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Upcoming Ontario employment law related changes

Ottawa_ParliamentOn October 5, 2010, the Ontario government introduced Bill 110, the Good Government Act, 2010, which, if passed, would make amendments to various pieces of legislation including the Employment Standards Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. The changes include general housekeeping measures, as well as some technical improvements and modernization measures.

Specifically, regarding the employment law related measures, schedule 7 of Bill 110 would make the following key changes:

  • Subsection 22 (1) of the overtime provisions under the Employment Standards Act would be amended for terminological consistency by striking out “week” and substituting “work week” to ensure that the overtime rate is calculated as intended, based on excess hours worked in each “work week” as opposed to each “week”. The definition of a work week is critical to the calculation of an employee’s entitlement to overtime pay. A work week is defined as a recurring period of seven consecutive days selected by the employer for the purpose of scheduling work, or if the employer has not selected such a period, a recurring period of seven consecutive days beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday.
  • To eliminate an unintended accident reporting gap under section 52 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, this section would be rewritten. If an accident happens at a project site or mine (whether it causes injury or not), section 53 of the Act requires written notice to a director within two days, “where a notice or report is not required under section 51 or 52”. Section 52 deals with accidents that cause injury but not death or critical injury. However, in some circumstances, a notice may be “required” under section 52 without information being communicated to a director.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act would be amended to reflect the fact that the documents now called “material safety data sheets” (which are required in workplaces where hazardous substances are present) will in future be referred to as “safety data sheets”.
  • Sections 45 and 46 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act would be amended to address when payments for loss of retirement income and compensation for non-economic loss benefit are paid as lump sums or as periodic payments. The worker may select the payment scheme for the benefit from among such schemes and subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed.
  • Under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board shall give a copy of the injury report to the worker and to the employer who employed him or her on the date of the injury. Before giving the employer a copy of the report, the board would notify the worker that it proposes to do so and give him or her an opportunity to object to the disclosure.
  • Subsection 57 (2) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act would be amended to expand the category of persons who are entitled to access to documents when there is an issue in dispute and the worker is deceased.

The Bill includes other minor amendments to clarify or correct references and terminology in the above Acts.

Yosie Saint-Cyr
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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