Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Introduces Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Legislation
Date: November 6, 2017
On November 1, 2017, the Ontario government tabled Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017 omnibus legislation which would, if passed, regulate the cultivation, sale, distribution and consumption of cannabis in Ontario, enact the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 and make amendments to the Highway Traffic Act relating to impairment by cannabis and road safety. Among other things, the Bill provides the provincial framework for the federal Bill C-45, Cannabis Act.
Among other things, if passed, Bill 174 would:
- create the Cannabis Act, 2017, which would, among other things:
- prohibit anyone who is not a licensed cannabis retailer in Ontario from selling cannabis in Ontario
- prohibit persons under 19 years of age from possessing, consuming, purchasing or attempting to purchase cannabis
- prohibit the sale or distribution of cannabis to persons if they are or appear to be intoxicated
- prohibit consumption of cannabis in a public place, a workplace within the meaning of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a vehicle or boat, or any prescribed place. Exceptions may exist for persons who consume cannabis for medical purposes, subject to any prohibitions or restrictions under the new Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 and its regulations
- prohibit landlords from knowingly allowing their properties to be used for unlawful sale, cultivation or distribution of cannabis
- authorize police to vacate premises or temporarily close premises if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Act is being contravened or if a charge is ultimately laid for the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, or for knowingly permitting such activities
- subject to certain exceptions, impose a fine for an offence under the Act of not more than $250,000 for a corporation and, for an individual, not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both
- create the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017 which would, among other things, set out the powers and duties of the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation which will have the exclusive right to sell cannabis in Ontario
- repeal the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and replace it with the new Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017, which would, among other things:
- require every employer, with respect to an enclosed workplace or designated area over which the employer has control, to ensure that no person smokes or holds lighted tobacco, smokes or holds lighted medical cannabis, uses an electronic cigarette, or consumes a designated product or substance, subject to certain exceptions
- require every employer to give notice to each employee in the enclosed workplace or designated area of the foregoing prohibitions
- require every employer to post any prescribed signs respecting the prohibitions throughout the enclosed workplace, place or area, including washrooms
- ensure that a person who refuses to comply with the prohibitions does not remain in the enclosed workplace or place or area
- prohibit employers or persons acting on their behalf from retaliating against an employee who has sought enforcement of this Act
- permit the Minister to appoint inspectors for the purpose of determining compliance with the Act
- establish fines for non-compliance with the Act.
- amend the Highway Traffic Act, to, among other things, impose strict penalties on young, commercial and novice drivers who are impaired by cannabis when driving, including licence suspension, monetary penalties, and mandatory treatment programs.
- amend the Ontario Human Rights Code to state that the right to equal treatment with respect to goods because of age is not infringed by the provisions of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017
- amend the Education Act, among other things, to include as one of the purposes of a code of conduct established by the Minister the requirement to discourage the use of alcohol, illegal drugs and, except by a medical cannabis user, cannabis
- make consequential amendments to a number of other statutes.
The Bill should be consulted for coming into force information.