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Posts tagged: Employment Lawyers Toronto

Keeping you Posted on Mandatory Postings in the Workplace

By , November 20, 2018 8:39 am

As an employer, there are several documents that you must post in your workplace. Some postings are mandatory for all workplaces, while others depend on the nature of the business and the hazards present in the workplace.

This blog describes some of these mandatory postings and provides you links to some of these required postings.

Please note that posters that are sold by private companies do not comply with the legal posting requirements, so please make sure that the workplace posters you use are the official and most recent versions.

Employment Standards Act (“ESA”)

All workplaces that are covered by the ESA are required to put up a poster called Employment Standards in Ontario. Developed by the Minister of Labour, this poster provides a high-level summary of employers’ obligations and employees’ rights.

Employers must post the latest version of this poster in an area where it is likely to come to the attention of employees. Further, all employees must be provided with a copy of this poster within 30 days of when they begin working.

Note, this poster is provided in several languages so if English is not the majority language of the workplace, then the poster must also be posted in the majority language –  if made available by the Minister of Labour. Multilingual material can be found on the Ministry of Labour’s website.

Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”)

Employers that are covered by the OHSA must display this poster titled “Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here” on the rights and duties of workers and employers. This poster also includes the contact number of the Ministry of Labour that is to be used for reporting work refusals, critical injuries, and fatalities.

Employers must also post a copy of the OHSA in the workplace. This Act contains safety regulations and outlines employee rights and responsibilities. It can be downloaded for free online here or hard copies can be purchased from ServiceOntario for $8 each.

In addition, under OHSA, employers must place the names and locations of their workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee members in a conspicuous place so that it is easy for employees to find. For example, a good location may be the a lunchroom. A committee is required in each workplace that employs 20 or more workers.

If your workplace has more than 6 regularly employed workers, then you must prepare and post policies on health and safety, workplace violence, and workplace harassment. We can help you develop these policies.

If your workplace has fewer than 6 regular employees workers, then there is no obligation to post the above three policies in writing unless ordered to do so by an inspector.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (“WSIA”)

Employers that are covered by the Workplace Safety Insurance Act must display the “in case of injury” poster that outlines steps workers need to take if there is an injury at work. The link above is to the newest version of the poster, released September 17, 2018. Although there is no date as to when employers must post this version, it is recommended that employers switch to this new version.

Smoke-Free Ontario Act (“SFOA”)

Employers that have an enclosed workplace or other smoke-free and vape-free places mentioned in the SFOA must post enough individual signs regarding tobacco  and e-cigarettes or the combined version of the tobacco and e-cigarette signs. These signs must be placed at every washroom, entrance, and exit to make sure that all are aware that they cannot smoke tobacco or cannabis or vape anything in these areas.

Areas where individuals are prohibited from holding or smoking lighted tobacco, lighted cannabis, using an e-cigarette, or consuming a prescribed substance in a prescribed manner include an enclosed workplace, enclosed public place, a school, a building of the grounds surrounding the building of a private school, a child care centre, and indoor common areas in buildings or university residences. Indoor common areas include, but are not limited to, elevators, hallways, parking garages, entertainment rooms, laundry facilities, and exercise areas. However, there are exemptions listed in the SFOA that allow a person to smoke or hold lighted tobacco or cannabis or an e-cigarette in an indoor room in a residence that also serves as an enclosed workplace if certain conditions are met.

Other Recommended Posters and Information to Have at the Workplace

Employers who use or store hazardous products at their worksites have additional duties under the OHSA such as ensuring that hazardous products are labeled and obtaining material and safety data sheets for hazardous products. For instance, safety data sheets should be made available in the workplace in order to provide training and instruction for workers.

Finally, to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”), employers with 50 or more employees must develop a Customer Service Policy and an Accessibility Plan. This Policy and Plan are to outline what actions the employer is taking to comply with AODA as well as so employees (and others) know what to expect regarding accessibility.

This Policy and Plan can be posted in the workplace or on the employer’s website or in such a place as is reasonable.

Conclusion

You now have the tools to download, print, and post some of the posters that must be posted in your workplace. Others may be required at your workplace.

If you would like more information on posting requirements about your specific workplace, you may contact an employment lawyer at MacLeod Law Firm. You can reach us at [email protected] or 647-204-8107.

