Automated speed enforcement (ASE) technology on municipal roads, which takes pictures of speeders’ licence plates and is already used in many parts of North America and Europe, and for community safety zones and school zones
The ability to create zones with reduced speed limits to decrease the severity of pedestrian-vehicle collisions in urban areas
A streamlined process for municipalities to participate in Ontario’s Red Light Camera program without the need for lengthy regulatory approval.
Ontario has heard from municipalities seeking to improve safety in their communities in the wake of collisions involving children, seniors, other pedestrians and cyclists, and is proposing these changes as a result.
Making roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians of all ages by giving municipalities options to enforce traffic laws is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
Speed is one of the biggest killers on Ontario’s roads: 14 per cent of all people killed on our roads in 2013 died in collisions where speed was a factor.
In 2013, approximately three out of every four speed-related collisions occurred on municipal roads.
Studies show that lowering the speed limit from 50 km/h to 40 km/h in urban areas would reduce the number of deaths by half.
To understand what’s going on with the CPP, it’s easiest to start with how we got here, then assess where we are now, and finally look forward to what’s next.
How we got here
The Canada Pension Plan started operation 50 years ago in 1966 as a stand-alone program based on a federal-provincial partnership. It was introduced to build on the existing Old Age Security, but structured in a very different way. Whereas Old Age Security paid everyone the same amount per month, CPP was structured to depend on your earnings. If you earn more, you pay more into the CPP and you get a bigger pension when you retire.
By the 1980s, the CPP was running annual deficits. Payroll contribution rates were increased, but the deficits persisted into the 1990s. After a multi-year round of negotiations between the federal and provincial governments, a deal was reached to increase contributions still further, limit benefits, and accumulate a surplus to be invested in what is now the $280 billion Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Through those efforts to fix the CPP, Canada found itself almost alone among advanced countries with a public pension system that was stable and mostly effective.
Over the past five years, analysts noticed that there were pockets of people who were still not doing well under the CPP. In particular, many middle earners without a workplace pension were falling into too-low income ranges after retirement. Low earners were fairly well-covered by other parts of the pension system, but too many current middle-earners were struggling—and future generations might be even worse off if workplace pension coverage continues to slip downward.
The 2015 federal election saw promises by the NDP and the Liberals to expand the CPP, leading Canada’s finance ministers to get back to work in examining CPP reform after the dust settled from the election.
Where we are now
Currently, the CPP covers earnings up to a cap at $54,900. For earnings up to the cap, the CPP aims to replace about 25 per cent of the income. So, the maximum pension comes in it at about $1,092 per month, or $13,100 per year. Contributions are 4.95 per cent for each of the employer and employee, up to the same cap.
The expanded CPP announced Monday is a new, separate tier. This new tier is added on top of the existing CPP. The new CPP tier does two things, phased in over the next nine years to 2025. First, it takes the replacement rate up to 33.3 per cent from the current 25 per cent. Second, it expands the upper earnings cap from today’s $54,900 up to $82,700. To pay for this,the Globe and Mail reports that the contribution rate will go up by 1 per cent for both employers and employees. These new contributions will be accounted for separately and will be deductible for tax purposes—unlike current CPP contributions which only get a non-refundable tax credit.
For low to middle earners who are currently at or under the earnings cap, this new CPP will boost their pension by about one third. Whereas the old CPP replaced just 25 per cent of their earnings, the new CPP will expand that up to 33.3 per cent. For those earning more than today’s $54,900 earnings cap, the upward expansion of the earnings cap toward $82,700 means they are now covered at 33.3 per cent over earnings in the $54,900 to $82,700 range that were previously not covered at all. Because of this extra coverage, middle-to-high earners will eventually see a substantial increase in their CPP cheques—paid for by much heftier CPP premiums when they are working.
This deal was signed by eight provinces—only Quebec and Manitoba withheld their signatures. For Quebec, they operate a separate-but-similar Quebec Pension Plan, so they may follow a different path for expanded pension coverage. TheGlobe and Mail reports that Manitoba’s signature may soon be added once the newly-elected Manitoba government has some more time to analyze the CPP expansion. With this broad support, the legislated double test (two-thirds of population and two-thirds of provinces) for CPP reform is met.
