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Ontario Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Advised on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Tag Archives: Occupational Health and Safety Act

BILL 148 PASSES (but not before a few last-minute changes were made)

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Introduced on June 1, 2017 as a response to the Final Report of the Changing Workplaces Review, Bill 148 makes significant amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, Labour Relations Act, 1995 and most recently, the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As many are aware, aside from the highly publicized $15 Minimum Wage, Bill 148 will require employers to make significant changes to their policies and practices.

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 has now passed Third … Continue Reading

Occupational Health and Safety Legislation and Manslaughter Charges – An Important Reminder for Employers and Supervisors

Posted in Ministry of Labour, Occupational Health and Safety

On October 31, 2016, the Québec Superior Court issued its decision in R v. Fournier, concluding that a business owner’s breach of occupational health and safety legislation supports his committal to trial on a charge of manslaughter under the Criminal Code.

The circumstances leading to this decision began on April 3, 2012, when a worker replacing a sewer line in a trench died due to the collapse of the trench walls.

Mr. Fournier, the owner of the business employing the worker, was personally charged and committed to trial for (1) criminal negligence causing death under section 220(b) of … Continue Reading

New Paid and Unpaid Leaves Proposed for Ontario Employees

Posted in Accommodation, Accommodation, Leaves of Absence, Occupational Health and Safety, Sexual Violence, training

Last month, the Government of Ontario introduced two bills which would provide for new leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 as well as new training obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Leave proposed for grieving parents

On March 8, 2016, the Government introduced Bill 175, Jonathan’s Law (Employee Leave of Absence When Child Dies), 2016. Under Bill 175, an employee who has been employed by his or her employer for at least six consecutive months will be entitled to a leave of absence without pay of up to 52 weeks if a child of the … Continue Reading

Combatting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Formal Measures Required by September 2016

Employers required to have new and updated workplace harassment policies, procedures and training in place by September 8, 2016.

Posted in Investigations, Occupational Health and Safety, Policies, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence

As we wrote about late last year, the Government of Ontario has moved forward with its plan to address sexual violence and harassment. Last week, Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015, received Royal Assent.

While Bill 132 amends various legislation, employers should pay particular attention to the changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act which aim to bolster employee protection from workplace harassment. These changes impose a September 8, 2016 deadline on employers that requires them to address the following:

  • Review (and if necessary, amend)
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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Not just a human rights issue, but safety as well

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Policies

New legislation will require employers to revise their workplace harassment policies, procedures and training by Summer 2016

Earlier this year, we wrote about the Government of Ontario’s plan to address sexual violence and harassment in Ontario.  By way of update, Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015 proceeded to second reading on December 2, 2015. Having only been introduced a month ago, this indicates that the Ontario Government is quickly moving forward with that plan.

Most important for employers are the amendments to the Occupational Health Continue Reading

New Sexual Harassment Laws Coming Soon to the Workplace

Posted in Human Rights, Occupational Health and Safety, Policies

On March 6, 2015, the Ontario Government published its plan aimed at addressing sexual violence and harassment in Ontario.  The document is titled, “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment” (the “Action Plan”).  The Action Plan has a lot to say about a very important subject and I encourage readers to review the entire document.  This post though is limited to the Government’s recommended changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) to deal with workplace sexual harassment.

Employers are already obligated to create a workplace harassment policy and to investigate harassment … Continue Reading

Ontario Government Makes Major Changes to Workplace Laws

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation

Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, has received royal assent and is now the law.  As we have previously reported, this Bill significantly amends workplace laws, including the Employment Sandards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (“WSIA”)

Some of the major changes include:

  • Linking minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index. The Government would publish the new minimum wage arising from the formula by April 1st of each year.
  • Eliminating the $10,000 cap on claims for unpaid
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Ontario Divisional Court Upholds a Worst-Case Scenario Decision from the Human Rights Tribunal

Posted in Human Rights, Termination

Last year, we reported on the notable Human Rights Tribunal decision of Fair v. Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board where the Tribunal ordered the reinstatement, along with over $400,000 in back pay and damages, to an employee despite the employee having been away from the workplace for almost a decade.

When this decision came out, it soon became the benchmark, worst-case scenario, for employers who were found to have failed to properly accommodate an employee.  Not only was the reinstatement order rare and the monetary award uncharacteristically high, but the Hamilton-Wentworth School Board was left to sort out the impending awkwardness … Continue Reading

Ministry of Labour Goes After Unpaid Internships

Posted in Employment Standards, Interns, Wage and Hours

Lately, unpaid interns have been on the Ministry of Labour’s radar.  In June 2013 a policy statement was published which reminded employers that most unpaid internships run afoul of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”).  I wrote about this policy statement in a previous post.

In April 2014, arising out of a few high profile incidents involving the Walrus and Toronto Life magazine, the Ministry announced an enforcement “blitz” meant to determine whether unpaid interns in certain sectors of the economy were truly “interns” and therefore exempt from the ESA.  The results of that “blitz” have now been publishedContinue Reading

Ministry of Labour “Rings Up” $240,000 from Retail Inspection Blitz

Posted in Employment Standards, Investigations, Policies, Wage and Hours

A Ministry of Labour (“Ministry”) inspection is never a pleasant experience for employers. Ministry inspectors have very broad powers to enter the workplace and inspect company documents to ensure compliance with the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) or the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). Sometimes these inspections are random.  Sometimes they are initiated by an employee/union complaint. Most of the time, an employer is not aware or ready for an inspection.

Even though the Ministry has these powers, sometimes even a management lawyer has to give them credit. I say this because recently the Ministry of Labour has been … Continue Reading

Following an OHSA Order is not a Mitigating Factor in Sentencing

Posted in Litigation, Occupational Health and Safety, Policies

A recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal stands for the principle that with respect to sentencing under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), you will not receive any credit for doing something you were ordered to do.

In Ontario (Labour) v. Flex-N-Gate Canada Company, 2014 ONCA 53, the employer was convicted of two offences under the OHSA for failing to properly transport metal sheets with a forklift, which resulted in the injury to a worker’s foot. Following the accident, the Ministry of Labour issued two orders involving the movement of material, which the … Continue Reading

Ontario Government Proposes Major Changes to Workplace Legislation

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Unions, Wage and Hours, Workers Compensation

On December 4, 2013, the Ontario government introduced Bill 146, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2013. Bill 146 implements some of the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission of Ontario that submitted a report on vulnerable workers.

Although the bill has just been introduced, if it passes through the legislature and then receives royal assent, it will have a significant impact on workplace regulation in Ontario. Some of the key proposed changes (which are summarized in detail here) include the following:… Continue Reading

47 Recommendations on Employment Standards and Health and Safety

Posted in Accommodation, Employment Standards, Human Rights, Occupational Health and Safety, Wage and Hours

On April 3, 2013, the Law Reform Commission of Ontario released a report (all 176 pages), Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work: Final Report – December 2012.  The report is, in essence, a policy-heavy document reflecting the Commission’s views on how the Ontario government can better “respond to the challenges faced by vulnerable workers.” The Commission came up with a list of 47 “recommendations” dealing with legislative and policy reform of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

What is striking about the report (and what employers should be concerned about) is that … Continue Reading