Ontario is about to have quite a few new changes in the next year. With the province always growing, there are multiple new laws that have, or will be, coming into effect over the next year. For those of you living in the province, here are 13 new Ontario laws for 2020.The new year is looking like it will be an eventful one for the province. Now that Ontario is learning how to handle cannabis, we're seeing changes happen on that front. From ditching the pot lottery system to allowing edibles to be sold in dispensaries, Ontario's cannabis rules are changing. There have also been plenty of animal laws that have been changed and animal abusers will now face much harsher punishments than they have before. In fact, Ontario will now have the strictest penalties in the entire country for those caught abusing animals.
Also, the dog ban on patios has been lifted in Ontario. It will now be up to the discretion of business owners to decide if they will allow pups onto patios.
While there are multiple changes that will be happening in 2020, here is a list of some of the biggest changes that are happening this new year.
Vaping Ads Banned In Ontario
Starting on January 1, 2020, vaping ads are no longer allowed in the province. This came after concerns that youth interest is quite high in vape products. An otherwise healthy Ontario teen was put on life support out of the blue after continuously using vape products. After dozens of deaths in the States, Ontario decided to enforce new vape rules to ban their promotion in convenience stores and gas stations.
Stricter Penalties For Animal Abusers
The Ontario government confirmed that they would be handing out harsher punishment to animal abusers through their updated Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act, which came into effect January 1, 2020. First-time animal abusers could now face fines of up to $130,000 and up to two years in jail. For corporations, first-time fines would be $500,000, and second-time ones up to $1 million.
OHIP No Longer Provides Travel Insurance
As of January 1, 2020, changes to OHIP also took effect. Though most of the changes were relatively minor, the biggest difference was that Ontarians will no longer be entitled to the small sum that was provided for us when we would travel abroad. The $400 a day for health coverage abroad has now been cut, and the government encourages people to purchase travel insurance before leaving the country.
Dogs On Patios
Dogs are now officially allowed on patios since the new year began. A bad health inspection in Halifax led to parts of the country banning dogs on patios back in August. It is now up to the discretion of the restaurant or bar if they choose to allow dogs. The government will no longer be able to enforce the ban.
Red & White Health Card Phased Out
It's been a long time coming, but the red and white Ontario health cards will be no more after July 1, 2020. The province will be sending out letters to all those who still carry them and they will be prompted to switch out for the green photo ID cards.
Uber & Lyft Rules Changing in Toronto
Uber and Lyft drivers will now be going through tougher screenings before they are approved for hire. Drivers will now have to have a license for at least three years, instead of the previous one year of experience on the road. They will also need to complete a city-approved training program to get or renew their Uber/Lyft license. New regulations will also be applied to cars that are not accessible. Portions of each ride will have to be donated to an Accessibility Fund Program if a driver's car does not meet certain requirements.
E-Scooters Just Became Legal
That's right, up until now, e-scooters were illegal other than on private property. Now, the province will be bringing in electric scooters for people to use, and it will be up to individual municipalities to make their own rules regarding the vehicles. These things can go up to 25 km/h and are allowed on any road that a bike is allowed on.
Speed Enforcement Cameras Launched In Toronto
Two weeks before the new year, Toronto installed 50 speed enforcement cameras in community safety zones across the city. They will start dishing out fines for offenders come spring.There will be no demerit points issued to offenders, but they will drive away with a fine.
Bigger Fines For Animal Activists
Animal activists in Ontario will be facing much harsher penalties in 2020 if they are caught trespassing on private farms or interfering with trucks that transport animals. First-time offenders can be fined up to $15,000 with the new rules and up to $25,000 for any subsequent offences.Charges can also be laid up to two years after an offence. Before that, the window to lay a charge was only six months.
Changes To Carbon Tax Rebates
Ontarians are now eligible for carbon tax rebates. A single adult or first adult in a couple gets $224 back in rebates. The baseline amount for a family of four is $448. These can be claimed on your 2019 income taxes, according to CTV News.
Corporate Income Tax For Small Businesses Was Reduced
Ontario's small businesses will now save around $1,500 annually after their taxes were recently reduced. Over 275,000 businesses will benefit from this, according to a news release. The government cut small business corporate income tax by 8.7% to encourage entrepreneurs to start their businesses in the province without having to pay lots of taxes.
Garbage Bins Getting More Expensive In Toronto
Taking out the trash will get more expensive in Toronto. Bins have gone up in price, and rebates are changing to cover less of the costs. A medium bin went from costing about $242 to now costing $323 a year, for example. The details can be found on Toronto's website.
Weed Edibles Allowed In Ontario
As of the end of December 2019, it became legal to buy edibles in Ontario. However, the province did not have any in stock until January 2020.