A new year means not only personal new beginnings, but also the initiation of several new laws and regulations that come into effect for Canadians. Changes to things like federal divorce laws, cannabis and vaping regulations, taxes and more will kick into gear 2020. Here are some of the highlights:
The basic amount most Canadians can earn tax-free is going up on Jan. 1, to $13,229 and will be phased in over four years until it gets to $15,000 in 2023.
Also starting on Jan. 1, the employment insurance premiums for individual workers and employees will go down. The maximum annual EI contribution for a worker will fall by $3.86 to $856.36 and employers’ maximum contribution will fall $5.41 to $1,198.90 per employee.
Federal laws related to divorce and family orders were changed with the passage of Bill C-78 and a majority of changes to the Divorce Act will come into effect on July 1, 2020. The Bill represents the first major change to Canada’s federal family laws related to divorce, separation, and parenting since the Divorce Act came into force in 1986 over twenty years ago.
The changes include updated criteria to determine a child’s best interests in custody cases, as well as measures to address family violence when making parenting arrangements.
The changes also hope to make the family justice system “more accessible and affordable” for everyone.
The Divorce Act applies to married couples who are divorcing, while provincial and territorial legislation applies to all other spousal separations, including those involving unmarried and common-law couples. For more detailed information on the changes, visit the government website HERE.
There are also changes to lots of regulations that are province specific. Here are some for Ontario.
FOR ONTARIO ONLY
No more out-of-country health insurance coverage
The Ontario government’s move to get rid of out-of-country health insurance takes effect on Jan. 1. This means that Ontarians who fall ill while travelling can no longer claim the $400-a-day maximum coverage for inpatient emergency care and the $50-a-day maximum allowed for emergency outpatient services (such as an MRI or a CAT scan) that, until now, were provided by OHIP.
The provincial government has defended its decision by saying that the OHIP coverage was minimal and “inefficient,” given the high cost of medical care abroad – and especially in the United States — that usually requires private travel insurance.
E-scooters on roads
As part of a five-year pilot project, the Ontario government will let municipalities decide whether to allow e-scooters on their roads.
Operating e-scooters is currently only allowed on private property in the province.
The pilot project starts on Jan. 1. E-scooter drivers will have to be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet.
On Jan. 1, Ontario will ban the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations, in response to growing concerns about the health effects of vaping on young people.
The province will still allow vaping to be promoted in specialty stores and cannabis shops, which are only open to those aged 19 and older.
Starting Jan. 1., Ontario will give restaurants and bars the option to allow dogs on their patios, in areas where “low-risk foods” (such as pre-packaged snacks and beer) are served. The move is part of a slew of changes enacted by the passage of Bill 132, also known as the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act.
Changes to federal carbon tax rebates
For Ontario residents, the 2020 federal carbon tax rebates, which must be claimed on 2019 income tax returns, are as follows:
Single adult or first adult in a couple: $224
Second adult in a couple or first child of a single parent: $112
Each child under 18: $56
Baseline amount for a family of four: $448
Bottom Line: A few new rules and regulations that will affect a variety of Canadians as we look to 2020!
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