Coming Into Force on New Year’s Day

On the day after tomorrow, at least 100 amendments to statutes and regulations will come into force in Canada, according to a simple search in CanLII. It’s a hodge-podge of rules, of course — a cross-section, if you will, of life under modern rule-making.

Thus, for instance, B.C. mushroom growers are likely to be happier on January 1, because the regulation obliging them to pay a levy to the Mushroom Industry Development Council is to be repealed on that day. Happier, too, will be Costa Ricans who export to Canada, as tariff rates for certain goods will be reduced by one ninth (on their way to zero a year later).

But not all the news is good. It looks as though the cost of electricity in Yukon is set to begin an annual rise on the first. (By how much, you ask? Well, it’s “based on the latest percentage increase in the 12 month implicit chain price index for gross domestic product at market prices for Canada as reported by Statistics Canada”. Clear?) And plaintiffs in Alberta will be unhappy about the serious drop in the rate of judgment interest on new year’s day, from the munificent annual rate of 2.75% to the nugatory rate of 0.825%.

The environment is getting a break on New Year’s Day, at least in B.C., where you won’t be allowed to fill a fire extinguisher with chlorofluorocarbons anymore, and in PEI, where every public utility will have to start looking for renewable energy sources to make up the 15% of its annual output that is going to be mandated.

And so it goes: myriad changes, mostly small ones, as we adjust the pipes and valves that keep the ship of state chugging forward and pointed into the waves. Break a bottle or two of champers over its bow as it passes by on the first, will you? As old and dowdy as it may be, it’s still a decent vessel that deserves lawyers’ gratitude — and, thankfully, constant attention.


  1. The Ontario government has an internal policy that almost all regulations must come into force either on January 1 or on July 1. This is alleged to be more friendly to business, which otherwise gets confused – though other members of the public, even lawyers,may find this practice convenient. (The Civil Rules Committee has been doing this in practice for several years.) There is a default list of statutes that are presumed to affect business and thus whose regs are caught by the policy.

    There are of course exceptions, and probably (I haven’t read the rule for a while) exceptions to the exceptions. Emergencies would be one…(of the former).

    A brief description is on this page:

    “Starting January 2010, Ontario is also implementing Twice Annual Effective Dates – this means regulations affecting business will only come into effect twice a year on January 1st and July 1st starting in 2010. Introducing regulations on only two days per year will help business plan ahead and encourage greater compliance through increased awareness of regulatory requirements.”