Ontario Bill 66: A summary

Bill 66 included a number of changes that will impact low and moderate income communities. Some key changes:

Bill 66 proposes that provisions in the Ontario Energy Board Act are repealed so that there is no OEB approval required for Unit Sub-Metering Providers prices, meaning that sub-meter providers will be able to charge whatever they want for energy provided to tenants.

The government proposes to deregulate how many children are allowed in a home day care, to allow up to three children under the age of two in an in-home daycare. Currently, only two young children are allowed. The changes would also allow two child-care providers to look after six infants at a time, an increase from four infants currently allowed. In addition, providers no longer have to count their own children towards the total number of kids in their care after their child turns four. In addition, there is no mention of the tax rebates of up to $6,750 that were promised during election.

Bill 66 will give municipalities the power to pass an “open-for-business planning by-law” (OFB By-law) to authorize uses of land for “prescribed purposes” not yet specified. The OFB by-laws will allow cities to exempt development from land-use planning and environmental protections laid out in a number of acts, including the Planning Act, the Greenbelt Act, the Great Lakes Protection Act, and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act. In addition, cities will be able to bypass density bonusing by way of Section 37 Agreement and would also be able to exempt developers from laws around public notice and hearings.

The Bill proposes to reclassify public entities, like municipalities, hospitals, universities and schools as ‘non-construction employers’, to allow the hiring of non-unionized workers on public infrastructure projects. The Bill would also eliminate the requirement for employers to gain approval from the Director of Employment Standards for excess hours of work and overtime averaging, and would remove the requirement for employers to display an Employment Standards Act poster in the workplace.

Bill 66 seeks to increase power for Big Telecoms companies by scrapping the Wireless Services Agreements Act, which requires service contracts for smartphones to be written in plain language that customers can easily understand. It would also cancel rules around the cancellation fees and consent. Although the federal Wireless Code of Conduct exists, it fails to provide many important protections for consumers.