9 New Ontario Laws & Changing Regulations For 2023 That You Should Know About

Changes for drivers, pharmacies, nurses, and to the minimum wage.

A view of Toronto, Ontario, from Highway 401. Right: The pharmacy aisle of a grocery store.

A view of Toronto, Ontario, from Highway 401. Right: The pharmacy aisle of a grocery store.

Now that we're into the new year, Ontario is bringing in a list of new changes for 2023 that could impact your life in several different ways.

From everything to Ontario's minimum wage to rules and costs for drivers, and changes to various categories in health care, there are lots of new laws you'll want to make note of.

And on top of what's new, some regulations have also been tossed aside for 2023.

Here's everything you need to know about these new laws and changing regulations in Ontario to begin the new year.

Ontario's gas tax has been extended 

Following legislation that was first introduced in the spring of 2022 to bring some relief for drivers, the Ontario government passed a motion to extend its current gas tax to December 31, 2023.

The gas tax reduces the price of gas in Ontario by 5.7 cents per litre. It may not have seemed like much help while drivers paid record-high prices at the pumps during the summer months, but costs have dropped significantly since then.

Still, there are warnings that the cost of fuel could soon be back to around $2/litre.

No more extensions for driver permits 

The Ford government has decided to do away with one measure for drivers that was introduced during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting in 2023, regulations have been amended that allowed for extensions to driver licensing, vehicle registration, accessible parking permit renewals, and any other vehicle products or carrier fees.

A similar change for drivers made during the pandemic also brought in the modified G Road test in Ontario, and officials recently confirmed to Narcity that the modified test is set to remain in place until further notice.

Cleaning up the registered voter list

Ontario has opted to make a small change to its electoral process in 2023.

To "eliminate duplication," the government said its Chief Electoral Officer has been given the authority to create a combined registered list of voters that will now be used for any future provincial or municipal elections.

No more Staycation Tax Credit

The Ontario government has done away with its popular Staycation Tax Credit for 2023.

It was an initiative brought in to encourage those vacationing within the province to help the tourism sector recover from the impact of the pandemic. Travellers who kept their trips inside of Ontario could claim up to 20% of their accommodation expenses, including hotels, cottages, and campgrounds.

The period eligible for the Staycation Tax Credit expired on December 31, 2022.

Enforcing breaks for truck and bus drivers

Starting in 2022, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is providing enforcement officers and police with "additional tools" to enforce rules regarding hours of service for bus drivers and commercial truck operators.

While these additional tools haven't been made clear, the government said starting January 1, officers "will be able to prohibit a driver who has violated hours of service rules from operating a commercial vehicle for a period of time."

The province said these rules and enforcement of them have been put in place to help reduce driving fatigue and make roads safer.

Pharmacies can prescribe meds for more common conditions

Just before the end of 2022, Ontario announced that as of January 1, 2023, Ontario pharmacies would be able to prescribe medications for more common conditions, in an effort to make it easier for people to receive care closer to home.

The 13 conditions listed by the government included pink eye, dermatitis, menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections, and sprains and strains.

Hiring more nurses

Ontario is hoping to bring in more nurses early with a new regulation in 2023 that allowed internationally trained nurses to be temporarily registered with Ontario's nursing college.

The government has said this will reduce barriers to registration and help nurses start practicing sooner.

More money for seniors

Starting in January of 2023, new legisation in Ontario will double the amount seniors receive through the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS).

The move ups the maximum payment to $166/month for a single senior and $332 per month for senior couples.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance, roughly 200,000 of Ontario's low-income seniors are due to receive this additional support in 2023.

Minimum wage hike 

Ontario's minimum wage was raised up to $15.50 on October 1, 2022. That was an increase of 50 cents and a decision the government said was made to help make life more affordable.

Each year's increase to the minimum wage is set to be announced in April, according to Labour Minister Monte McNaughton, with the increase set to take effect once again at the beginning of October 2023.

So far, it's not clear when the announcement on the minimum wage will be made or how much the wage will be going up.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Stuart McGinn
Stuart McGinn was the Money Editor for Narcity Media and focused mainly on covering topics ranging from personal finance, to real estate, and careers. Stuart is from Ottawa and is now based in Toronto.