COCA Newsletter – October 2019
Amendments To Clarify Temp Stairs Regulation
Amendments effective January 1, 2020 will clarify requirements for temporary stairs in the Construction Projects Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The changes will:
- Clarify where temporary stairs should start and end (i.e. clearly requiring temporary stairs in underground levels).
- Exempt an additional specific situation where the installation of temporary stairs may not be possible (i.e. where formwork or falsework is erected to a suspended slab).
- For more information, read the amending regulation: ·O.Reg. 327/19, which amends O. Reg. 213/91 – Construction Projects.
Should you have any questions or concerns please direct them to WebHSpolicy@ontario.ca.
Finance Minister Announces Date of Fall Economic Statement
In a luncheon keynote to a Canadian Club audience in downtown Toronto, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Rod Phillips revealed the following:
- the Fall Economic Statement (FES) will be delivered on November 6th; the FES often takes the form of a mini budget and introduces a number of new government initiatives
- the government is not backtracking on its commitment to balance the budget by 2023; the next Ontario general election is scheduled for June 2022
- the 2018-19 deficit has been revised downward from $15B to $7.4B
Court Rules Government Didn’t Follow the Law
In a 2-1 split decision, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that our government did not follow the law when it scrapped the cap-and-trade carbon pricing system that had been put in place by the former Liberal government.
Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights requires the government to consult with the public on such matters for a period of at least 30 days. In contravention with this requirement, the government held no such consultation.
In its ruling, however, the court was forgiving. The court did not see the dumping of cap-and-trade as an act of bad faith but rather as the initiative of a newly elected, inexperienced government living up to a campaign promise. So the government will suffer no consequences for its mistake.
Summary of Government Course Corrections and Reversals
A recent article summarizing the the cuts and program changes the Ford government has backtracked on was published by the Canadian Press on October 3, 2019. The full article can be accessed at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/doug-ford-ontario-cuts-backtrack-1.5308060
Latest Statistics Canada Jobs Report
Here’s the key data:
- Canada’s economy added 54,000 jobs in September; most of the gains were in full time employment
- The unemployment rate dropped from 5.7% to 5.5%
- Employment increased 2.4% from this time last year with 456,000 more jobs
- The average hourly wage increased by 1.7% from $27.66 to $28.13
- 41,000 new jobs, mostly full time, we created in Ontario
Information About OLP Leadership Process
The Ontario Liberal Party will elect its next leader, to succeed Kathleen Wynne and interim leader John Fraser, through a delegated convention to be held on the weekend of March 6-8, 2020 at The International Centre in Mississauga.
- October 3, 2019: Official Call of the 2020 Leadership Convention
- January 8, 2020: Notice of Local Election Meeting (LEM) locations sent out to riding members by this date
- January 17, 2020: Deadline to submit intent to stand forms in order to run to be a delegate at a LEM
- February 8-9, 2020: LEMs held across Ontario
- February 13, 2020: Registration for Leadership Convention opens on ontarioliberal.ca
- February 21, 2020: Deadline for early-bird registration fee for Leadership Convention
- March 6-8, 2020 Ontario Liberal Leadership Convention, International centre, Mississauga, Ontario
How Delegates Are Elected
Each constituency association shall elect sixteen (16) delegates to the Leadership Convention:
- four (4) shall be women over the age of 25;
- four (4) shall be men over the age of 25;
- four (4) shall be 25 years of age or less, of whom at least one shall be a man and at least one shall be a woman.
Each Ontario Young Liberal Student Club recognized by the Executive Council shall elect eight (8) delegates to the Leadership Convention
- at least three (3) shall be men
- at least three (3) shall be women
Each Women’s Liberal Club recognized by the Executive Council shall elect one (1) delegate to the Leadership Convention
OLP rules also provide for a long list of ex-officio delegates that include MPs, MPPs and certain party officials.
