Check out these laws that came into effect Jan. 1

·3 min read

It wasn't the year to party on New Year’s Eve, but those who've been waiting for certain laws and regulations to come into play have reason to celebrate.

A slew of provincial and federal laws kicked in Jan. 1.

Brunswick News has rounded up some of them and what they might mean for you:

Cash in your super old bills

On Jan. 1, $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 notes will no longer be legal tender. This occurred through amendments to the Bank of Canada Act and the Currency Act, which was actually approved by Parliament in 2018.

If you wish to spend any of these they can be exchanged at your financial institution or you can send them to the Bank of Canada to redeem them, indicating your intentions. Canadians can also keep them, for old times sake.

Check your salary

New pay transparency measures came into play on New Years, but only for federally regulated employers with 100 or more employees.

The measure is a move to address wage gaps - people paid inequitably for doing similar jobs. Transparency of bonuses and hours of overtime worked will also be represented in the data collected, in addition to salaries.

According to Statistics Canada, female employees aged 25 to 53 earned 88 cents to the dollar compared to men in 2019.

In federally regulated private sector workplaces when permanent full-time positions are compared, men were significantly over-represented in positions earning over $100,000 whereas women were significantly over-represented in positions earning under $50,000.

Workplace harassment and violence prevention regulations come into play

The federal regulation applies to all federally regulated industries and workplaces. It will apply to the federally regulated private sector, federal private service and parliamentary workplaces,

The changes are part of Bill C-65.

The new rules mean employees must be informed and trained, incidents of reported harassment must be attended to within seven days and records of every incident need to be reported annually to the Labour Program. Preventative measures, including assessing risks and implementing corrective action, must be in place to ensure situations don’t happen again.

Move over, slow down in New Brunswick

Amendments to the Motor Vehicles Act that kicked in with the new year mean doubled fines, more demerit point penalties for distracted drivers and those who pass school buses when their lights are flashing.

Move over, slow down provisions, which make it mandatory to move over when emergency vehicles with flashing lights are on the side of the road, are also being extended to tow trucks, highway maintenance vehicles and private and public utility vehicles flashing their lights.

The maximum speed is now half the posted speed limit when move over, slow down is in effect.

Off-road vehicle changes in the province

Changes to the Off-Road Vehicle Act are being celebrated by some ATV and snowmobile groups, but not all off-road vehicle users, some of whom will be cut off from using managed ATV trails they have used for years or face fines.

Changes also include requiring users of off-road vehicles with seatbelts to wear them and giving peace officers the authority to ticket a driver of an unregistered vehicle and impound a vehicle for failure to stop.

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal