On December 16th, the Ontario Ministry of Labour announced the following:
- The MOL said that it intends to propose a new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that would enable the Office of the Worker Adviser and the Office of the Employer Adviser to provide “support” for workers and small businesses in relation to reprisal complaints under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- The Ontario Labour Relations Board and the MOL have “mapped out” a process for quickly resolving OHSA reprisal complaints brought by workers whose employment has been terminated, including the role of MOL inspectors.
- The MOL has created a poster that explains the basic rights and responsibilities of workplace parties under the OHSA. The MOL said that the poster will soon be available in different languages for consultation with stakeholders. After the poster has been finalized, employers may be legally required to display it in workplaces.
- The MOL has prepared a “health and safety awareness workbook” for workers and an employer guide to the health and safety program for workers. The MOL is also consulting on the workbook and guide.
- The Minister intends to appoint two new minister’s advisory committees in 2012, one for small business and another for vulnerable workers. The creation of these committees suggests that new resources may be coming in future for small businesses and possibly new resources or protections for “vulnerable workers”.
- The transfer of responsibility for funding and monitoring the Health and Safety Associations from the WSIB to the Ministry of Labour is being prepared.
- A permanent Prevention Council will soon be appointed, including representatives of business and labour and other health and safety experts. An interim Prevention Council has been in place since February 2011.
While none of the above could be described as “major” changes, this announcement shows that the MOL and Ontario’s new Chief Prevention Officer will likely be active implementing changes to Ontario’s health and safety enforcement system in the near future. Stay tuned for more updates.