Ontario regulation changes relax liquor laws, strengthen worker protections

TORONTO – Ontario’s liquor laws will relax a little more as a series of provincial regulations get updated July 1.

Customers touring a winery, brewery or distillery will be allowed to carry an open glass of liquor from one part of the facility to another, and will be able to buy liquor from the on-site store while dining in the restaurant.

Wine, beer and spirit producers will be allowed to have a bar or restaurant at each of their licensed manufacturing sites, and they will no longer have to get their advertising approved by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission.

Ontario will also allow liquor to be auctioned for charity at special occasions, and expand the right to serve homemade wine and beer from just weddings and religious events to any special family occasion at a hall or facility that requires a special occasion permit.

Other changes taking effect on Canada Day include a 1.1-per-cent increase in the co-payment amount charged to chronic care patients in hospitals and long-term care home residents to help pay for meals and accommodation.

There will be higher fees for licences for child-care centres and home child-care agencies, which haven’t changed since 1993. The amount of the increase will depend on the number of licensed child-care spaces.

The province gets its first-ever patient ombudsman as former Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Elliott officially opens her office July 4 to hear complaints about hospitals, long-term care homes and community care access centres.

An update to the Occupational Health and Safety Act will extend noise protection to all workplaces covered under the act and adds a requirement to provide workers with consistent information about hazardous chemicals on job sites.

New or updated air standards will take effect in Ontario for nine different substances, including benzene, chromium compounds, dioxins, nickel and uranium.

The integrity commissioner gets authority to investigate lobbyists and to prohibit people from engaging in lobbying for up to two years, and a new conflict of interest provision has been added to the Lobbyists Registration Act.

The government says it is reducing the burden on franchise businesses by providing rules for more efficient ways to disclose documents, allowing them to be transferred electronically or by courier.

The fee for launching a proceeding at the Ontario Municipal Board jumps from $125 to $300, the first increase in 25 years.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says the regulation changes will help the government deliver on its top priority to grow the economy and create jobs.

“Legislation and regulations always need to evolve in order to increase transparency, protect patients and workers, save time and money for business, and make life easier for people,” Wynne said in a statement.

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