By Sean Davidson
A number of changes to laws and regulations will come into effect in Ontario next year.
Whether it’s the staycation tax credit or a boost to Ontario’s minimum wage, there are some important changes for people to know about.
CTV News Toronto has compiled a list of the top things to know.
STAYCATION TAX CREDIT
Ontario’s staycation tax credit comes into effect on Jan. 1 and will last for the duration of 2022.
The program was announced as part of the Doug Ford government’s Fall Economic Statement, which was tabled in November.
Ontarians will get a 20 per cent personal income tax credit on eligible accommodation, between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, up to a maximum of $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a family, for a maximum credit of $200 or $400 respectively.
MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
The Ontario government announced earlier this year the provincial minimum wage will increase to $15 per hour on Jan. 1.
The minimum wage will then continue to rise by the rate of inflation following that date, the government said.
The bump will also apply to liquor servers in the province, who currently make $12.55 per hour.
DIGITAL ID PROGRAM
After a delay due to the rollout of vaccine certificate system, Ontario’s digital ID program will launch sometime in 2022, though the government hasn’t given a specific date.
When the digital ID program launches, Ontarians will be able to have an electronic version of their government ID – like driver’s licences and health cards – stored in their digital wallet app.
The digital ID program will allow people and businesses to prove who they are both online and in person without using a physical card.
According to the government, the digital ID will offer more privacy to users than a physical ID.
Ontarians are not required to participate in the digital ID program.
WORK-LIFE BALANCE RULES
In late November, the Ontario government passed new laws it says will help employees disconnect from the office and create a better work-life balance.
The “Working for Workers Act” requires Ontario businesses with 25 people or more to have a written policy about employees’ rights when it comes to disconnecting from their job at the end of the day.
These workplace policies could include, for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working, the government says.
According to the act, between Jan. 1 and March 1 of each year an employer must ensure it has a written policy in place for all employees with respect to disconnecting from work.
NON-COMPETE RULES BANNED
Also part of the “Working for Workers Act” was ending the practice of non-compete clauses in Ontario.
Non-compete clauses usually prevent people from exploring other work opportunities and higher salaries at other jobs.
According to the government, Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada, and one of the first in North America, to ban non-compete agreements in employment.
This report by CTV News first published on December 28, 2021.
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