Ontario’s legislative changes for 2022, explained

The minimum wage is rising – as are fines for risky driving.

And with changes to the Ontario Building Code, more small houses could also come up across the province.

These are some of the legislative changes in Ontario that will take effect in the new year, which also include a new mandatory program for the prevention of sexual abuse for teachers.

Changes in the minimum wage took headlines last November when Prime Minister Doug Ford appeared alongside prominent labor leaders to announce the increase from $ 14.35 to $ 15 an hour from January 1 – after his government had previously canceled increases.

“Workers deserve to have more money in their pockets because they have earned them,” the prime minister said at the time, noting that it would help more than 760,000 people.

The former Liberal government had planned to hit $ 15 an hour in 2019 – and NDP leader Andrea Horwath noted that if that had happened, workers would be $ 5,300 better off now.

As of January, the province is also raising fines for offenses such as carelessness and stunt driving, by $ 250 for a first offense, $ 350 for a second and $ 450 for a third within five years when motorists lose their driver’s license.

“These sanctions are another tool to demonstrate to motorists that high-risk activities such as speeding, aggressive driving and street racing are unacceptable and have no place on Ontario’s roads,” the government said in a statement.

As of January 3, all 130,000 teachers in Ontario and those who want to teach in the province will spend three hours online sexual abuse prevention program, free, developed with the Canadian Center for Child Protection.

Current teachers have until the end of August to complete the education, and must achieve a grade of at least 80 percent.

When Education Minister Stephen Lecce was first announced, it said it reflects the government’s’ zero tolerance approach to cases of sexual abuse, sending a clear signal that there will be serious consequences.

“That’s why we imposed this training on existing and future educators to better protect students from any kind of abuse or harm.”

The College will also be authorized to issue temporary teacher certificates to teacher students, for the whole year, to help alleviate staff shortages.

Among the other changes that will take effect on January 1:

  • Rowan’s law, which covers concussion and player safety in youth sports. Clubs must now have policies regarding removal from sports and return to the game when it comes to head injuries.
  • Amendments to the Building Code that will define and “facilitate the construction of small houses and clarify that remote inspections can be used to increase flexibility and help increase Ontario’s housing supply,” the province says.
  • Addition of wild pigs to the list of regulated invasive species due to their danger to the environment, other animals and agricultural crops.

  • To promote “staycation” tourism, a 20 pct. tax deduction for travel for ontarians visiting hotels, campgrounds and cabins in the province, up to $ 200 for individuals and $ 400 for families.

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