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Ontario Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Delivers His Third Regulatory Modernization Package

Published on
April 15, 2021

Ontario’s Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, the Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria tabled another red tape reduction bill this afternoon, Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act. This bill, along with regulatory and policy changes, is aimed at modernizing and streamlining government, improving provincial rules and processes affecting people and businesses. It aims to make Ontario more competitive and support economic recovery by accelerating business growth, attracting investment, and creating jobs. At the same time, it aims to enhance policies that protect our environment, health and safety.

Minister Sarkaria’s bi-annual red tape reduction packages have become a hallmark of the Ford Government which according to the 2020 Annual Report, suggests that the government is among the top performing provinces in regulatory modernization in Canada. In its annual Red Tape Report Card, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business graded Ontario with an A- in this space.

This is the second Red Tape Reduction bi-annual package that Sarkaria has delivered during COVID-19 despite many other initiatives across government shifting to the backburner. Like the previous packages introduced, this Package contains a myriad of roughly 80 changes to government legislation, regulation and policies and removes complex and outdated rules. It takes a whole-of-government approach and includes changes that affect almost every ministry. As always, Sarkaria’s package aims to align government with the 7 modern regulatory principles that the government placed into law in 2020’s Modernizing Ontario for People and Business Act. It makes efforts to prioritize important issues and harmonize rules with the federal government and other provinces. This Package builds on previous red tape reduction packages to modernize government while positioning Ontario’s economy to succeed long-term in a post-pandemic world.

We encourage you to have a look at the bill or review the government’s news release, backgrounder or additional resources, as we can’t highlight the more than 80 proposed changes .

Highlights of the Package:

  • Proposing regulatory changes to require the cost-effective implementation of the Green Button standard by Ontario’s regulated electricity and natural gas utilities.
  • Proposing legislative changes to level the playing field to ensure that all types of electricity generation are treated on a first-come, first-served basis in regard to grid connections and ensure fairness in reporting requirements.
  • Proposing changes to the Employment Standards Act to expand the use of self-audits to help businesses comply with certain regulatory requirements.
  • Proposing to streamline submitting of WSIB premium payments.
  • Proposing to make it easier for businesses to report injuries and illnesses in the workplace by consolidating reporting requirements into a single regulation.
  • Proposing to streamline legislation to enable new on-farm anerobic digestion systems to be approved more easily and with less cost to help ensure that Ontario continues to be a Canadian leader in the biogas sector.
  • Consider regulatory changes that would allow farmers to adopt more efficient on-farm bulk storage options for raw milk.
  • Proposing to create simple, clear sampling and reporting requirements for greenhouse growers.
  • Establishing a digital “one-stop shop” to help navigate Ontario’s development approvals and permitting process.
  • Consulting with stakeholders on how to improve Provincially Significant Employment Zones policies to support economic recovery.
  • Proposing to streamline and clarify processes outlined in the Mining Act.
  • Making changes to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority to ensure transparent and effective oversight is provided for the new producer responsibility model.
  • Expanding the use of administrative monetary penalties to ensure compliance with Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act environmental laws.
  • Upgrading the software used to administer and manage highway contracts and elimination of user fees will reduce costs for the construction industry.
  • Introducing online licence plate sticker renewal for heavy commercial vehicles, bus/school bus and farm vehicles.
  • Consulting on potential legislative and regulatory changes under the Motor Vehicle and Dealers Act.
  • Allow schools and school boards to submit student volunteer hours reports online.
  • Proposing to streamline processes for data collection in order to reduce the burden on health sector partners.

Among many others…

We expect clarity on the regulatory and policy changes introduced in this package will be forthcoming as the regulatory changes will be posted to the appropriate regulatory registry in the coming days and promised consultations are launched. Meanwhile, legislative changes were introduced in the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act this afternoon.

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