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Ministry of Labour

Preparing for interactions with the MOL: Workplace visits

How do we prepare for a visit form a MOL inspector? The easiest and best way is to be prepared for the visit. Employers can no longer simply go merrily along and not put in place plans and programs to ensure the safety of all their employees. Remember, it is not “if and Inspector will walk through the door, It is when”. It will happen!

 

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Busting myths about employments standards: What employers need to know about overtime and vacation

When it comes to employment standards legislation, employers must remember that just because an employee agrees to something, that does not make it lawful. More importantly, parties cannot contract out of employment standards requirements, and employers that breach employment standards legislation expose themselves to significant risk, even if the employee in question appears to have acquiesced. This often arises when it comes to overtime or vacation.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: employment agreements that are signed after employees start work; how employers can prepare for the CPP expansion; Ontario Ministry of Labour’s interim report on the current labour and employment law framework.

 

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Employer risk 101 – Ministry enforcement of the ESA

If you are reading an employment law blog you already know that employers have legal obligations under the Ontario Employment Standards Act. The top five violations for the fiscal year 2014/2015, as compiled by the Ministry of Labour, were with respect to…

 

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After the accident: Pitfalls to avoid for employers after workplace accidents #learnthelatest

The obligations on employers, constructors and other workplace stakeholders once a workplace accident occurs are heavy. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) requires that these parties take positive actions immediately from the time that an accident occurs. These actions can have important implications for later legal proceedings. Failing to comply with these obligations is itself a breach of the Act and can lead to legal liability distinct from and in addition to any liability flowing from the accident.

 

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Commission sales employees: Two common errors to avoid

In the course of practice, employers have repeatedly made two fundamental mistakes when it comes to provision of commission pay: 1) not properly providing for vacation pay in the calculation of commission payments; and 2) failing to ensure commission payments comply with minimum wage requirements. While employer errors of this kind may be innocent or unintentional, significant financial liability can accrue as a result.

 

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Swing N Scaff Inc. and company director fined a total of $400,000 in deaths of four workers

Last January, I wrote about fatalities at work, and in particular, the Metron Construction and Swartz decisions. Since then, there has been some developments.

 

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From the desk of the HR manager: Spring cleaning – Performing an HR audit

As spring is upon us, it is an appropriate time of the year for an organization to perform an audit of its human resources process. HR audits ensure regulatory and organizational policy compliance, while proactively pursuing internal efficiencies and excellence. Regular and systematic audits demonstrate due-diligence to regulatory bodies (e.g. Ministry of Labour) and promote a proactive, preventative approach to HR issues, subsequently reducing risk and liabilities.

 

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Let’s review: AODA public feedback now open

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) aims to make the province of Ontario fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Since the AODA became law in 2005, Ontario has established accessibility standards for customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and the built environment: design of public spaces. There are currently two separate reviews of Ontario’s accessibility laws underway:

 

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Private member’s bill would curtail unpaid internships

Opposition MPP Jonah Schein has introduced a private member’s bill to place stricter limits on unpaid internships in Ontario. Bill 170, Employment Standards Amendment Act (Greater Protection for Interns and Vulnerable Workers), 2014, doesn’t seek to eliminate unpaid internships entirely, but rather hopes to make employers more accountable and give interns (and students) more legal clout.

 

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It’s time to re-examine your health and safety training

The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (O. Reg. 297/13), will come into effect on July 1, 2014, allowing workplace parties time to prepare. This blog post will provide you with more information about this regulation, an overview of your new training obligations, and identify a number of resources that you can use to assist you in becoming compliant.

 

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Following an OHSA order is not a mitigating factor in sentencing

At trial, the employer was convicted of two offences under the OHSA and fined $25,000 for each offence. In determining the sentence, the Justice of the Peace (JP) noted that although the maximum fine for each offence was $500,000, the employer was not a particularly large operation, the injury was not particularly grave, nor did the accident occur as a result of the wilful disregard of a known hazard. The JP also acknowledged that the employer had taken steps “to establish a safe working environment” prior to the accident occurring.

 

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Court of Appeal says that compliance with an inspector’s order should not mean a smaller fine

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The Ontario Court of Appeal, in Ontario (Labour) v. Flex-N-Gate Canada Company, has overturned a lower Court finding found that an employer should be “rewarded” with a lower fine if it complied with an Order from a Ministry of Labour Inspector to make safety improvements after an accident.

 

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Fatalities at work: are they leading to stiffer consequences?

In the 2012 Metron Construction and Swartz decisions concerning the deaths of four workers and serious injury of a fifth worker, the Ontario Court of Justice imposed substantial fines but no jail time for the company’s president under either provincial or federal legislation. More recently, however, in R. v. Roofing Medics Ltd., which involved the fatality of one worker, the court did impose jail time on the owner of the company. Employers should take note. It’s not yet clear if the Roofing Medics case will influence future decisions, but the Ontario Court of Justice has at least shown that it is willing to impose jail time on employers that do not comply with health and safety legislation.

 

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OLRB upholds MOL finding that a vehicle is a “workplace” for the purposes of the OHSA

In a recent decision Hydro One Networks Inc. v. Thisdelle 2013 CanLii 67867, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) has upheld the decision of a Ministry of Labour Inspector (“MOL Inspector”) to issue a ticket against a Hydro One transportation and utility vehicle on the basis that the vehicle in and of itself constituted a “workplace” and therefore fell within the jurisdiction of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). This decision gives a broad definition to “workplace” and no doubt means that other vehicles will fall within the jurisdiction of the OHSA.

 

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