TORONTO — The Ontario government has announced hundreds of legislative and regulatory changes that came into effect on Jan. 1, including reforms to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that clarify requirements for temporary stairs at construction projects and changes to promote energy efficiency in road lighting structures.
Changes announced Dec. 30 include the following:
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
Amendments under the Occupational Health and Safety Act will:
- Clarify requirements for temporary stairs at construction projects by outlining where stairs should start and end and identify situations where the installation of temporary stairs may not be possible.
- Harmonize the frequency of medical surveillance for asbestos-exposed workers in the construction sector with other regulations under the act.
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Regulatory changes under the Environmental Protection Act will:
- Strengthen emission testing standards for heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles.
- Clarify existing laws against tampering with vehicle emission systems.
- Make it illegal to sell devices that interfere with or disable emissions control systems.
- Strengthen the on-road enforcement of emissions standards for both light passenger vehicles and heavy diesel commercial motor vehicles.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Amendments to the More Homes, More Choice Act will:
- Help increase housing supply by freezing municipal development charge rates at the time a site plan application or zoning amendment application is submitted to a municipality. The rate freeze continues for two years after an application is approved by a municipality.
- Additional amendments also allow for deferral of municipal development charges payments specifically for institutional, rental and non-profit housing developments.
- The legislation provides authority for municipalities to charge interest to cover costs associated with the deferral and the freeze with no maximum interest rate prescribed.
Ontario’s Building Code
Amendments to the Ontario Building Code will improve alignment with the 2015 National Construction Codes, including improvements relating to:
- Fire prevention and early detection and warning systems.
- Structural sufficiency of buildings to withstand external forces and improve resilience.
- Accessibility requirements for barrier-free access.