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This Week @Queen’s Park and Parliament Hill (March 9, 2018)

  • Premier Kathleen Wynne named the Honourable Helena Jaczek to replace Dr. Eric Hoskins as Health Minister following his resignation to head up the federal government’s national pharmacare program. The Premier also appointed the Honourable Michael Coteau to take over the Community and Social Services portfolio on top of his existing Children and Youth Services and Anti-Racism duties.
  • On the horizon: the move to paperless auto insurance “pink slips”.  The Insurance Bureau of Canada is promoting the paperless move, noting that 46 U.S. states now allow drivers to show proof of insurance on an electronic device. Nearly three-quarters of provinces allow consumers to receive all their insurance documents electronically.  The OACP’s Traffic Committee has noted that there are several operational challenges with the need for motorist to provide their smart device to a police officer for inspection. The key to realizing paperless auto insurance slips is a direct link for all Ontario police agencies to a central repository of all insurance provider information.  We believe this is not a significant ask nor should it be difficult to operationalize.
  • Another significant change in the transportation world is the elimination of Validation Tags.  The OACP remains adamantly opposed to getting rid of Val Tags.  It is our understanding that the Ministry of Transportation has decided to delay the inevitable elimination until the fall.
  • The 2018 Ontario Police Memorial Ceremony of Remembrance will be held Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. All Chiefs of Police/OPP Commissioner should have received a letter from Rondi Craig, President of the Ontario Police Memorial Foundation, outlining details about the memorial.
  • The federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, announced $30 million to provide increased mental health support for public safety personnel, especially women on the front-lines. Over five years, $20 million will support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and CIPSRT to focus on post-traumatic stress injuries. A further $10 million has been earmarked over five years for Public Safety Canada to work with CIPSRT to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy pilot program. Additionally, $21 million is being provided to bolster mental health support systems throughout the RCMP.  The funding for the force is in addition to an $8.9-million contract the federal government awarded to the University of Regina in December to cover the first three years of a research study that will look at the impact of stress on RCMP officers.
  • The Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s second annual justice system report card, released on March 5, 2018, found that Canada’s justice system has seen a slight drop in crime rates and a boost in legal aid funding relative to a year ago, but these improvements have been overshadowed by an increase in costs, lengthier court delays and the persistent over-representation of Indigenous people in prison. The 2017 analysis dubbed Ontario the most improved jurisdiction after it rose to fourth place from seventh, while Quebec and British Columbia each dropped two rankings.
  • The final regulations related to retail and distribution of Cannabis (provincial Cannabis Act, 2017 and the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017) are now available on Ontario’s e-laws website and can be accessed here:
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