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Life jacket bill reintroduced at Queen’s Park

It could soon be mandatory for kids 12 and under to wear life jackets while boating. 

A bill first introduced by former Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller has been reintroduced in the Ontario Legislature.  

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. 

It was reintroduced by Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari and 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. 

In February 2022, the bill, which was originally called 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. 

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Miller didn’t run for reelection and his retirement from politics left the bill in limbo. 

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. 

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 lifejacket for most of the day, Ghamari says hwasn’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 lifejacket while on a boat.  

“I think it’s just a common sense bill,” says Ghamari. 

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