Some new laws in Ontario and regulatory changes will take effect on New Year’s Day, including rules regarding safe child drop-offs at daycare and penalties for improperly accessing patients’ personal health information. Starting on January 1, 2024, the province will require all operators of childcare services to establish policies outlining the steps they will take to closely monitor when a child does not arrive or is not picked up as expected.
These changes aim to prevent rare but tragic deaths of young children accidentally left in cars. The safe drop-off system has long been implemented in schools, where children are typically 3 or 4 years old when they start kindergarten. However, it has not been applied in daycare centers, where children are younger and more vulnerable.
Other new regulations taking effect on January 1, 2024, will allow the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner to fine individuals or organizations for improper access or sharing of patients’ personal health information.
Changes in the towing industry are also set to take effect, including additional rights for customers, such as the right to consent to the tow of a vehicle and specify where it will be towed, the right to access the vehicle after an incident, and rights related to invoices and payments.
The province will also take over the tow-truck licensing regime from municipalities and will require certification of all towing operators and vehicle storage companies.
The list of invasive species will be updated, including the addition of killer shrimp, most crayfish species, and some plant species such as the tree of heaven.
Safety and health regulations for crane operators will be strengthened.
Ontario is also extending regulations governing the cross-border purchase of alcohol. Consumers will be allowed to directly purchase alcohol from businesses in other provinces until January 1, 2026.