The new year has officially begun, and that means a whole new set of laws, rules, and regulations will be taking effect this year. There are many new regulations in Ontario in 2023 that you should be aware of, and here are some of the most significant ones.

From gas tax cuts to extended patios to low-cost energy pricing, here’s what Ontario will be making official this year.

New low-cost energy rates

This year, Ontario is introducing a voluntary Ultra-Low Overnight (ULO) Price Plan for residents who pay Regulated Price Plan (RPP) electricity rates.

Residences, small businesses, and farms will be given the option to switch to the new plan if they want to opt in.

Gas and fuel tax cut

Ontario is extending its gas tax cut for an additional year, until December 31st, 2023.

The province says that this extension will save Ontario households $195 on average between July 1st, 2022, and December 31st, 2023.

This decision follows legislation passed last spring, which cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months.

Pharmacist prescriptions for common ailments

Pharmacists can now prescribe medication for 13 ailments, thanks to a recent decision made by the Ministry of Health.

As of January 1st, 2023, the provincial government has allowed pharmacies across Ontario to write prescriptions for a variety of the most common ailments, including rashes, infections, bites, sprains, and more.

“This service makes it more convenient to access care by removing a doctor’s office visit and will come at no extra cost to Ontarians,” says the announcement from the Ministry.

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Liquor Licence and Control Act, 2019

Ontario is helping the hospitality industry thrive by amending the Liquor License and Control Act this year.

According to the province, bars, restaurants and other licensed establishments can now create or extend temporary patios on a permanent basis, “as long as their municipality or band council has the approved extension.”

Naloxone kits in high-risk workplaces

Starting in June 2023, “at-risk” employers will be required to ensure that their workplaces have Naloxone kits and workers are trained on how to use them, in an effort to curb the soaring number of opioid-related deaths in Ontario.

At-risk employers are ones who are aware of a potential risk of an opioid overdose in their workplace.

Anti-Racism Act, 2017

Starting this year, all Ontario school boards will be required to collect “race-based data as it relates to academic performance,” according to the provincial government.

Race-based data related to special education, suspensions, expulsions or a decision of a principal to refuse to admit students to school or a classroom is also part of the requirements.