As 2017 nears its end, many Canadians are preparing for the new year. With a slew of changes expected for Canada in 2018 (some of which could take effect as early as Jan. 1), it's important for all Canadians to be aware of the new federal and provincial laws that will inevitably affect them.

Here's a preview of some the latest Canadian laws and major changes you can expect to encounter in the new year (Note: This list is not exhaustive and will be updated on an ongoing basis as new developments arise):

via @vinhyle

New mortgage rules

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, all homebuyers (including those with down payments of 20% or higher and do not require mortgage insurance) will need to qualify for mortgages that are at least 2 percentage points higher than the rates at which they are applying. Such rules were implemented as a measure to reduce the risk of indebtedness as interest rates rise.


Marijuana legalization

Recreational marijuana is set to be legalized by July 2018. Here are some key details you should know:

  • The federal government will regulate the production of cannabis, while the details of sales and distribution are up to the provincial governments to decide.
  • The national minimum wage has also been set to 18, and adults are permitted to grow up to four plants at home. However, the provinces and territories can still make changes to this if they wish.
  • The federal government will track all cannabis production from seed to sale, test the products for quality, and require non-medical producers to be licensed.
  • The federal government wants to tax all cannabis products at $1 per gram or at 10% of retail price (whichever is higher)


Carbon tax

Canadian industries that are polluting the climate will now be forced to pay for their carbon emissions. The new law, which will be introduced in 2018, was confirmed by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna. The federal government has said it will intervene if provinces don't establish their own pay schemes by then, but many of them are already working to adopting new systems ahead of the deadline.


Changes to the Citizenship Act

New requirements will offer more flexibility for younger and older applications to obtain Canadian citizenship. Changes will continue being implemented into early 2018. For full details, please read the Bill C-6 Backgrounder.


Possible tax hike on cigarettes

A recent report by Health Canada outlining that taxes were the most effective method of cutting down smoking has led to a proposed tax hike on cigarettes. Former health minister Jane Philpott announced earlier this March that the federal government aims to reduce the smoking population in Canada to less than 5% by 2035. With the current Federal Tobacco Control Strategy expiring this March 2018, we could end up seeing new taxes on cigarettes by next year.


For new BC laws in 2018, click Next.

via @e.madou

Proposed marijuana regulations for BC

Here are some key points regarding B.C.'s current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 19, which is consistent with the provincial drinking age
  • Cannabis distribution will be overseen by a government-run distributor (The BC Liquor Distribution Branch)
  • The province wants to implement a model that includes both public and private retail opportunities


Rules on short-term rentals


Homeowners and renters can list primary-only residences on sites like Airbnb for a licensing fee of $49 a year and a one-time application fee of $54. Renting out secondary suites will not be allowed, and only a maximum of two adults would be allowed in each room. Failure to comply to these rules could result in a fine of up to $1,000.

New rules for real estate representation

The Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate has announced that real estate agents in B.C. will no longer by able to practice dual agency in 2018. This means a single agent cannot represent both the buyer and the seller in the same deal. B.C. is the first province to disallow this practice.


Freeze on BC Hydro rate hike

A 3% hike in hydro rates in BC that was scheduled to occur next year has been put on hold by the provincial government. Such move is part of a government promise to freeze rates that have climbed more than 24% over the last four years.


Ride hailing rules

Companies such as Uber and Lyft will be entered into the provincial market next fall after modernization of the taxi industry. New ride-hailing rules are being planned for the province for 2018, which means the promise made by the BC Premier to have ride-sharing instituted by the end of this year will have to be pushed back.


For new Alberta laws in 2018, click Next.

via @jai_styles

Proposed marijuana regulations for Alberta

Here are some key points regarding Alberta's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 18, which is consistent with the provincial drinking age
  • The government would be responsible for online retail sales
  • The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission would be responsible for private retail and details on licensing
  • Possible outlaw on marijuana use near daycares, schools, hospitals


Right to refuse unsafe work

Workers in Alberta now have the right to refuse work they deem dangerous thanks to new changes to workplace health and safety provisions. Employees have a firmer stance on the health and safety issues in their workplace and are given more rights into how claims are handled if they are injured.


Gay-straight alliances

The provincial government passed legislation that prevents Alberta schools from notifying their parents if their child joins a gay-straight alliance. Teachers will be required to follow new rules in the code of conduct, which is set to be implemented for the 2018-2019 school year.


