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New year means new legislative changes affecting constructors

DCN News Services
New year means new legislative changes affecting constructors

TORONTO — The Ontario government has issued a list of changes to legislation and regulation that came into force on Jan. 1 and will impact those in construction.

This includes an amendment to the Fire Code where the phased compliance deadlines to the Fire Code requiring fire safety enhancements to care occupancies, care and treatment occupancies, and retirement homes regulated under the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 will be complete and sprinkler installation requirements came into force on Jan. 1.

Regulations introduced under the Electricity Act, 1998 will:

  • designate certain projects and technologies so that they can be used despite legal restrictions that may otherwise apply. This regulation will maintain an override to legal restrictions for some renewable energy projects such as rooftop solar systems;
  • require municipalities, municipal service boards, universities, colleges, schools and hospitals to report annually on their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and develop conservation plans;
  • require building owners of commercial, industrial, multi-unit residential and other building types that are 50,000 square feet or larger to report their building’s energy and water consumption and greenhouse gas emission data annually. The requirement is being rolled out over time. In 2019, buildings 100,000 square feet or larger will be required to report; and
  • set minimum energy and water efficiency requirements for electrical, natural gas and oil products and appliances used in the residential, commercial and industrial
    sectors.

Under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, amendments to the Employment Standards Act will come into force including:

  • repealing Personal Emergency Leave and replacing it with three unpaid days for personal illness; two unpaid bereavement leave days; and three unpaid days for family responsibility leave;
  • maintaining the minimum wage rate at $14 per hour until 2020, and then increasing it by the rate of inflation;
  • repealing equal pay for equal work on the basis of employment status (part-time, casual, and temporary) and assignment employee status (temporary help agency status) while maintaining the requirement for equal pay on the basis of sex; and
  • reversing Bill 148’s scheduling provisions and modifying the existing three-hour notice rule.

Under changes to the Aggregate Resources Act:

  • fees will be indexed to the Ontario Consumer Price Index and will occur each year going forward. Indexing means that fees and royalties will increase gradually each year in small increments according to inflation; and
  • fees from licences and permits will be distributed in part to local and upper-tier municipalities in which the site is located to help offset the costs of the impacts that aggregate hauling can have on municipal infrastructure.

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