Employers must post newest version of the Employment Standards Act

Employers are required under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 to display the most recent version of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) poster “What You Should Know About the Ontario Employment Standards Act“, in at least one conspicuous location in the workplace.

In June, 2014 the MOL published a new version of the Employment Standards Poster (version 5.0). All workplaces are required to remove the former version and replace it with version 5.0. The poster must be printed on legal size (8 ½” x 14”) paper and in color or black and white.

The poster is free and available online.

Set out below is a summary of other workplace posting requirements for Ontario employers

The Occupational Health and Safety Act

Employers must post:

  1. A copy of their Occupational Health and Safety Policy. A good example of a health and safety policy can be found on the Ministry of Labour’s Website.
  2. A copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Employers can obtain a free copy of the Act or purchase a copy of it at ServiceOntario Publications for $8.00.
  3. Their workplace violence and harassment policies (in a workplace that has five or more employees).
  4. The names of joint health and safety committee members and their work locations (in a workplace that has 20 more employees regularly employed).
  5. As of October 1, 2012 – the poster “Health & Safety at Work – Prevention Starts Here

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

The “In case of Injury—1234poster must be prominently displayed in every workplace covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

The poster is provided free of charge to employers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

Smoke-Free Ontario Act

All employers are required to post No Smoking signs at all entrances, exits, washrooms and other enclosed work locations in order to ensure that everyone knows that smoking is prohibited. No Smoking signs can be obtained from your local public health unit in your area. Click here to find your local public health unit.

For further information please contact our Senior Human Resources Counsel, Maria McDonald at 416.967.7100 x228 or mm@ddohealthlaw.com.

Three new statutory leaves of absence under the Ontario Employment Standards Act

On October 29, 2014, three additional unpaid leaves of absence are available to employees covered by the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”):

  1. Family caregiver leave,
  2. Critically-ill child care leave, and
  3. Crime-related child death or disappearance leave.

These leaves are in addition to leave entitlements that may arise under certain other ESA provisions.

Highlights of the new leaves are outlined below:

Family Caregiver Leave (s. 49.3)

Immediately upon employment employees are entitled to up to eight weeks unpaid leave (which need not be taken in full weeks) to provide care or support to certain family members with a serious medical condition.  The employer may require a medical certificate from a physician, registered nurse or psychologist.

  • “Serious medical condition” is not defined other than that it includes “chronic” or “episodic” conditions. There is no reference to a significant risk of death. The lack of definition leaves this open to a broad range of medical conditions.
  • This leave only applies to:
  • Note that up to eight weeks per calendar year may be taken for each listed individual with a serious medical condition.
    • Employee’s spouse;
    • Parent, step-parent or foster parent of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
    • Child, step-child or foster child of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
    • Grandparent, step-grandparent, grandchild or step-grandchild of the employee or the employee’s spouse;
    • Spouse of a child of the employee;
    • Employee’s brother or sister;
    • Relative of the employee who is dependent on the employee for care or assistance; and
    • Any other individual prescribed as a “family member”.

Critical Illness of a Child Leave (s. 49.4)

Parents of a critically-ill child, step-child, foster child or child under legal guardianship who is under 18 are entitled to up to 37 weeks unpaid leave within a 52-week period. The employer may require a medical certificate.  This leave becomes available following six months of employment and need not be taken in full weeks.

  • “Critically–ill” means the child’s baseline state of health has significantly changed and the child’s life is at risk due to illness or injury.

Crime-related child death and disappearance leave (s. 49.5)

Parents’ are entitled to up to 104 weeks unpaid leave for the death of, and 52 weeks unpaid leave for the disappearance of, a child, step-child or foster child who is under 18 where the death or disappearance is the probable result of a crime. The employer may require reasonable evidence of entitlement to this leave. This leave becomes available following six months of employment and must be taken in a single period.

For further information please contact: Maria McDonald, our Senior Human Resources Counsel, at 416.967.7100 x228 or mm@ddohealthlaw.com.

