RUMOR OF THE WEEK
The Rumour: The government has already drafted OHS reform enabling legislation without any consultation with employers and is just biding its time before releasing its bill.
The Truth—Is It a Done Deal? Theoretically, this could be true. But to believe that the legislation has already been done you’d also have to believe that the Interim Council is nothing more than a charade.
Personally, I find it hard to accept that the men and women who drafted a document as principled as the Dean Report would allow themselves to be manipulated this way. And to what end? How in the world would pretending to draft legislation that’s already been written do anything to further the Commission’s work and objectives? And what would such a cynical and risky ploy do to help the government?
The Truth—Will Employers Be Ignored? But while it’s probably not true that the legislation is a done deal, the thrust of the rumour—that the government is going to ram through legislation without consulting employers—does need to be addressed.
There’s no law requiring the government to submit whatever legislative proposals it comes up with to industry for public comment. But in point of fact, it already has.
Let’s not forget that in preparing its report the Dean Commission conducted 50 public meetings with employer representatives and other stakeholders—in London, Windsor, Ottawa, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Toronto. Submissions from more than 400 stakeholders were received during the 10 months of consultation.
Employers might not be happy with all the recommendations in the Dean Report. But they were consulted in its creation. Getting another turn at bat after the recommendations are crystallized into legislative proposals would be nice; but it’s hard to give too much credence to the “they-didn’t-consult-us” argument if it doesn’t happen.
THEY SAID IT
Notable Dean Quotes
Learning from Our Mistakes
“We can’t go back to the past and try and say what’s right or wrong, but we can look to the future and make changes for people.”
—Fran DeFilippis, widow of worker who died in scaffolding accident 8 years ago
Where’s the Minister?
“If the Minister [of Labour] isn’t there to champion the legislation through the cabinet, that concerns me.”
—Sid Ryan, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour, commenting on the decision of former Labour Minister Peter Fonseca to resign and seek federal office the day after the Dean Commission released its report
Don’t Let Dean Become a Political Football
“The [Dean Commission] process has exited the political realm. . . and any government would be hard pressed to find a reason not to implement that report.”
—David Zurawel, President of the Council of Ontario Construction Assocs., commenting on what he thinks will happen to OHS reform if the Torries win the provincial election in October.