On October 17, 2018, the Ontario government passed Bill 36 - the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018. Among other things, the new legislation enacted the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, which regulates the licensing, operations, and oversight of private cannabis retailers in Ontario.
Tensions between franchise owners and parent companies are not uncommon in business. Such tensions are behind serious franchise law concerns being raised by Tim Hortons franchisees in Ontario and throughout Canada. According to the Great White North Franchisee Association, a franchisee has been denied renewal of his agreement for one of his two Toronto restaurants.
Businesses are often influenced by new laws on a local, provincial and national level. As of April 1, Ontario business owners will have to consider a new business law regarding equal pay for equal work. The legislation enacted at the start of the month includes some labour law changes, including requiring full-time and part-time or casual employees to make the same amount of money for the same work.
Becoming a franchisee is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. One of the best ways to avoid future franchise law issues is by taking the right first steps when identifying, researching and choosing a franchise opportunity. These steps are important for all franchisees in Ontario, whether they are new to the business or they are familiar with the franchise system.
Lawmakers often pass legislation to protect consumers, though sometimes the laws they pass can be controversial to business interests. In Ontario, a new business law prevents door-to-door sales of items, including furnaces, air conditioners, air purifiers, water heaters, water filters and duct cleaning. The government says the legislation is in response to approximately 4,000 complaints from consumers across the province about deceptive door-to-door sales practices related to these products.
The decision to purchase a business is a complicated one. Ontario business people who are considering buying an existing franchise should be aware of franchise law before making this decision. They should also ask four key questions before deciding whether the sale is right for them.
Many employees have questions and concerns regarding the new minimum wage and employee protections. Businesses may also wonder how the government plans to enforce these regulations. In Ottawa, a labour council is taking steps to give employees options if their employer is not abiding by the new regulations.
All Canadian citizens need to keep a close eye on law changes throughout the country. For business owners, it is particularly critical to keep abreast of any changes to Ontario business law. The new year has brought several legislative changes that will affect employers and workers across the province and country.
In a recent case, Hepburn v AlarmForce, 2017 ONSC 6012 ("Hepburn"), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered the circumstances in which a "material change" may trigger the disclosure obligation in a renewal of, or extension to, an existing franchise agreement. The decision also addressed the evidentiary considerations engaged in the context of a motion for summary judgment.
Businesses always need to stay aware of changing legislation which may affect their operations. Ontario owners have a big update coming on January 1, 2018, when minimum wage increases to $14 per hour. The new business law will be accompanied by further labour reforms, including a corporate tax cut for small businesses and an increase in emergency leave entitlements.