or using designated pharmaceutical equipment unless the person is a pharmacist or a person acting under the supervision of a pharmacist. The long title is “An Act to amend the Drug and Pharmacies Regulation Act.” It was ordered Referred to Standing Committee on General Government.
  • 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
    • This Act would rename the Ontario Municipal Board the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, and while many provisions for the existing OMB would remain the same, there would be procedural changes to proceedings before the Tribunal. This is sepecially the case in implementing a more robust appeals process for applicants. Referred to Standing Committee on Social Policy.
  • Bill 142, An Act to amend the Construction Lien Act
    • This Bill proposes changes to the Construction Lien Act in response to a report entitled “Striking the balance: Expert Review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act.” This includes renaming the Act “The Construction Act,” makes amendments to definitions in the Act, and updates the Act. Debated at Second Reading
  • Bill 146, An Act to amend the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998 to provide transparency in gas pricing
    • This Bill, were it to pass, would require companies providing gas to include an itemized line that details the cost on the bill incurred because of Cap and Trade. Second Reading Carried, referred to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
  • Bill 152, An Act to amend the Representation Act, 2015 and certain other Acts
    • Were this Act passed, it would follow the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission’s recommendations in creating two new electoral ridings in Northern Ontario. These new ridings would include at least one that is majority Indigenous and another that is 85% francophone and Indigenous. It would also amend the rules for electoral fundraising and attendance rules related to political fundraising. It was referred to Standing Committee on General Government For more information, follow this link.
  • Bill 154, An Act to cut unnecessary red tape by enacting one new Act and making various amendments and repeals
    • This Act is part of a government initiative to cut red tape. It does this by amending a number of Acts and regulations. Debated at Second Reading

Federal Legislation – House of Commons

First Reading

  • S-236: An Act to recognize Charlottetown as the Birthplace of Confederation
    • The heart of this bill is captured in section 2: “Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, is recognized as and declared to be the birthplace of Confederation.” This bill is at First Reading in the House of Commons, having passed through the Senate.

Second Reading

  • S-2: An Act to Amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make consequential amendment to another Act
    • Is bill expands the power held by the Minister of Transport to recall vehicles. It is similar to a bill that died when Parliament was dissolved in August 2016. Provisions in the Bill include enabling the Minister to order a company to issue a recall, require manufacturers and importers to fix non-compliant vehicles, require companies to provide extra safety information, require companies to be more aware of defects, issue fines, and give Transport Canada inspectors new powers. This bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities.
  • C-21: An Act to Amend the Customs Act
    • This Act amends the Customs Act so that Border Services Agents can collect personal information on all people leaving or who have left Canada. This also allows an officer to require goods exported from Canada to be reported despite exemptions under the Act. It further amends the Act to allow disclosure of information to the Department of Employment and Social Development for the purposes of administering or enforcing the Old Age Security Act. This was referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.
  • C-47: An Act to Amend the Export and Import Permits Act, and the Criminal Code (amendments permitting the accession to the Arms Trade Treaty and other Amendments)
    • This Bill amends the Export and Import Permits Act in an effort to regulate the international arms trade. The Bill would bill would join the Arms Trade Treaty as one way to reach this goal. Joining this treaty requires strengthening existing processes concerning the global movement of arms, which is achieved through this Bill.
  • C-55, An Act to Amend the Oceans Act and the Canada Petroleum Resources Act
    • This Bill will make it easier and faster to create a Marine Protected Area. While the process currently takes up to seven years, this Act would streamline that process. For more information on the Act, click here.
  • C-325: An Act to amend the Canadian Bill of Rights (right to housing)
    • This Act would amend the Canadian Bill of Rights by adding a clause that names affordable housing as a right. This could be a useful tool for First Nations working to secure safe housing in communities, as has come up at debate.
  • C-326: An Act to amend the Department of Health Act (drinking water guidelines) (PMB)
    • This Private Member’s Bill was developed so that the new Health Canada drinking water guidelines in Canada would have more rigour, accountability, and transparency. The government would be required to publicly justify why the Canadian water standards fall short of other countries standards. This bill is at Second Reading.
  • C-345, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (Pregnant and nursing employees)
    • This bill extends provisions for pregnant employees with at-risk pregnancies to be closer to that which is the case in Quebec. If a woman with an at-risk pregnancy requires to withdraw from her work for her health or the pregnancy before a certain threshold in the pregnancy, she is not eligible for Employment Insurance parental benefits. This puts women in a position of having to choose between withdrawing from work with no financial safety net or continuing to work in a risky environment for the pregnancy. The new bill corrects that. It is currently at second reading.
  • C-338: An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (punishment)
    • This Private Member’s Bill raises the penalties on importing and exporting controlled drugs and substances. It proposes that if an individual imports up to a kilogram of controlled substances, the offender could be liable for a life sentence with a minimum of two years imprisonment. If the amount is more than a kilogram, the minimum would become three years.

