A bill first introduced by former Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller has been reintroduced in the Ontario Legislature.
In February 2022, Bill 76, the Lifejackets for Life Act, passed second reading at Queen’s Park, meaning it was only a few steps away from becoming law. However, it didn’t go any further as the provincial election was just months later.
At the time, Norm Miller was the MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. However, after over two decades in politics, he chose to retire. His retirement left the bill in limbo.
Conservative MPP for Carleton Goldie Ghamari was one of the many people Miller spoke to about the bill. She recently brought it back in hopes it becomes law in time for the summer boating season.
The bill, now called Bill 93, Josha’s Law (Lifejackets for Life) will, if passed, make it mandatory for children 12 and under to wear a life jacket while on a pleasure boat. Anyone convicted could face a fine of up to $200.
Since it wasn’t passed prior to the election, Ghamari explains it had to be reintroduced. It passed second reading on Tuesday. It still needs to be read and debated a third time before it can receive Royal Assent and become law.
Miller, who joined Ghamari at Queen’s Park Tuesday, says most of the people he speaks to about the bill say they thought it was already law. “That’s the reaction you get from most people you talk to,” adds Miller. “It can save lives.”
Ghamari says she was inspired to reintroduce the bill because of Cara McNulty, one of her constituents. She explains McNulty lost her 11-year-old son in a boating accident. While he had been wearing a life jacket for most of the day, Ghamari says he wasn’t wearing one when the boat he was in was involved in an accident. As a result of her son’s death, McNulty has been a strong advocate for making it law that all children must wear a life jacket while on a boat.
“I think it’s just a common sense bill,” says Ghamari.
Miller says he’s hopeful the bill gets passed before the summer boating season.
“If there is one retirement gift I can get for Norm, it’s to make sure his last private member’s bill is passed and introduced into law,” says Ghamari.
With files from Martin Halek