The omnibus Ontario bill, Bill 174, An Act to enact the Cannabis Act, 2017, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017 and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, to repeal two Acts and to make amendments to the Highway Traffic Act respecting alcohol, drugs and other matters has been referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.
Several days ago, we posted a Summary of what is included in the bill, for your reference.
A motion was put forward for time limits and committee review on November 21st to end the debate on second reading of the bill within parliament. That motion was “carried on division” on November 23rd,
The motion included the following limits:
- The Standing Committee on Justice Policy will hold 3 sessions for public hearing (1 on November 29, 2017, 2 on November 30, 2017)
- Deadline for requests to appear before the committee was November 27th at 10am Eastern
- The Committee makes final decisions on who will present by 2p Eastern on that same day.
- The Agenda will be distributed to the committee by the Clerk by November 28th at 11:30a Eastern.
- Written submissions must be received by the Clerk by November 30th at 6p Eastern.
- Amendments must be filed with the Clerk by December 4th at 2p Eastern.
- Clause-by-clause will be completed on December 7th by 10p Eastern.
- Final report to the House will be no later than December 1th or the report will be deemed passed.
- Third reading will be called on that same day.
The ECTA will be presenting to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on Thursday, November 30th at 2:30p Eastern.
As anyone can clearly see from this timeline, these four, VERY different schedules are being rammed down the throats of Ontario residents:
- Cannabis Act, 2017 – Provisions for newly (to be) legalized recreational cannabis
- Ontario Cannabis retail Corporations Act, 2017 – Established a new lucrative business for the Ontario Government (LCBO style)
- Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 – Replaces the previous Smoke-Free act to treat Vaping and any Cannabis use like Tobacco
- Amendments to the Highway Traffic Act – Tightens laws relating to traffic violations and alcohol or drugs related to traffic violations
Any one of these Schedules could (and should) be fully debated within the House on their own merit.
This is a very dark time for democracy in Ontario.
What to do now…
There is not much time to take action but we recommend that you send in a written submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy. The period for submitting a brief ENDS on November 30th at 6pm Eastern. Written submissions with supporting documents should be sent to the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy:
Room 1405, Whitney Block
Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2
TTY: (416) 325-3538
And you MUST IMMEDIATELY contact your Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for an urgent meeting to discuss this bill. If you are a business owner, the MPP for the district in which your business operates is also a potential contact.
We recommend that you communicate with your MPP using one or more of the following methods (in order of preference for usual effectiveness):
- Schedule a face-to-face meeting and bring supporting materials
- Schedule a telephone call and offer to send supporting materials
- Write a letter and supply supporting materials
- Send an email with supporting materials
And follow-up using the same or other method to see if they have any questions or would like additional information. The more they hear from you, the more likely it is that you will remain on their radar.
These regulations WILL affect your vaping business and/or you, personally.
Ideally, ECTA would like to see Schedule 3 completely removed from Bill 174 and resubmitted as a separate bill, but AFTER consulting with industry stakeholders and using science and facts for the legislation as opposed to ideology as a driving force to prohibition.
There is additional information and consumer action that can be taken from the Vapor Advocates of Ontario. They have a mechanism of emailing your MPP from their website. There have been more than 10,000 sent as of this posting: https://vapingisntsmoking.ca/
Relying solely on ideological Public Health agencies for input using theories and myths has proven to be a public health hazard when it comes to the lives of smokers, their loved ones and vaping products.
Quit or die is no longer the only option to potentially save lives.
Many retailers across the province of Ontario have taken steps to help educate the public on the severity of what Bill 174 means, in it’s current state as it goes to Committee. This one in particular has caught our attention and it is a VERY real and accurate portrayal of the results from the bill as it is worded today:
Silence is consent…