Third Reading

  • S- 231: An Act to amend the Canada Evidence Act and the Criminal Code (protection of journalistic sources)
    • This Bill was introduced after police were found to be wiretapping journalists to determine their sources. Bill S-231 seeks to protect those sources. The Bill was unanimously passed by the Senate and is now in third reading in the House of Commons. The Bill further defines a journalist, it protects the source of information and not the journalist themselves, it establishes that only superior court justices will be able to authorize police officers to investigate journalists, and the burden of proof moves to the police officer to show all other investigative options were exhausted.

Federal Legislation – Senate

Second Reading

  • C-25: An Act to Amend the Canada Business Corporations Act, the Canada Cooperatives Act, the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and the Competition Act
    • This Bill contains two parts. Part 1 amends several Acts that impact corporations which reforms the process for electing directors, modernizes communication to shareholders or members of corporations, clarifies prohibitions from issuing share certificates, and requires corporations to distribute information concerning the diversity of senior management. Part 2 amends the competition Act to expand the concept of affiliation to more businesses. The bill is at Second Reading, having passed through the House of Commons.
  • C-23: An Act Respecting the pre-clearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States
    • This Bill ratifies the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine, and Air Transport Preclearance Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America(Agreement), signed in Washington on 16 March 2015. This allows customs agents to be based in the country of origin (so Canadian agents would be based in the USA and vice versa) in order to approve or deny entry before an individual is at the border. The bill is at Second Reading, having passed through the House of Commons.
  • C-36: An Act to amend the Statistics Act
    • This Bill was introduced in the House of Commons and is currently in second reading at the Senate. It proposes to change the Statistics Act by strengthening the independence and powers of the Chief Statistician, ensuring transparency concerning directives from the Chief Statistician, to establish the Canadian Statistics Advisory Council, protect personal information, and to remove imprisonment as a penalty for those who refuse or neglect to respond to Statistics Canada requests, or for those who provide false information.
  • C-277: An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada
    • This Bill provides that a framework be developed to improve access to palliative care in Canada. The act was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
  • C-311: An Act to amend the Holidays Act (Remembrance Day) (Private Member’s Bill)
    • This Bill would add November 11 to the Holiday’s Act as a legal holiday. The Act is currently at Second Reading.
  • C-337: An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code (sexual assault)
    • This Private Member’s Bill proposes to require that judges receive training around issues of sexual assault. This bill was proposed by Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose and was supported by the NDP. The Act is currently at First Reading in the Senate, having cleared the House of Commons.
  • Bill S-237, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (criminal interest rate)
    • This is a Senate Public Bill currently at second reading which reduces the criminal interest rate. The criminal interest rate is the rate of interest that a lender cannot require on a loan. Right now the criminal interest rate is 60 percent. The Bill proposes that is changed to 20 percent over the Bank of Canada’s rate. Right now the Bank of Canada rate is 0.5%, meaning that if the Bill were in law today the criminal interest rate would be 20.5%.

Third Reading

  • C-210: An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender)
    • This Bill would change the lyrics to the National Anthem from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” The Bill passed at third reading in the senate.
  • S-228: An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act (prohibiting food and beverage marketing directed at children)
    • This Act is part of a response to raising rates of childhood obesity. Simply put, the act would prohibit any marketing of food directly to children. The Bill passed third reading without amendment.

 

Next Update: October 16

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