Now that 2021 is in full swing, here’s a breakdown of the largest legal changes taking effect in Ontario now.
Punishment for distracted driving increases
There are no longer any warnings for distracted driving; you will be fined at first sight.
Distracted driving is loosely defined as anything that causes a driver to lessen their focus on the road while driving.
First offence results in a 30 day suspension with a $4,000 fine. Second offence results in a two-month suspension with an $8,000 fine. Third offence results in a three-month suspension, $10,000 fine, and six demerit points.
Police cannot seize drivers’ licences at the roadside; they need a judge approval before suspending a licence.
Breath samples when pulled over
Anytime a driver is pulled over by police, they can now be asked to complete a breath sample.
This means that even if you are pulled over for speeding, using your phone, or any driving infraction, you could be asked to provide a breath sample — not just at traditional Checkstops anymore.
Legal tender status change for old bank notes
According to the Bank of Canada, those few who still have $1, $2, $25, $500, or $1000 bank notes can no longer use them in transactions as they have lost legal tender status.
These bills haven’t been produced in years but some still circulate. Holders now have two main options: keep them as relics or cash them in for face value at a financial institution. Of course, one could always try to sell them at a higher value to collectors.
There is no plan for the notes to lose their value going forward, they just cannot be used as purchasing power. The idea behind this new law is that any bills in circulation are updated and difficult to counterfeit.
New e-waste regulation
Electronic producers are now required to safely handle the full life-cycle of electronics (and their packaging) such as cell phones, printers, computers, and gaming consoles. This could be referring to waste management, but reuse and refurbishment are strongly encouraged.
For example, Nokia and Greener Acres have collaborated to use recycled electronics to create smart light poles that transmit high-speed internet.
E-waste is a quickly-growing problem in landfills that needs to be addressed and this regulation is a good start toward that.
Cheaper hydro for the month of January
The first four weeks of 2021 (28 days total) will have electricity rates billed at off-peak prices.
The discounted rate has been in effect as of January 1st and will last until January 29th.
— Ontario Energy Board (@OntEnergyBoard) December 22, 2020
Changes to vape packages
The federal government now requires re-fillable vaping devices to list their ingredients and have a toxicity warning on the box.
Also, re-fillable vapes and their parts must be packaged in child-resistant containers.
Changes to moose hunting
Starting in 2021 moose tags will be awarded using a points-based allocation process.
Learn more about how moose tags will be distributed to hunters next year: https://t.co/v4gI7MFJBn.#moosehunting #huntontario #ontarionews #hunting #huntON #moose #ontariohunter pic.twitter.com/A8HbM7AUDQ
— Ontario Fish and Wildlife (@FishWildlifeON) November 2, 2020
Rather than the draw system that was used in the past, hunters will apply to get tags using a points-based allocation process that is dependent on how unsuccessful they’ve been in previous years.
This law technically takes effect in early April, with a primary goal of addressing fairness.
What do you think of the new law changes? Let us know in the comments below!