Amendments Are on the Way
Sousa began by noting that there are limits on what he can share on legislation being introduced or amendments being prepared for Standing Committee. So he couldn’t provide specific details or the proposed language of the amendments the government’s considering putting forward. But he did acknowledge that the government is working on proposed amendments Bill 160.
Bill 160 Issues to Be Addressed
Here are some of the issues Sousa said he asked MOL officials to work on addressing and his comments on them:
Powers of the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). Sousa asked MOL staff to consider what powers could be transferred from the Minister to the CPO and what advisory powers could be added to expand and enrich the CPO’s role as to accountability and authority to effectively lead and manage the prevention system.
Minister to consult CPO and consider recommendations of the CPO and Prevention Council (PC). “I appreciate and understand the concern and interest you have in the Minister having a statutory duty to consult with the CPO when considering any significant changes to prevention services,” said Sousa. But he didn’t say he thought such a duty was a good idea or that he recommended adding it to Bill 160.
Equal representation on the PC. As to concerns that there be equal representation from all stakeholders on the PC, Sousa merely said that the “government sees the significance of the ongoing role of the PC and the need to find a correct balance in representation.” Again, this response is non-committal and sort of wishy-washy.
Inspectors. The Interim Council raised concerns about the ability of inspectors to provide evidence to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). Sousa has asked the ministry to consider situations where it may be appropriate for an inspector to testify before the OLRB on a reprisal matter.
Sousa also said that he thought some issues didn’t require a legislative solution but are best addressed through discussion or further consultation, including:
- Sousa believes that there are ways to ensure that the PC and CPO are kept apprised of and consulted on significant issues before final decisions are made. But he didn’t commit to the recommended 30 days’ notice requirement.
- The ministry is very receptive to discussing written agreements to ensure clarity with respect to roles, accountabilities, and relationships between the CPO, the PC and between the CPO and the Deputy Minister, particularly once a CPO is in place to lead the dialogue.
- The ministry fully supports establishing and ensuring effective ongoing consultation and discussion by the PC and the CPO with the new committees for small business and vulnerable workers as well as other ways to ensure ongoing engagement.
Talk to Us
So what do you think of Sousa’s response? Anything he said—or didn’t say—surprise you? Tell us in the comment section below.