On November 14, 2017, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 177, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures) 2017. The omnibus Bill proposes to amend 45 separate statutes. On November 30, 2017, the Bill passed second reading and is now before the standing committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Most notably from the standpoint of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), Schedule 30 of the Bill seeks to implement, among other smaller amendments, often discussed and long awaited changes to the allowable maximum fines under the OHSA. Under section 66, the OHSA currently provides for a maximum fine upon conviction … Continue Reading
Navigating the complexities of workplace harassment is a challenging process for employers. It often requires the allocation of considerable time and resources to investigate complaints and has the potential to result in significant costs to an organization if it is required to defend its actions or response to litigation.
With the changes to the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) under Bill 132 that come into effect on September 8, 2016, workplace harassment will continue to be a top priority for employers.
What has changed with Bill 132?
- As we have outlined in a previous post, Bill 132 expands
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
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)
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
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
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
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 published… Continue Reading
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
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
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
The Ontario Government has introduced a regulation to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that would mandate that employers provide health and safety awareness training to all workers and supervisors effective July 1, 2014.… Continue Reading
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