TORONTO — Tax and regulation changes in Ontario that kick in Jan. 1 will provide some relief from soaring electricity rates while pushing up the cost of home heating, and give first-time home buyers a financial break.
The government will remove the eight-per-cent provincial portion of the HST from electricity bills, but the Liberals' cap-and-trade program to fight climate change will add about $6 a month to natural gas bills in the new year.
The province is doubling the maximum refund of the land transfer tax to $4,000 for people buying their first home, which means they won't pay the tax on the first $368,000 of a purchase price.
Restaurant chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario must start posting caloric content on menus as of Jan. 1, but not sodium levels.
Travel agents and wholesalers must include the all-in price for their services and vacation packages in all advertising.
New regulations for the towing industry will require companies to post rates for towing and storage of vehicles on their trucks and provide itemized invoices. They must also accept credit cards and cannot demand cash.
Child support will no longer be treated as income for people receiving social assistance or disability payments, ending the provincial clawback from some of the lowest-income residents.
The maximum cost of a payday loan will drop from $21 to $18 for every $100 borrowed.
The Smoke Free Ontario Act is updated to ban the sale of clove cigarettes and most menthol-flavoured tobacco products, which the government says is the most popular flavour with young people when they start smoking.
Police in Ontario will no longer be able to engage in carding, or random street checks. New rules prohibit what is termed "the arbitrary collection of identifying information by police," who must tell people up front that they have a right to walk away without providing identification or answering their questions.
Another major legislative change that starts Jan. 1 recognizes the legal status of all parents, including same sex couples, regardless of how their child was conceived.
The Succession Law Reform Act will allow a child who is conceived through assisted reproduction up to three years after the death of their parent to inherit and seek support from their deceased parent's estate.
There are new requirements for large businesses and non-profit organizations to make public spaces such as parking lots, play areas and service counters accessible for people with disabilities.
Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said spousal support will no longer be treated as income for people receiving social assistance or disability payments.