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

Employer Alert: Change to WSIA as of January 1, 2018

By , January 15, 2018 11:23 pm

As of January 1, 2018, an employee can claim workers compensation benefits for chronic or traumatic mental stress that is predominantly caused by workplace harassment

In May 2014 I blogged about an administrative tribunal case which concluded that subsections 13 (4) and (5) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) were unconstitutional.

January 1, 2018 Change to WSIA

On January 1, 2018 – almost 4 years later – these subsections were repealed and they were substituted with the  following:

(4) Subject to subsection (5), a worker is entitled to benefits under the insurance plan for chronic or traumatic mental stress arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.

(5) A worker is not entitled to benefits for mental stress caused by decisions or actions of the worker’s employer relating to the worker’s employment, including a decision to change the work to be performed or the working conditions, to discipline the worker or to terminate the employment.

Implications of the Administrative Tribunal Case and the Change to WSIA

As mentioned in my earlier blog, as a result of the administrative tribunal case and the subsequent change to WSIA I believe (i) Employees may start filing workers compensation claims instead of filing for Employment Insurance sickness benefits; and (ii) Employees with chronic or traumatic stress may start asking to return to jobs other than their pre-injury job.

What is Chronic Mental Stress?

The WSIB  has prepared an Operational Policy document (i.e Policy 15-03-14) on chronic mental stress and it was amended on January 2, 2018.  It does not have the force of law but sets out the WSIB’s interpretation on this issue. Of particular interest are the following excerpts from this Policy:

A worker will generally be entitled to benefits for chronic mental stress if an appropriately diagnosed mental stress injury is caused by a “substantial” “work-related stressor”arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.

Workplace harassment will generally be considered a substantial work-related stressor

Workplace harassment occurs when a person or persons, while in the course of the employment, engage in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker, including bullying, that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

Interpersonal conflicts

Interpersonal conflicts between workers and their supervisors, co-workers or customers are generally considered to be a typical feature of normal employment. Consequently, such interpersonal conflicts are not generally considered to be a substantial work-related stressor, unless the conflict:

  • amounts to workplace harassment, or
  • results in conduct that a reasonable person would perceive as egregious or abusive.

Standard of proof and causation

In all cases, the WSIB decision-maker must be satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, that the substantial work-related stressor 

  • arose out of and in the course of the worker’s employment, and
  •  was the predominant cause of an appropriately diagnosed mental stress injury.

For the purposes of this policy, “predominant cause” means that the substantial work-related stressor is the primary or main cause of the mental stress injury—as compared to all of the other individual stressors. Therefore, the substantial work-related stressor can still be considered the predominant cause of the mental stress injury even though it may be outweighed by all of the other stressors, when combined.

Diagnostic requirements

Before any chronic mental stress claim can be adjudicated, there must be a diagnosis in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which may include, but is not limited to,

  • acute stress disorder
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • adjustment disorder, or
  • an anxiety or depressive disorder.

In most cases the WSIB will accept the claim for adjudication if an appropriate regulated health care professional provides the DSM diagnosis. However, in complex cases, for example where there is evidence that a non-work-related stressor(s) may have caused or contributed to the injury, the WSIB decision-maker may require a further assessment, including an assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist, to help clarify initial or ongoing entitlement.

Operation Policy 15-03-02 which was amended January 2, 2018 sets out the WSIB’s interpretation of Traumatic Mental Stress

Relationship between Mental Stress Claims under WSIA and Harassment Allegations under the Occupational Health & Safety Act

Based on the WSIB’s  Policy 15-03-04, one could argue that if a workplace investigator concludes an employee was subject to workplace harassment and the WSIB concludes this harassment was the predominant cause of an appropriately diagnosed mental stress injury then it appears that the employee would be entitled to workers compensation benefits for chronic mental health stress under the WSIA.

As a result of the recent amendments to Section 13 (4) and WSIB Policies 15-03-04 & 15-03-01 I expect there to be an increase in the number of WSIB mental stress claims.

