What Bill 160 Means for You as an Employer

The amended legislation gives powers to, in this case, two newly created positions of Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) and the Prevention Council. These new positions will provide them and the Ministry of Labour (MOL) the power to enact certain rules, programs and training standards with little to no involvement from any other party. The role of the WSIB seems to be changing with this new amendment. Yes, they will still provide funding, however it seems they will have less of an opportunity to direct how this funding is used.

The MOL now has the power to establish standards for safe workplace associations, medical clinics or training centres specializing in OHS matters and to designate entities that meet those standards

The MOL also has the authority to approve codes of practice for OHS requirements and to specify that compliance with the code of practice is compliant with the corresponding requirement.

Two distinct sections of the amendment will have a direct impact to employers.

Bill 160 & Health and Safety Representative Training

Currently, if you regularly employ 6 to 19 workers in your organization, a worker health and safety representative is required, however training is not.

The amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act will now require employers and constructors to ensure that health and safety representatives are formally trained in their health and safety responsibilities as outlined in this section. Formal training will allow these representatives to properly carry out their duties and exercise their powers. Employers must pay the representatives while attending the training.

Bill 160’s Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Recommendations

Currently, recommendations made to the employer for the improvement of the health and safety of the workers requires a consensus from both the worker and management co-chairs of the Joint Health and Safety Committee.

The amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act will now allow either co-chair to submit a written recommendation to the employer if a consensus cannot be reached.

Your JHSC will have to be educated as to this new requirement.

There are two riders to the above that must be considered:

  1. These provisions come into force on the earlier of April 1, 2012 and a day to be named by the Lieutenant Governor.
  2. There is a transition period defined in Clause 4, which states that a person who is already certified under the existing WSIB scheme at the time the new act comes into force is deemed to be certified under the new rules. In other words if you take the Part 1 and 2 Training now, you will be OK.

Finally, within Bill 160 there are new rules which protect employees against reprisals. Section 50 of the Act now permits inspectors to refer a reprisal claim to the Ontario Labour Relations Board if the worker consents and the claim has not been resolved through arbitration or a complaint to the Board.

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