Ontario proposes changes to workplace legislation

Ontario has introduced legislation to amend three separate acts affecting workers.

If passed, the Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 would make amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the Fire Prevention and Protection Act and the Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act that would:

  • allow Workplace Safety & Insurance Board survivor benefits to be calculated based on the average earnings, at the time of diagnosis, of the deceased worker’s occupation rather than the current legislated minimum, which will potentially increase the amount of support families receive;
  • prohibit employers from trying to prevent workers reporting workplace injury or illness to the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board by ensuring that they are protected from retribution;
  • increase maximum corporate penalties from $100,000 to $500,000 for conviction of an offence under the Workplace Safety & Insurance Act, such as knowingly making a false or misleading statement to the board or willfully failing to inform the board of a material change in circumstance within 10 days;
  • help reduce the potential for disruption and delay for workers in the broader public sector when there are changes to bargaining units following events such as amalgamations or restructurings; and
  • provide more dispute resolution tools for the professional fire services sector by allowing labour relations disputes to be heard by the Ontario Labour Relations Board as opposed to the Ontario Courts.

“Our government is committed to advancing safe, fair and respectful workplace practices,” says Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn. “That’s why I’ve proposed these changes, which will, if they become law, provide increased fairness to workers across Ontario by strengthening protections in legislation.”

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