On May 17, 2010, the Ontario government tabled Bill 68, Open for Business Act, 2010. The aim of the Bill is to create a more competitive business climate, while protecting the environment and public interest. Among the over 100 proposed amendments introduced to various pieces of legislation, broadly stated, the upcoming changes would:
- Establish a modern, risk-based approach to environmental approvals, which could save businesses as much as 25 percent of their project application costs.
- Enable faster and more efficient resolution of Employment Standards claims by addressing the current backlog, providing more powers to Employment Standards Officers and encouraging early resolution of disputes between employees and employers.
- Make it easier for professionals, such as internationally trained engineers, to work in Ontario by removing the citizenship requirements for a Professional Engineer Licence.
Of interest to employers, the employment standards program will be modernize to eliminate the backlog of 14,000 employment standards claims within two years by launching a task force in August 2010, implement changes to prevent future backlogs and introduce new online education tools such as the severance decision tool released last week. Thus, making the system more efficient, less expensive and time consuming for businesses by providing earlier notice of alleged employee claims and increasing opportunities for parties to seek settlements.
In a press release, the HRPA stated that they have been working with the Ministry of Labour on these new online interactive tools to help employers and employees better understand Ontario’s employment standards.
“This is a significant step to enhance the efficiency and competitiveness of employers in the province,” said Bill Greenhalgh, CEO of HRPA. “…”Our members and their employers have long called for the government to provide these kinds of education tools that will make it easier for employers to comply with the Employment Standards Act. Education is the key to ensuring compliance which in turn will keep businesses in Ontario competitive in this global economy,” said Greenhalgh.
More information from the government can be found here.
Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor