Several new Ontario laws and regulatory changes are set to come into effect on New Year’s Day, including daycare safe-arrival rules and penalties for inappropriately accessing patients’ personal health information.
As of Jan. 1, 2024, the province will require all child-care operators to develop a policy outlining what steps they will take to closely monitor when a child does not arrive or is not picked up as expected.
The changes are intended to prevent the rare, but horrendous deaths of young children inadvertently left in hot cars.
Safe arrival systems have long been in place in schools, where children are as young as three or four when starting junior kindergarten, but not in child-care settings, where children are younger and more vulnerable.
Other new regulations taking effect on Monday will allow Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner to fine individuals or organizations who inappropriately access or share a patient’s personal health information.
Several changes to the tow-truck industry are also set to come into force, including new customer rights.
Those will include the right to provide consent to tow a car, where it will be towed, access to the vehicle after the fact and rights related to invoices and payments.
The province will also take over the tow-truck licensing regime from municipalities and will require certification of all towing operators and vehicle storage companies.
Ontario is also adding several organisms to the invasive species list in the new year, including killer shrimp, most crayfish and several plants such as the tree of heaven.
The province is also updating the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase safety for crane operators on construction sites. Two new regulations taking effect will help ensure cranes are installed properly and inspected and maintained regularly.
Ontario is also extending rules governing the purchase of alcohol across provincial borders. Consumers will be allowed to buy alcohol directly from businesses in other provinces until Jan. 1, 2026.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2023.
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