Alert: Ontario CPO and MOL Announce Reform’s Next Steps

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On Dec. 16. 2011, the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) George Gritziotis and the Minister of Labour (MOL) announced the next steps in Ontario’s reform process. Here are the highlights.

Reprisals

The MOL released a new draft OHS regulation that would prescribe the functions of the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) and the Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) with respect to reprisal complaints by workers. Specifically:

  • The OWA’s proposed functions would include educating, advising and representing non-union workers filing a reprisal complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board; and
  • The OEA’s proposed functions would include educating, advising and representing small employers—those with fewer than 50 employees—in responding to a reprisal complaint.

Stakeholders may provide written comments through Jan. 31, 2012. The government will consider written submissions in preparing the final regulation.

Awareness Poster & Resources

The MOL has released a safety awareness poster explaining workplace parties’ basic rights and responsibilities under the OHS Act in various languages. Display of the poster at worksites may later become mandatory, after a period of notice.

The ministry has also released a health and safety awareness workbook for workers and an employer guide to the health and safety program for workers.

Stakeholders may submit comments on the poster, workbook and/or guide to the CPO directly by emailing PreventionFeedback@ontario.ca or by completing the online questionnaire. Feedback is due by Feb. 17, 2012.

Prevention Council

Members of a permanent Prevention Council will soon be appointed. The Council will include representatives of business and labour and other health and safety experts.

In addition, the Minister plans to appoint two new minister’s advisory (“Section 21”) committees in 2012, one for small businesses and another for vulnerable workers. And preparations are under way for moving responsibility for funding and monitoring the health and safety associations from the WSIB to the MOL so that prevention activities can be better coordinated.

So what do you think of these next steps? Are they what you expected or did you expect more dramatic changes out of the gate? Will you be submitting comments on the proposed regulation and awareness resources?

Go to the Ontario OHS Reform Compliance Center to stay on top of the latest developments.