The political and legislative cards will be played quickly. The Canada Pension Plan Act says that once a sufficient number of provincial governments have indicated support, the federal government can move forward and lock in the reform with an Order in Council—no new Parliamentary debate or legislation is required. From that point forward, the expansion will be fixed in place unless amended through a subsequent agreement of two-thirds of provinces to reverse the expansion—which is very unlikely. So, the only way this CPP expansion can be held back now is if some of signing provinces decide to reverse their position in the next few weeks before indicating final support to the federal government. The federal and Ontario governments issued a joint press statementon Monday declaring that approval from provinces must occur by July 15th—less than a month from now.
The economic reaction will take longer to play out during the nine-year phase in period. As the payroll contributions increase after 2019 there may be some temporary downward pressure on wages or employment, but with the payroll contribution increase limited to 1 per cent for most workers, this pressure will be limited. The bigger move will be for those with existing workplace pension plans. In the past, CPP changes have resulted in offsetting changes by workplace pensions. For this CPP expansion, employers and employees may decide to shrink their workplace pensions over the earnings range where CPP is newly expanded so that workers are not ‘over’-covered. Those workplace adjustments will take some time to negotiate—but the slow phase-in of the CPP expansion will allow sufficient time for the adjustments to take place.
Over the next few weeks, we can expect a flurry of analysis and opinions on this CPP expansion. The analysis may show it falls short in some ways. For example, this expansion may not effectively target those middle-earners at the greatest risk of pension problems. However, we should keep in mind the difficulty of attaining the cross-Canada consensus necessary for CPP reform. If we miss this opportunity another generation may pass before the chance for CPP expansion arises again.
Senate rejects amendment that would have sent bill to Supreme Court for review
The Liberal government’s much debated and often criticized assisted dying bill is now law.
The bill received royal assent Friday afternoon after passing a final vote in the Senate earlier in the day. The bill was voted through after a final bid by senators failed to expand the scope of who qualifies for a doctor-assisted death.
Senator Peter Harder, the government’s representative in the Senate, put forward the motion that the Senate should approve the amended bill and “accept the message passed by the House of Commons.”
It was approved with a vote of 44-28. After news of the vote in the Senate, the House of Commons adjourned for the summer break.
The Senate had passed an amendment to include those who aren’t necessarily near death, but the House of Commons rejected it Thursday.
In the end, senators yielded to the more restrictive bill.
“Appreciate principled [and] thoughtful debate in both houses,” tweeted Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould soon after.
“Transformative day for Canadian social policy,” added Health Minister Jane Philpott.
In a joint statement, the ministers reiterated that the legislation “strikes the right balance between personal autonomy for those seeking access to medically assisted dying and protecting the vulnerable.”
“Health Canada will continue to work with the provinces and territories as provisions of the legislation come into force, and further study will be done with respect to medical assistance in dying in the context of mature minors, people for whom mental illness is the sole underlying condition and advance requests.”
A ‘Canadian compromise’
Independent Senator Mike Duffy said Bill C-14 isn’t a carbon copy of the Supreme Court’s original ruling, but rather a balance. He called it a “Canadian compromise.”
“Better to have a bill than no bill at all,” said Liberal Senator Jim Munson, who called it just a start for Canada.
Voting against the motion, Conservative Senator Daniel Lang said Bill C-14 would still require Kay Carter, whose family won a Supreme Court decision to strike down the ban on assisted dying, to have left the country to die at the hands of a doctor.
Carter had spinal stenosis and died at a clinic in Switzerland in 2010.
“I believe Canadians are more vulnerable,” he said.
Independent Senator Andre Pratte said he is convinced the government is making a serious mistake, but said it’s the Liberals who will have to answer for it, not senators.
Unhappy with the Liberal government’s decision to remove his recommendation to allow anyone with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” access to a physician-assisted death, Senator Serge Joyal made a last-ditch effort to expand the scope of who qualifies for a physician-assisted death in Canada, but that was voted down on Friday.
