Cannabis Legalization

Update, October 2018

Bill 36, Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018

This bill was introduced by Attorney General Caroline Mulroney on September 27, 2018. Bill 36 allows private retail stores to be open for business by April 1, 2019. Municipalities will have until January 22, 2019, to opt out of having stores in their communities. The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will be the registrar for licences. There will also be a 15-day public consultation period for communities to weigh in on the location of stores, but the final decision will rest with the AGCO. The province will also create “distance buffers” between stores and schools - this is to be determined by regulation. 

The federal legalization date was October 17, 2018, and this bill is expected to move fairly quickly through the legislative process.

OPSBA Submission re: Bill 36, Cannabis Statue Law Amendment Act, 2018

Update, August 2018

On August 13, 2018, the PC government announced the province's recreational cannabis retail model that will now include a private retail system, replacing the former government's plan to operate government-run cannabis standalone stores. Beginning on the federal legalization date of October 17, 2018, recreational cannabis will exclusively be sold online via the Ontario Cannabis Store.

The province will introduce legislation for a private retail model that, if passed, would be launched by April 1, 2019. "The private retail store model will be developed in consultation with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the City of Toronto, Indigenous communities, police, the cannabis industry association and other key stakeholders to ensure safe, responsible sales." OPSBA will continue this monitor this issue and its implementation and request school boards be part of the retail store consultation.

Government Backgrounder


On April 13, 2017, the Federal Government (through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada) introduced Bill C-45, Cannabis Act (An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts). This legislation legalizes and regulates cannabis production, use and sale across the country by July 2018.

In Ontario, the Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat (LCS) has been established and has engaged stakeholders on topics related to the Federal government's planned legalization (such as health regulations and youth prevention). The Ontario Cannabis Act, introduced in November 2017, details the proposed rules regarding the protection of youth and young adults and keeping roads and communities safe.

OPSBA and its members share concerns regarding the short timelines for legalization. These concerns, and additional comments made to the Ministry of Education on behalf of our members, are outlined in our September 19, 2017, letter to Ministry staff and OPSBA’s November submission regarding Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017

Additional Information