Reworking the Condominium Property Act

Starting January 2018, Alberta condo developers will be required to

  • Provide prospective buyers with firm move-in dates,
  • Hold buyer deposits in trusts while units are being built, and
  • Give realistic estimates of condo fees (this can be subject to investigation by the government)

Age restrictions on condo and apartment buildings could also be removed.


Employment on farms and ranches

New standards have been set for farms and ranches with waged, non-family employees. These include the enforcement of rest periods, general holidays, general holiday pay, vacations, vacation pay, minimum wage, termination, payment of earnings, records, deductions and specific rules for youth employment. Changes will take effect by Jan. 1, 2018.


Impaired driving laws

People charged with impaired driving will be given a 90-day licence suspension, and can only get their driving privileges back if they join an ignition interlock program for one year. If they refuse, their licences will continue to be suspended for an additional year. Cannabis impairment will be added to the Traffic and Safety Act as well.


For new Saskatchewan laws for 2018, click Next.

via @wayward_satellite

Proposed marijuana regulations for Saskatchewan

The province is gathering online feedback from public consultations before developing and releasing a plan. This has caused complaints from the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, which has complained that the province's municipalities are not prepared.


Rental legislation

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Act, which will take effect in the spring of 2018, addresses tenant concerns about cannabis, eviction and disposing of abandoned goods. Under the act, tenants are allowed to possess, use and sell cannabis in a rental unit, as well as grow plants. Landlords will also be able to throw out any abandoned goods of the tenant if the total value is under $1500, without needed to obtain an order from the Office of Residential Tenancies.


Small claims legislation

As of Jan. 1, 2018, new legislation regarding small claims will stop the abuse of the small claims process to allow quicker and more cost-effective resolution of disputes. Judges now have the authority to order costs against parties, whereas before they could only serve as an arbitrator in a case.


Impaired driving penalties

Those caught driving under the influence of marijuana in 2018 will face similar consequences to drunk drivers. If any charges are laid, the driver could have their licence suspended and vehicle seized for up to 60 days. A one- to five-year driving suspension could also be imposed, as well as fines of $2,500 and a mandatory educational program.


Privacy Act for intimate photos

Though not likely to come into effect by 2018, the provincial government is seeking amendments to the Privacy Act so that victims of "revenge porn" can sue for compensation in a civil action.


Catholic schools

The provincial government will introduce a new law in 2018 that will prevent the province from giving funding to Catholic schools to accommodate non-Catholic students.


For new Manitoba laws for 2018, click Next.

via @jentaylor312

Proposed marijuana regulations for Manitoba

Here are some key points regarding Manitoba's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 19, which is a year older than provincial drinking age
  • The Liquor and Gaming Authority will take over the purchase, storage, distribution and retail of cannabis while the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corp. will track the supply of cannabis
  • The private sector will take over sales


Ride-sharing allowed

On March 1, 2018, the Manitoba Taxicab Board will be dissolved and give its authority to local cities instead. This means they each municipality can develop their own by-laws that allow ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate in their regions.


Home warranty act delayed

Premier Brian Pallister's previous promise of protecting homebuyers from being ripped off was supposed to be realized this year, but its now being pushed back to 2020. The New Home Warranty Act was already passed 2013, but it has yet to be implemented in the province. The Act would make warranties mandatory for all new homes sold in the province. There would also be an online registry listing builders and warranty plans that buyers could use.


For new Ontario laws for 2018, click Next.

via @torontoontop

Proposed marijuana regulations for Ontario

Here are some key points regarding Ontario's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 19, which is consistent with the provincial drinking age
  • The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will open stand-alone stores that have a counter set-up


Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act

Here are just some of the highlights of Ontario's revised labour laws. For the full list, follow the link to the source below.

Jan 1, 2018

  • Minimum wage increase to $14/hr (with increase to $15/hr in Jan 1, 2019)
  • Employers must give at least 3 weeks vacation and 6% vacation pay to employees with at least 5 years of service
  • Employers must give 2 days of paid leave and 8 days of unpaid leave in each calendar year. Paid leave is only given to employees serving at the company for at least a year. Sick notes are no longer mandatory for personal emergency leave, but employers can still request evidence under reasonable circumstances
  • Public holiday pay is calculated based on number of days worked in pay period immediately before the public holiday

Apr 1, 2018

  • Equal pay for equal work - casual, part-time temporary and seasonal employees must be paid the same amount as full-time employees for doing the same job


Ban on loyalty rewards expiration

The Protecting Rewards Points Act will prohibit the expiration of rewards points in consumer loyalty programs. This legislation is retroactive, so any points that expired on or after October 1, 2016 will go back into your accounts.