Wilson-Raybould argued expanding the qualifications could mean people with “any serious medical condition, whether it be a soldier with PTSD, a young person with a spinal cord injury, or a survivor whose memory is haunted with memories of sexual abuse” would be eligible for a doctor-assisted death.
“Your responsibility is to stand for the minorities,” Joyal told his colleagues on Friday.
The Liberal senator put forward a complicated amendment to Harder’s motion, recommending the Senate accept the bill but suspend the validity of the section that says a person’s death has to be “reasonably foreseeable” until the Supreme Court can rule whether the bill is consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Joyal said the Senate has been accused of expanding access to medically assisted dying, but he argued his original amendment recognized rights that were already granted in the Supreme Court’s decision.
Amendment voted down
The Senate had to break for close to an hour just to figure out if senators were even allowed to debate his motion.
Senate Liberal Leader James Cowan, speaking in support of Joyal’s bill, said he couldn’t support a bill he thinks is unconstitutional and deliberately excludes a class of citizens suffering intolerably.
“How can we turn away and ignore the pleas of suffering Canadians?” he asked.
New Senator Murray Sinclair argued when it comes to expanding eligibility, “we should move slowly … and incrementally.”
He also pointed out there is room for physicians to exercise judgment on what “reasonably foreseeable” death actually is.
In the end, Joyal’s amendment was defeated by a vote of 42-28.
Senate’s role debated
Friday’s debate dipped into the weighty debate about what role the Senate should play in helping craft Canada’s laws.
Harder said the Senate should be “proud of [its] work” strengthening the contentious bill, but argued it was now time for the Red Chamber to accept the ruling from elected officials.
That incensed a handful of senators.
“[Then] what’s the point? We’re not here being dictated to,” said Nova Scotia Liberal Wilfred Moore.
“We are free and independent,” echoed Conservative Senator Ghislain Maltais.
Bill 12, which began life as a one-line document banning employers from taking workers’ tips, initially faced stiff opposition from the restaurant industry.
It was put forward as a private member’s bill by former NDP MPP Michael Prue (Beaches-East York). It didn’t pass before the Provinical election. After the election, the man who beat Prue, Liberal Author Potts then supported the Ontario bill. All the parties supported the Bill, known as Bill 12 – Protecting Employees’ Tips Act, 2015.
This law was introduced into the Ontario Legislature for first reading on July 14, 2014. It went through its’ second reading and third reading and received Royal Assent on December 10, 2015. Although it became law on December 10, 2015 it would not be implemented throughout the Province for another six (6) months, to provide time for the hospitality industry to prepare and get ready for the implementation of this new law. Bill 12 has been enacted as Chapter 32 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2015.
The Bill amends the Employment Standards Act, 2000. The new Part V.1 prohibits employers from withholding tips or other gratuities from employees, from making deductions from an employee’s tips or other gratuities, or from causing the employee to return or give his or her tips or other gratuities to the employer except as authorized under the new Part.
Several provinces, including Quebec, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, already have similar legislation to protect tipped workers.
The bill will also allow the Ministry of Labour to collect stolen tips/gratuties as if they were unpaid wages under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
The changes that Bill 12 makes to the Employments Standards Act, 2000 will prevent the employer from collecting tips/gratuties from employees or withholding or making deductions from those tips/gratuties, unless a court order allows them to do so.
Employees that work in this industry are normally paid minimum wage and count on the tips/gratuties to augment their low wages to make a living.
Bill 12 still allows bosses to temporarily withhold tips if they redistribute them as part of an employee tip pool, a measure that gives some pay parity to front-of-house staff and lower-paid back-of-house workers. Managers will not be able to participate in the pool unless they are the sole owner of a company or double as servers.
The bill also phases out collective agreement provisions that have previously allowed managers to get up to a 50 per cent share of tip pools.
In a Provincial unionized setting, where collective agreements govern employees tips/gratuties, the language in the collective agreement stands, despite the implementation of Bill 12, until the collective agreement expires. If the parties, during contract negotiations after the collective agreement expires, decide to drop the former language relating to tips/gratuties and fail to replace it, then the language found in Bill 12 or section 14 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 would fully apply.