Government Strikes Last Minute Agreement With Education Support Workers and Avoids Strike – Terms of the Deal
At around 9:00 pm on the evening of Sunday, October 6th, three hours before the strike deadline, representatives of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE, representing 55,000 school support workers in Ontario), the province’s school boards and the government of Ontario reached a tentative collective agreement. The agreement still has to be ratified by the union’s membership. Here are the terms of the collective agreement:
- 3-year deal expires August 31, 2022
- It was rumoured that the government wanted a four-year agreement
- Some time prior to the agreement being struck, Premier Ford had stated that the new agreement would not expire immediately before the commencement of a school year; this objective was not met
- Compensation will increase by 1% each year
- The government has vowed to hold pay increases in the broader public sector to 1%. Holding pay increases to 1% is a win for the government
- Sick leave provisions remain the same as in the previous contract, 11 sick days at 100% pay and 120 days short term leave at 90% pay
- Sick leave seemed to be a major point of disagreement and the government seemed intent getting reduced sick leave provisions
- School boards across the province will have the ability to request a doctor’s note for short term leave, considered a win for the government
Unless there is a major change such as a significant decline in student enrollment, change in economic circumstances or a significant change to funding, CUPE’s 55,000 jobs remain secure for the life of the agreement
The government will spend up to $20M in each year of the agreement on 300 full time equivalent CUPE jobs across the province
The government agreed to continue to fund $58.3M per year to help restore 1,000 CUPE jobs, a one-time provision put in place by the former government in the 2017 contract extension. These funds are principally for educational assistants to aid students with special needs.
Toronto and Ontario Government Negotiate Subway Plan
In April the government of Ontario announced that it would build a new subway line between Ontario Place, under downtown Toronto, to the Ontario Science Centre. The new rapid transit project was dubbed “The Ontario Line”.
This project drew significant criticism because it was designed to replace the long planned and already Council approved Downtown Relief Line. Two months later, in June, the government of Ontario passed legislation that would allow for the Province to take over the ownership of Toronto’s subway system.
Needless to say, there was strong opposition to this move. So more recently it has been reported that negotiations are ongoing between the City and the Province that would see the government of Ontario backtrack on its subway takeover plans and the City of Toronto agreeing to forego its preferred Downtown Relief Line and support the Ontario Line.
Federal Conservative Leader Promises to Fund GTA Transit
During a campaign stop in Thornhill on October 8th, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer pledged to fund two major GTA transit projects if his party is elected to form the next federal government. The projects are:
- The scarcely detailed and controversial 15 km Ontario line which runs under downtown Toronto between Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre. The Ontario Line was proposed by the Ford government in the place of the long planned and Council approved Downtown Relief Line; the Ontario Line is estimated to cost $11B
- The 7.4 km extension of Line 1 (the Yonge Line) between Finch Station and Richmond Hill: the Yonge Line extension is estimated to cost $5.6B
The Province has committed one-third of the cost for these projects.
2019 Year in Review… And what to expect in 2020
Date: December 4, 2019 @ 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Speakers: Connie Cheung, Matthew P. Badrov
Venue: Mississauga Convention Centre – 75 Derry Road West, Mississauga
RSVP: Friday November 22, 2019
2019 ushered in many important changes to the employment and labour landscape in Ontario and across Canada. Join us as we discuss how these changes impact employers, and proactive steps to minimize the negative effects. Topics include:
- Bill 66 amendments to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000.
- Changes to the federal Canada Labour Code.
Harassment in the Workplace
- Can an employee launch a stand-alone lawsuit for harassment? What does this mean for employers?
- “Forum shopping” and the potential for multiple claims at the same time.
Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace
- Cannabis legalization- where do we stand?
- Trends in “addiction” case law.
Trends in Employment Agreements
- New case law on the enforceability of termination provisions.
- The perils of a fixed term agreement.
Upcoming Inspection Blitzes
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Eye on ICI Economic Update
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