Legislative Update, April 28

2017 5/1 | Connects Page, Federal Issues, Provincial Updates

Bill 65, Safer School Zones Act, 2016
Transportation Minister Steve Del Duca introduced the government’s photo radar legislation, Bill 65, Safer School Zones Act on November 15, 2016. The bill would allow the use of “automated speed enforcement” technology in designated school and community zones. The bill has had public hearings and on April 26, 2017, OPSBA sent a submission to the Standing Committee on General Government.

Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, 2016
Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro introduced this legislation on November 16, 2016. The legislation includes proposed amendments to the Municipal Elections Act that would change the term start date for councillors and school board trustees from December 1 to November 15. It also contemplates several changes to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. OPSBA sent a letter to the Ministry of Education and a submission to the Standing Committee on April 4, 2017.  The bill remains at the Standing Committee on Social Policy where it has begun clause-by-clause review for any amendments.

Bill 114, Anti-Racism Act, 2017
On March 29, 2017, Minister Michael Coteau, the Minister Responsible for Anti-Racism introduced Bill 114, Anti-Racism Act. The bill enshrines the new ministry, the Anti-Racism Directorate, into law. It also develops a plan for implementing Ontario’s three-year anti-racism strategy, measuring its effectiveness and reviewing it every five years. On April 26, 2017 the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on General Government.

Rural and remote Education Review
Information regarding the consultation is available on the OPSBA website and we will be creating a package of materials for our members that will include key messages and copies of our recent submission on the PARG, Funding and Community Hubs. This package is designed to help those members and school board staff participating in the day and/or evening sessions, as well as those who want to comment individually via the online consultation guide. In addition, we will be sharing information about the 10 evening sessions via our website, our OPSBA Connects e-newsletter and Twitter.

Education Week 2017
Education Week is May 1-5, 2017 and the theme for this year is Ontario 150.

Federal Legislation

i)  Federal Budget
On April 11, 2017, Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau introduced Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures. Contained within this legislation is a proposed change regarding employee benefits and allowances which may affect trustee honoraria. The text from the 2017 federal budget states:

“Remove the tax exemptions for non-accountable expense allowances paid to members of provincial and territorial legislative assemblies and to certain municipal office-holders. This exemption is only available to certain provincial, territorial and municipal office holders, and provides an advantage that other Canadians do not enjoy.”

The bill remains at First Reading. OPSBA is seeking legal counsel about this proposed change.

ii)  Cannabis Act
On April 13, 2017, the Federal Government (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). On April 19, 2017, the Ministry of Education sent a memo to Directors of Education entitled, “Legalization of Cannabis – Supports for Schools.” The Ministry memo includes a Q&A about how students might learn about cannabis in schools (curriculum) and various resources for parents and principals. With regards to the legislation, it says the Ontario government is reviewing the bill and has established a dedicated secretariat to coordinate ministry efforts.

Page 26 of A Framework for the Legalization and Regulation of Cannabis in Canada, a report of the Government Task Force, includes recommendations for a public education campaign (emphasis on youth, parents and vulnerable populations) and advice to provincial ministers.

The bill remains at First Reading. OPSBA will be attending a Canadian School Board Association (CSBA) Board of Director’s meeting this weekend and this will be discussed.