Strict limits include 18-year age requirement and mandatory 15-day ‘reflection period’
Doctor-assisted death will be restricted to mentally competent adults who have serious and incurable illness, disease or disability under new legislation tabled in Parliament today.
The long-awaited bill also sets out safeguards to protect vulnerable Canadians, but does not include some of the most contentious recommendations from a parliamentary committee, including extending the right to die to “mature minors” and the mentally ill, and allowing advance consent for patients with degenerative disorders.
Instead, the bill limits access to those “suffering intolerably” and whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.”
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the government was operating under a compressed timeframe to meet a June 6 deadline imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada. She said there will be further study on those contentious proposals, and amendments could come down the road.
She said the legislation was framed around diverse views and perspectives, and conceded it will be “troubling” for some.
“For others it will not go far enough,” she said. “We believe this legislation is the best approach to ensure that dying patients who are suffering unbearable pain have the choice for a peaceful death and the vulnerable are protected,” she said.
Protect people from being encouraged to die in “moments of weakness.”
Include a mandatory 15-day “reflection period” so people don’t make rash decision after a diagnosis.
Re-affirm goals on suicide prevention and encourage a “consistent approach” across Canada.
Allow doctors and nurse practitioners to provide assistance without risk of criminal charges.
Patients must also be eligible for publicly funded health care services in Canada, which precludes people from the U.S. or other jurisdictions travelling to Canada to end their lives with the help of a doctor in what some have called “suicide tourism.”
Health Minister Jane Philpott called it a “historic day” for Canada and said it will come with a strategy for improved palliative care.
While the legislation removes the risk that doctors and authorized nurse practitioners will be prosecuted, she said conscience rights will also be protected.
“What today’s legislation describes is how medically assisted death will be carried out — for whom and by whom,” she said.
But advocacy group Dying With Dignity denounced the bill for being too narrow and restrictive. Its medical adviser, Dr. Brett Belchetz, accused the government of ignoring key recommendations from the parliamentary report around advance consent and mature minors.
He also took issue with what he called the “vague and discriminatory” term “reasonably foreseeable” death.
“It will be very hard for me to know if I’m in compliance with the law or not,” he said.
The legislation was spurred by a unanimous landmark ruling on Feb. 6, 2015, when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the ban on physician-assisted dying on the grounds that it violated Canadians’ Charter rights.
Justices gave the federal and provincial governments 12 months to prepare for the decision to come into effect.
After taking office, the Liberal government asked for a six-month extension, but the high court granted an extra four months, to June 6.
The bill excludes several categories of “suffering Canadians” who should have the same right to a safe and dignified assisted death, said executive director Josh Paterson.
“The inevitable result is that people will be trapped in intolerable suffering, or be left with no choice but to take their own lives prematurely in potentially dangerous situations,” he said.
A special parliamentary committee was tasked with making recommendations around legislation, and tabled a 70-page report called Medical Assistance in Dying: A Patient-Centred Approach.
That report said Canadians should have the right to make an “advance request” for medical aid in dying after being diagnosed with certain debilitating but not necessarily terminal conditions.
It also said assisted death should not be limited to physical conditions, and that Canadians with psychiatric conditions should not be excluded from doctor assistance to end suffering.
One of the most contentious recommendations was to consider, in three years, extending the right for doctor-assisted death to “mature minors.”
More study on age requirement
Today’s bill includes an age requirement of 18 years, but Wilson-Raybould said that restriction and others will be studied in more detail.
She also expressed confidence that all elements of the bill are in line with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and promised to release an “explanatory paper” to explain how the legislation complies with constitutional rights.
Conservative deputy justice critic Michael Cooper was pleased to see that the bill narrowed the scope of access to doctor-assisted death and excluded people under 18. But he opposed allowing nursing practitioners to carry out assisted deaths.
The bill will go to committee for further study before it goes to the House for a vote, and all Liberal, Conservative and NDP MPs will have a free vote to vote with their conscience. It must also clear the Senate before it becomes law.
Cooper said Conservatives would work diligently to meet the deadline and avoid a legal vacuum “chaos.”
“There would be no direction for physicians who are following or breaking the law,” he said, adding there would be no protections for vulnerable Canadians either.