Legislative Update, Nov. 3, 2017

2017 11/6 | Connects Page, Education Program and Policy, Provincial Updates

The Legislative Assembly of Ontario is adjourned for a constituency week and returns on November 14; there is no session on November 13 to recognize Remembrance Day. Upon returning, MPPs have 19 sitting days before Winter Recess on December 14, 2017.

Ontario’s Career Studies Course

On November 3, Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announced changes to the Grade 10 Career Studies Course to include four areas of learning. These are:

  • Financial Literacy
  • Pathways Planning
  • Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship
  • Digital Literacy

The enhancements will be in place for September 2018.
Ministry News Release

Bill 174, Cannabis Act

On November 1, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi introduced the government’s official cannabis regulation legislation. The omnibus legislation enacts two new bills, the Cannabis Act and the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act. It also repeals the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, replacing them with a new Smoke-Free Ontario Act. It also amends the Highway Traffic Act regarding driving under the influence of drugs.

The bill creates the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation, which will be run by the LCBO and tasked with opening 40 cannabis retail locations by July 1, 2018. It will also control all online sales of cannabis. Marijuana use will be banned in public places and will only be sold to people 19 and over. The bill includes “strict, escalating penalties” for illegal storefront dispensaries to discourage them from reopening after a raid. Corporations could face fines up to $1 million plus jail time for the illegal sale of cannabis. An individual under the age of 19 caught possessing marijuana could face a $200 fine. An adult caught consuming marijuana in public will face a fine of up $1,000 on the first conviction and up to $5,000 for subsequent convictions. Bill 174 increases penalties for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, including a zero tolerance policy for young drivers and contains a provision authorizing the use of automated school bus camera systems and their resulting evidence.

OPSBA will be reviewing the proposed legislation and its implications on education. The Ministry has indicated that a memo to the sector will be sent soon.

Ministry of Education Memo re Supports for Schools (Apr. 19, 2017)

Ministry of Education slide deck presented to OPSBA PDWT and EPWT (Sept. 8, 2017)

Bill 174 (54 pages).

Recent news releases

October 27, 2017:  Ontario Taking Next Steps to Identify Cannabis Store Locations

September 18, 2017: Ontario Improving Road Safety Ahead of Cannabis Legalization

September 8, 2017: Ontario Releases Safe and Sensible Framework To Manage Federal Legalization of Cannabis