Recent Changes to the Law
I would like to highlight some recent changes to the law which might be of interest:
1. Beer Ruling. This will appeal to many. A little while back, I did an article on interprovincial barriers affecting importing or exporting beer, wine and spirits. Believe or not, there are provincial laws restricting buy or shipping alcoholic beverages across Provincial boundaries. These laws date back to prohibition times in the late 1920s/early 1930s. They have been continued by provinces like Ontario because there is a lot of tax revenue at stake (ie Ontario tightly controls the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages). The Federal Government (Ottawa) largely removed their restrictions several years ago. Ontario and other provinces did not follow suit. A recent case in New Brunswick might change this. Mr. Comeau, who lives in northern New Brunswick, regularly made trips to nearby Quebec to buy beer and liquor, saving about 50%. It is much cheaper in Quebec than New Brunswick because of the high mark ups mandated by New Brunswick law for taxes. He was charged by the RCMP upon crossing the border after purchasing several cases of beer and a few bottles of liquor (apparently New Brunswick law does not allow the import of more than 12 pints without paying taxes. Ontario and other provinces have similar restrictions. The charge was dismissed on the basis that the Canadian Constitution guarantees the free movement of goods across provincial lines. The Government has appealed the decision. Stay tuned.
2. Crosswalks. The Ontario Government recently passed the Making Ontario Roads Safer Act. It requires drivers and cyclists to stop and wait for pedestrians to completely cross at crosswalks, including school cross walks with crossing guards. This law was passed after a rash of injuries and deaths by pedestrians in Ontario. Fines can be assessed from $150 to $500 and/or 3 demerit points if convicted. The crosswalk has to be a recognized pedestrian facility (ie with signage, painted lines etc.).
3. Door to door sales of home energy products. The Consumer Protection Act in Ontario has been beefed up with the recent passing of the Strengthening Consumer Protection and Electricity System Oversight Act. Basically, door to door sales for electricity and natural gas contracts have been banned. Any contract signed in contravention of the law is void and cannot be enforced. Many want this extended to door to door sales of HVAC (ie heating/air conditioners), water heaters and water filtration systems. Unfortunately, many door to door sales people are ignoring this law but hopefully, over time, the companies they work for will get the message when they are unable to enforce the contracts.
Michael Cobb is a lawyer at the law firm of Cobb & Jones LLP. Should you have any questions for Ask A Lawyer, please direct them to the Simcoe Reformer or ask a lawyer of your choice. For more articles, visit the Library page at www.cobbjones.ca.