Lo and behold, we’re already well into a brand new year and looking towards a whole new set of legal developments. These important additions will influence residential matters like tenant protections for renters, new rules for landlords and developers, as well as some of the costs associated with homeownership. While a few of the changes are part of a broader COVID-19 response plan issued by provincial and federal governments that affect childcare, others are focused on an ongoing attempt to reduce our carbon footprint by influencing private businesses to do their part. As such, we at Walker Law Professional Corp. want to share with ByBlacks' readers what we believe to be the five most significant changes to the law; changes that will undoubtedly have the most tangible effects on residents of Ontario.
- Guide for Residential Condo Purchasers Introduced: Starting January 1, 2021, developers in Ontario are required to provide purchasers of new or pre-construction condominiums with a copy of a standard Residential Condominium Buyers’ Guide, which should include a current disclosure statement for the condo unit. The guide provides up-to-date information on a number of aspects of condo ownership, including the purchase process, moving into a pre-construction residential unit, condo living and governance, and resources for resolving issues that arise while living in a condo. A disclosure statement provides purchasers with important information about the condo they're buying and the corporation that governs it, such as the corporation’s budget, proposed or approved declarations, and the condo corporation’s by-laws and rules.
Hydro Bills To Be Lower In January 2021: As a direct result of Ontario’s current COVID-19 lockdown that went into effect on December 26, 2020, the provincial government announced that all Ontario residents would be charged off-peak rates for their electricity use; regardless of what time of day the energy was used. This makes sense, as so many people are both expected and required to stay at home until the lockdown is over. This reduction of hydro rates is only scheduled to last throughout January.
- Residential Rent Freeze Goes Into Effect: As we wrote about back in September 2020, the Ontario government previously announced that a residential rent freeze would be put in place so that most families in Ontario wouldn’t experience a rent increase throughout 2021. That legislation was proposed by the government last fall and was passed in October 2020. This rent freeze went into effect on New Year’s Day and is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2021.
- Parents of Young Children to Receive an Extra $1,200: As of 2021, Eligible parents who have children under the age of six will receive an extra $1,200 for each child that they have under six years old. This amendment to the Canada Child Benefit was part of the economic package announced by the federal government in November 2020. Parents will not need to apply for this extra benefit, as it will be automatically applied and provided in four installments throughout the year.
- No More Single-Use Plastics: While many businesses in the food and service industry have already cut out the use of plastic straws, the federal government plans to have regulations passed by late 2021 to completely ban the use of all single-use plastics. In addition to straws, this would include plastic shopping bags, take-out containers, and six-pack rings. Business owners who currently make use of such products will need to find alternate solutions. There will be one notable exception to the ban on single-use plastics, which will apply to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Knowledge is power and knowing your rights as well as the benefits associated with significant legal changes can empower you in a myriad of ways. Whether you’re an individual or a business, undoubtedly, some or all of these changes will impact you in some way. We hope, positively.
Best wishes to you and your family in 2021 from Walker Law Professional Corp.