Article by Saleha Faruque and Irtaqa Arif, The Medium
Starting the new decade means anticipating a slew of updated laws for Canadians across the country. These new laws, announced through a series of acts and amendments, will address some big but familiar issues this year.
For Ontario, this includes rules around cannabis regulation, sustainable living, minimum wage rates, animal rights and more. 2019 already proved a milestone year that marked the legalization of cannabis, a carbon tax hike, and not to mention harsher driving penalties.
Last year was an eventful period in Canadian politics, which began with the Prime Minister’s SNC Lavalin scandal and ended with the resignation of Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party. The 2019 Federal election had also produced numerous headlines that captivated Canadians during the highly reported race to the polls.
While there are new regulations affecting residents in most provinces, people living and working in Ontario should keep in mind some key changes coming to the province:
Smoking, vaping, and cannabis
The 2017 Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into effect to protect harmful exposure of second-hand smoke within enclosed spaces such as workplaces, university and college campuses, and all public enclosed places.
The Act also makes it harder for young people to purchase tobacco products, limiting smoking in many outdoor public places. By the end of 2018, the province banned smoking cannabis and vaping in places where smoking is prohibited.
More recently, Ontario announced regulations against the promotion of vaping products inside gas stations and convenience stores in the fall. Vaping ads have been pulled from Ontario convenience stores and gas stations, effective on January 1, 2020.
Now, vape product promotion is only permitted in specialty vape and cannabis retail stores, open to people 19 years or older.
At the end of 2019, Ontario legalized the purchase of edibles.
Health care while travelling
Students and staff who rely on travel insurance, or those wishing to purchase travel insurance, should review OHIP’s 2020 cuts to its travel insurance coverage.
The People’s Health Care Act, or Bill 74, was passed in February 2019 to create a patient-centric integrated public health care delivery system.
Under the bill, OHIP has limited out-of-country health care coverage for emergencies. This can include up to $400 per day for emergency in-patient services, and $50 per day for emergency outpatient services.
These cuts apply to Ontarians travelling outside of Canada. The overall impact of these cuts would heavily depend on the travelling country. For example, $400 per day emergency coverage would not be helpful in the United States, where hospital stay costs range in the thousands.