What’s New | September 2016 Issue #76
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Ontario will raise the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on Oct. 1, 2016. Minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also increase at the same time.
Ontario is conducting a review of the changing nature of the workplace. An Interim Report has been released with a range of options to amend the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and the Employment Standards Act, 2000 to better protect workers while supporting business in today’s economy. The review’s Special Advisors, Michael Mitchell and former Justice John Murray, are seeking submissions on the options in the report. Just a reminder that the deadline for submissions is October 14, 2016.
Ontario has appointed David N. Corbett as the new Chair of the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT).
Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), includes several amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to enhance employer responsibilities with respect to harassment that occurs in the workplace, including sexual harassment. These amendments came into effect September 8. The ministry has developed new resources to help workplaces comply with the new requirements.
Every year, the ministry develops enforcement plans that focus on hazards specific to workplaces in various sectors of the economy. The ministry has released the plans for the health care, construction and mining sectors, and for its specialized and professional services. The industrial sector plan will be posted shortly. These plans outline program priorities and what inspectors look for during an inspection.
The ministry’s Research Opportunities Program invests in research and knowledge projects that focus on the priorities of the occupational health and safety system. The ministry is now accepting applications for the upcoming year.
Ontario is helping to protect vulnerable workers with an employment standards inspection blitz this fall. In September and October, the Ministry of Labour’s employment standards officers are conducting a blitz focusing on repeat violators and will be taking a zero tolerance approach towards any violation of the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Repeat violations are one indicator of intentional or wilful non-compliance. The ministry is focusing primarily on sectors with a high rate of precarious employment and other sectors with repeat violators.
Safety hazards can arise in the use of haulage trucks, loaders, load haul dump machines, locomotives and other vehicles for material tramming. Past incidents involving such equipment have resulted in worker injuries and deaths, as well as property damage. In September and October, the ministry is conducting an inspection blitz at surface and underground mines in Ontario. Ministry inspectors are focusing on hazards that can arise when moving material by truck, rail or other equipment.
A worker in the meat department of a grocery store was injured recently while processing meat using a meat mixer and grinder machine. The worker opened the lid of the machine while it was still running and reached inside. The worker’s arm became entangled with the moving parts. Learn to protect your workers from the hazard of moving parts found in meat mixers and grinders.
Most Ontarians who are covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) are entitled to a minimum of nine public holidays with public holiday pay – including Thanksgiving Day. Employees who are entitled to take public holidays off work may work on those days if they agree in writing. Please note that some employees may work in jobs that are exempt from public holiday provisions in the ESA.
As part of Global Ergonomics Month, the Ministry of Labour, along with its occupational health and safety system partners, will raise awareness of ergonomics and musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) hazards. Organize your own events or participate in the many events, webinars or training sessions held around the province. Also, visit the ministry’s website for resources on how to prevent MSDs.
October is Healthy Workplace Month in Canada! This month challenges participants to improve their workplace through activities and other best practices to promote healthy bodies, minds and corporate culture. Learn about ways to make your workplace a healthier place to work.
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What’s New is published by the Ministry of Labour