Canada: New Laws and Regulations to Start the Year

With the year that shall not be named officially behind us, it is time to look optimistically toward 2021. Though this year’s calendar change may have brought a collective sigh of relief, many new laws and regulations from every level of government also come into effect this year. Some of which may directly affect your business, your personal life, and your taxes. Below, we provide a brief rundown of some of the changes.

Federal

The federal government plans to eliminate single-use plastics nationwide by the end of the year. There are details to be worked out in every sector that will be affected, but a general synopsis of the government’s plan can be found here.

The new “Workplace Harassment and Violence Prevention Regulations” came into effect on January 1, forcing federal-regulated organizations to create a workplace harassment policy, and to create an accompanying “workplace risk assessment” training program that must see their employees take and complete by January 1, 2022.

Ontario

The Ontario government has made a few changes to how renting worked during the pandemic, including a ban on rent evictions from March to August 2020. But in October 2020, the province passed legislation that meant landlords could not increase the price of rent for most tenants in the province. The rent freeze expires on December 31, 2021.

The province announced they were expanding the Ontario Support for Learners Benefit in 2021 to include high school students as well.  That means a far great number of families are eligible for the $200, which people can apply for starting on January 11.

Quebec

In November, Quebec announced three permanent pilot programs for immigration to come into effect sometime at the beginning of 2021. They include a pilot program for orderlies, one for workers in the artificial intelligence, information technology and visual effects sectors, and one for workers in the food processing sector. For further information from the Quebec government regarding this initiative, click here.

British Columbia

Starting March 1, the British Columbia will implement new measures aimed at keeping the province accountable toward its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which will require documentation on how the government intends to meet its climate goals and how much it will cost.

The province intends to reduce its emissions to 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030.

In 2007, British Columbia released 64.76 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, meaning the province needs to reduce its output by 25.9 million tonnes by 2030.

Alberta

The province announced last year that election campaign finance laws were going to be revamped, and they are delivering on that promise this year.

Starting in September, municipal campaign finance rules will require campaign surpluses of more than $1000 to be donated to charity, while personal donation maximums will be increased to $5000. Individuals will be allowed to self-fund a campaign up to $10,000.

Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan government has adjusted property tax percentages of value for commercial, industrial, elevator, railway, resource, and pipeline properties to 85 per cent for the upcoming year, a savings of 15 per cent.

All other percentages of value remain unchanged from the previous revaluation cycle:

  • Non-arable (range or pasture) land at 45 per cent.
  • Other (cultivated) agricultural land at 55 per cent.
  • Residential, multi-unit residential and seasonal residential at 80 per cent.

Education property tax mill rates are determined as part of the annual provincial government budget process. More information can be found about the changes here.

Manitoba

Good news for veterans’ associations – as of January 1, they are exempt from paying municipal property taxes.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Beginning on Jan. 1, the province of Newfoundland and Labrador will offer child daycare at $25 per day, with a plan of funding 8,000 such spots, though the program requires daycare facilities to sign up for the funding.

Nova Scotia

On April 1, Nova Scotia’s minimum wage will increase to $13.10 per hour, making it the highest minimum wage in Atlantic Canada, though still lower than many other provinces.

New Brunswick

Effective as of January 1, the province is updating their Motor Vehicle Act to include several new provisions, including increased fines for distracted driving, and passing a school bus with its stop sign illuminated.

Further, the province is also doubling the fine for anyone caught driving an ATV or snowmobile without a permit, as part of several changes to the Off-Road Vehicle Act which come into effect on Jan. 1.

Prince Edward Island

PEI is banning the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes and vape products starting March 1, becoming the second province behind Nova Scotia to do so. The province has already increased the minimum age requirement to purchase vape products to 21.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

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