Free prescription medications for youth

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, all individuals aged 24 years old or younger will be able to get their prescription medications free of charge just by showing their Ontario health card number and prescription. The coverage will be automatic with no upfront costs. Additionally, the new OHIP+ program will give young people access to more than 4,4000 drugs reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.


Auto insurance

Ontario is developing "standard treatment plans" by spring 2018 to "reduce costs by changing the emphasis from cash payouts to ensuring appropriate care for victims."


For new Quebec laws for 2018, click Next.

via @susanmossmtlmoments

Proposed marijuana regulations for Quebec

Here are some key points regarding Quebec's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 18, which is consistent with the provincial drinking age
  • Zero tolerance for driving while high
  • Police-authorized saliva tests for drivers and immediate suspension of licence for anyone driving with a trace of cannabis or illegal drugs
  • Home-grown marijuana is strictly prohibited
  • Société québécoise du cannabis, a government agency, will have complete control of recreational use and will sell the product through limited stores and online
  • Individuals are only allowed to transport up to 30 grams at a time
  • Ban on marijuana smoking on school and university campuses


Netflix tax

The Quebec government plans to tax Netflix streaming media and all foreign online trade as of 2018, regardless of the federal government. Finance Minister Carlos Leitão states in a letter: "We intend to go ahead and apply the provincial sales tax to Netflix and others. Automatically, we'll be collecting the GST."


Ban on loyalty rewards expiration

Quebec is following Ontario and will impose a ban on the expiry of loyalty points. Like in  Ontario, the Quebec CPA will cover any contracts involving a loyalty program



The Quebec legislature unanimously adopted a motion that calls store clerks to simply use "bonjour" as a greeting when addressing customers and to refrain from using a combination "bonjour-hi" greeting. Jean-Francois Lisee, leader of the PQ, says the vote "reaffirms that French is Quebec's official language."


Uber and ride-sharing

Uber has announced that it plans to continue operations in Quebec through 2018, after threatening to leave the province earlier in October. Their decision to stay was due to the arrival of a new transport minister, who they thought marked "an opportunity to find a solution to the stalemate with Quebec."


For new laws in Atlantic Canada for 2018, click Next.

via @jsn.ptrsn

Proposed marijuana regulations for New Brunswick

Here are some key points regarding NB's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 19
  • No smoking in public places - will have to use it at home only
  • Imposed limit on the amount able to carry (not yet defined)
  • People can store as much marijuana as they want at home, as long as it's locked up
  • Up to 20 government-run stores will sell marijuana and related products, but they will all be located at least 300 metres away from schools


Proposed marijuana regulations for Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia has no proposed plan yet; however, they hope to have one released by the end of this year. The premier would like to see what other provinces have set up and create a plan that's in line with that.


Proposed marijuana regulations for PEI

PEI has also no proposed plan at the moment. Currently, the province has released a stakeholder survey and hopes to present a draft legislation by spring of next year.


Proposed marijuana regulations for NFLD

Here are some key points regarding Newfoundland's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 19, which is consistent with the provincial drinking age
  • Only pot-approved private stores will sell the product
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation will handle the distribution (and may be a retailer in some cases as well)
  • Online sales an option
  • Complete ban on smoking pot on public property


For new laws in the Territories for 2018, click Next.

via @anm0921

Proposed marijuana regulations for Yukon

Here are some key points regarding the Yukon's current policy decisions on marijuana regulation for July 2018:

  • The minimum age for possessing, purchasing and using cannabis will be set to 19
  • The territorial government will own and operate at least once retail store, as well as provide an online sales option
  • May see a concerted effort between government and private sector


Proposed marijuana regulations for NWT

NWT is still holding public consultations before rolling out its proposed plan. So far, they are looking at a minimum age of 19, strict rules for public smoking (especially around kids), and the possibility of local limits.


Proposed marijuana regulations for Nunavut

Nunavut has made no releases of its plans or survey results as of yet.


Tax on pop drinks

Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is planning a soda pop tax for 2018 as a government initiative to cut down obesity and diabetes, which are currently plaguing the territory. "While our intention is to introduce a sugary tax in 2018-19, we will take the time during the upcoming fiscal year to ensure our approach is as effective as possible," said Finance Minister Robert McLeod to CBC.


Indigenous language

The Inuit have joined forces with the First Nations and Metis to protect Indigenous languages in Canada and are working with the federal government to develop a nationwide language law. They are hoping to have protection for Aboriginal languages for 2018, alongside French and English.


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