Bill 18 – Changes to workplace laws and what those changes mean for health care organizations

Bill 18, Stronger Workplaces for Stronger Economy Act, 2014 received Royal Assent on November 20, 2014. It amends many workplace laws including the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (”OHSA”) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”).

These changes become effective on various dates as set out below.

 Minimum Wage

  1. The minimum wage will increase annually based on the Ontario Consumer Price Index. Notice of the increase will be announced each year on April 1; effective on October 1 of the same year. The first increase from $11.00 to $11.25 is effective October 1, 2015.

TO DO: If you have staff who are paid at the minimum wage or whose wages are tied to the minimum wage, notify your human resource personnel to monitor the changes annually and let your accounting department know.

 

Claims for Unpaid Wages

  1. Effective February 20, 2015, the $10,000 limit on unpaid wage claims is eliminated.  Employees can now claim for any amount. Employees also have 2 years to make a claim; an increase over the prior 6 month time frame.

TO DO: No action necessary.

 

ESA Poster

  1. Employers must provide a copy of the ESA poster to:
  • current employees by June 30, 2015
  • new employees within 30 days of becoming an employee (after May 30, 2015).

Effective May 20, 2015, an employer must inquire whether the Ministry has prepared a translation of the poster into another language if an employee makes a request.

TO DO: Notify your human resource personnel to download and save the ESA Poster, which can be found at http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pdf/poster.pdf .  Add to your orientation package for new employees and make sure to distribute to all existing employees before June 30th.

 

ESA Self-Audit

  1. Effective May 20, 2015, employers may be required by an Employment Standards Officer to conduct a self-audit to ensure compliance with the ESA. Employers will be required to correct any deficiencies uncovered by the audit.

TO DO: Consider doing a proactive self-audit of your ESA compliance. Contact Maria McDonald for assistance.

 

Temporary Agency Employees

  1. Effective November 20, 2015, employers who use temporary agencies may be held responsible for temporary employees’ unpaid wages, overtime pay or public holiday pay if the temporary agency fails to pay. Employers must also keep records of the hours worked by any temporary employee for 3 years.

TO DO: If you use temporary agency staff, notify your human resource personnel of this change.

 

Unpaid interns

  1. Effective November 20, 2015, unpaid workers or interns (specifically high school students under an approved work experience program, college/university interns or co-op students on an approved college/university program and other unpaid trainees) who provide work or perform services are considered workers under the OHSA.   As such, these unpaid workers must receive mandatory violence/harassment program instruction and basic awareness health and safety training. It is unclear whether this applies to volunteers.

TO DO: If you use unpaid workers or interns, notify your human resource personnel of this change. Initiate a plan to ensure your     unpaid workers and interns receive the necessary training.

 

Future Possible Changes to WSIA

  1. Bill 18 allows the government to make future changes to hold employers responsible for accidents to temporary employees.  The accident costs could be attributed to the employer instead of the temporary agency; thereby increasing the employer client’s premium costs.  This provision is not in effect at this point as the government is further considering the issue.

TO DO: No action necessary.

 

Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009 (“EPFNA)

  1. Effective November 20, 2015, the EPFNA will apply to all foreign nationals working in Ontario pursuant to an immigration or foreign temporary employee program and not just to “Live-in Caregivers and Others”.

TO DO: If you employ foreign nationals as staff, notify your human resource personnel to review these provisions carefully.

 

Open Periods for Decertification under the Labour Relations Act

  1. Effective May 30, 2015, the open period for decertification or a displacement application in the Construction sector has been decreased from 3 months to 2 months.

TO DO: No action necessary.

 

Please contact Maria McDonald, Senior Human Resources Counsel, if you have any questions about how these changes will impact your organization.

416.967.7100 ext.228

mmcdonald@ddohealthlaw.com

 

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.

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.

Paramedics will not become the next regulated health profession in Ontario

Introduction

In a two-volume report entitled Paramedicine in Ontario: Consideration of the Application for the Regulation of Paramedics under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 released on March 10, 2014, the Health Professions Regulatory Advisory Council (HPRAC) recommended to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) that paramedics in Ontario not be regulated under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA). HPRAC is the provincial body whose role it is to assess applications for health profession regulation under the RHPA against certain criteria and make recommendations to the MOHLTC. Read More

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