The new year has begun and with it, new legislation is being passed. From federal to provincial laws, changes that may affect you are undergoing revision, have been implemented or are going to be passed in the upcoming year.
From laws that cover employment wages to regulations banning ticket bots, major changes in law include those that will affect business owners and individuals alike. There are new changes occurring to provincial laws, as well. Will you be affected? Here are the major changes for 2018.
Increase in Minimum Wage
This year’s increase in minimum wage is a big change for both employers and employees. The minimum wage was raised from $11.60 to $14.00 per hour for Ontario and Alberta. There are also increases in wages for liquor servers, students under 18, homeworkers and hunting and fishing guides. Another raise in minimum wage is expected to occur next year on January 1, 2019 to $15.00.
New Labour Laws Regarding Employment Standards
In addition to minimum wage boosts, new amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act were passed. Scheduling, overtime pay, paid holiday and vacation days, paid emergency leave, union certification, and more.
The legalization of marijuana is also an area where new laws will take effect. Distribution processes and minimum age requirements will differ from province to province. In Ontario, those who are 19 years and older will be allowed to legally purchase marijuana. They will be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis. There will also be strict laws on smoking in public and how much can be grown personally.
Mortgage Rate Stress Testing Rules
One big change in the real estate industry is new stress testing policies for home buyers. This means that newer home buyers need to qualify at a rate 2% higher than what they have negotiated. Basically, this new stress test ensures that your housing expenses in comparison to your income stay at a certain level even if rates rise. There are some exceptions where the new mortgage rules will not apply, including pre-constructed condos and purchase agreements and new applications signed before January 1st.
Business Owners Get Lower Tax Rates
Also, business owners can expect a change for the 2018 tax year. New changes will essentially allow owners to lower their personal income taxes by sharing their earnings with family members who have not significantly contributed to the business. This is known as “income sprinkling” and will be defined by specific requirements that must be met in order for a family member to be eligible. You can get guidelines on income sprinkinling from the CRA.
Youth are Eligible for Free Drug Prescriptions
Getting prescription medication is now free for individuals who are 24 years or younger. All that is needed is an Ontario Health card number and the prescription. Coverage is automatic. Youth will have access to medication and prescription drugs that are reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.
Ticket Bots Banned
Ticket bots are programmed to buy concert tickets in bulk, reselling them at a higher price. The new law will prohibit tickets from being resold at more than 50% above face value. This makes it illegal to knowingly resell tickets purchased by bots.
Health Canada is banning the manufacturing and import of toiletries that contain plastic microbeads that are equal to or less than 5 mm in size. The prohibition on microbeads started January 1, 2018 with the exception of toiletries which are considered natural health products or non-prescription drugs. For those the ban begins July 1, 2018.
New Statutory Holiday
New Brunswick will now have Family Day as a statutory holiday. The new paid holiday for the province will occur on the third Monday of every February.
Come March 1, 2018, municipalities will be able to develop bylaws that will allow companies like Uber and Lyft to function in Manitoba. The Manitoba Taxicab Board will be dissolved, giving authority to local municipalities instead.
Taxes On Soda
In the Northwest Territories, new changes will also take place. One being the implementation of taxes on sugary drinks for the 2018-2019 tax year as a means of fighting against obesity and diabetes in the region.
Be sure to get informed on what changes you can expect from the new provincial and federal laws the Government of Canada is implementing for 2018.
To avoid any issues, consult with a lawyer to discover how your own personal situation is affected by these new changes.