Mandatory worker and supervisor OHSA training now in effect

As of July 1, 2014, every Ontario employer must ensure its workers and supervisors receive basic OHSA-awareness training “as soon as practicable” under Regulation 297/13 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario) (“OHSA”). The requirements are described more fully in our blog of December 2013.

New workers must receive the training “as soon as practicable” after starting work. Supervisors must receive the training within one week of becoming a supervisor (and must complete both the worker and the supervisor training). Anyone who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation, including physicians and professional staff who are independent contractors, must also do the training.

The Ministry of Labour has provided free downloadable workbooks and online learning modules for both worker and supervisor training here and here.   Employers must keep records of completion of the training.  Upon completion of the online module a certificate of completion is issued.  There is also a record-keeping template for recording who has completed the workbook.

The Ministry of Labour will issue Compliance Orders against an employer who fails to comply with this training regulation and may prosecute any person for an order to comply.  If convicted, an individual faces fines up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months. The maximum fine for a corporation is $500,000.

As a reminder, the OHSA also requires employers to provide workers with Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training and to instruct them on workplace violence and harassment policies.

DDO  is available to assist employers in meeting their OHSA requirements including:

  • developing workplace programs and policies; and
  • providing training to workers.

For further information please contact Maria McDonald, our Senior Human Resources Counsel, at 416.967.7100 x228 or mm@ddohealthlaw.com.

Fine-tuning compensation restraint

On July 8, 2014, the Ontario government introduced Bill 8, Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 (“Bill 8”), including Schedule 1, the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014 (“BPSECA”). Through the introduction of “compensation frameworks”, BPSECA permits tailoring of compensation rules for executives in the broader public service (“BPS”) executives to account for business differences among BPS employers.

Since 2012, BPS executives have experienced a wage freeze under the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 (“BPSAA”). BPS Employers governed by the current BPSAA include:

  • public hospitals;
  • school boards;
  • universities, colleges and other post-secondary institutions;
  • Hydro One and its subsidiaries;
  • Independent Electricity Systems Operator;
  • Ontario Power Authority; and
  • Ontario Power Generation and its subsidiaries

(“BPS Employers”).

Highlights of BPSECA include:

  1. “Compensation frameworks”. BPSAA wage restraints apply equally to all BPA Employers, disregarding important distinctions among them and creating disproportionate impact. For example, a hospital and a power authority face very different challenges, as do small rural hospitals versus large urban ones.  These new “compensation frameworks” can be customized to employer circumstances. For example, a compensation framework could apply to:
  • all hospitals in Ontario,
  • all hospitals in Toronto, or
  • one specific hospital.

Also, compensation frameworks can limit and “provide for” executive compensation. Thus, unlike under BPSAA, executive salaries under BPSECA could actually be increased.

  1. BPSECA applies to community care access corporations as well as existing BPS Employers.
  2. BPSECA affects part-time and temporary BPS executives if their pro-rated annual compensation could reach $100,000.
  3. Any amounts paid to an executive exceeding what is permitted by a compensation framework is a deemed overpayment, recoverable as a debt due from the BPS Employer to the government. The government may collect the debt by reducing the amount of funding to the BPS Employer, or by any remedy available (possibly seizure and sale of property, garnishments, etc.).
  4. Similarly, an overpaid executive owes a debt to the BPS Employer for the overpayment, which the employer can collect by any remedy available.
  5. Under BPSECA, an employer must “endeavour to minimize any impact of the application of [the overpayment] section on its provision of services to the public”.  The ambiguity in this provision has led to speculation that BPS Employers may avoid their reimbursement obligations.
  6. Failing to report or wilfully making a false report is subject to a maximum fine of $5,000.
  7. The government can require BPS Employers to provide executive compensation information, including termination payments despite the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Ontario).

In sum, BPSECA represents a positive step forward with compensation frameworks responsive to the specific circumstances of BPS Employers. To date, BPSECA has only received first reading and is not yet law. DDO will keep you updated on this legislative development.

Please contactMaria McDonald, our Senior Human Resources Counsel, at 416.967.7100 x228 or mm@ddohealthlaw.comfor any questions regarding executive compensation restraint legislation.