For over 30 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising employers on all aspects of the employment relationship. If you have any questions, you can contact him directly at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

Is Your Organization Compliant with AODA? It Should Be. Here’s Why

By , November 27, 2017 5:29 pm

Did you know that employers with 20 or more employees are required to file a report with the Ontario government confirming they have complied with their obligations under the Accessibility with Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) by December 31, 2017?

Employment Standard

This regulation under AODA applies to all employers. It  requires an employer to comply with at least nine (9) new obligations such as notifying job applicants that, where needed, accommodations for disabilities will be provided, on request.

Employers with 50 or more employees have two additional obligations including the duty to prepare a written individual accommodation plan for every disabled employee who has requested an accommodation for a disability.

Customer Service

This regulation under AODA requires all employers to, among other things, provide customer service training to employees.

An employer with 50 or more employees is required to prepare written customer service accessibility policies.

Multi Year Accessibility Plan

An employer with 50 or more employees is required to  establish, implement, maintain and document a multi-year accessibility plan. This plan outlines the organization’s strategy to prevent and remove barriers and meet its requirements under the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation.

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

Many employers are not aware of their obligations under AODA, and have therefore not complied with them, and do not know about the obligation to inform the Ontario government that they have complied with their obligations under AODA by December 31, 2017.

Fixed Fee AODA Compliance Service

The MacLeod Law Firm has developed a fixed fee service that will get an employer into compliance with AODA before the December 31, 2017 reporting deadline. A description of this service is found here

If you have questions about this service, please contact Nadia Halum at [email protected], or Doug MacLeod at 416 317-9894.

For 30 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising employers on all aspects of the employment relationship. If you have any questions, you can contact him directly at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

Bill C-65: The Federal Government’s Crackdown on Workplace Harassment and Violence

By , November 24, 2017 11:00 am

On the heels of the viral #metoo campaign, the federal government is cracking down on harassment and violence in the workplace. The Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour recently proposed Bill C-65, an Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence).

Federally regulated employers such as banks, telecommunications and transport industries should take note of this proposed law.

The legislation has three main pillars:

  1. Prevention of incidents of harassment and violence
  2. Responding effectively to these incidents when they do occur; and
  3. Supporting victims, survivors and employers in the process.

If Bill C-65 is passed into law, some of the most notable would amendments include:

  1. Inclusion of psychological injuries and illnesses: The Canada Labour Code would specifically recognize “psychological injuries and illnesses”  as an objective of prevention, instead of its current restriction to purely physical injury. 
  2. Prescribed measures against violence and harassment: Although Ontario employers are already required to maintain workplace and harassment policies, federally regulated employers would now be required to take prescribed measures to prevent and protect against harassment and violence in the workplace, respond to occurrences of harassment and violence in the workplace and offer support to employees affected and violence in the workplace
  3. Referral of complaint to the minister:  Complaints of violence or harassment that are not resolved between the employee and supervisor would be referred directly to the Minister. The Minister would be obligated to investigate the complaint unless it believes that the complaint was adequately dealt with or was trivial, frivolous or vexatious.
  4. Repeal of exemption: The existing law allows employers to request an exemption from establishing a workplace health and safety committee where the work is relatively free from risks to health and safety. This exemption would be repealed.
  5. Protection of privacy: The privacy of complainants of workplace harassment or violence would be protected. Workplace committees, policy committees and health and safety representatives would not be permitted to participate in investigations into workplace harassment or violence, and would not be provided with any information that is likely to reveal the identity of a person involved in an investigation, unless an employee provides his/her consent

Lessons for Employers

Whether Bill C-65 is passed into law or not, the three pillars of this bill provide a valuable guide to all federally regulated employers on how to properly approach workplace violence and harassment:  

  1. Prevention: Employers should ensure that there are policies and programs in place to prevent incidents of harassment and violence. Employers can provide educational training to employees on what constitutes harassment and violence in the workplace.
  2. Response: There should be a clear procedure to deal with incidents of workplace harassment or violence should they occur. Examples of effective measures include implementing a system to report incidents and investigating all complaints by employees. An employee should receive training on how to investigate incidents or complaints of workplace harassment and violence so an adequately trained person can investigate complaints internally. This will eliminate the need to hire an external investigator in many cases.
  3. Support : Employees who are victims of harassment or violence should have access to resources that will support their recovery and enable them to continue working in their place of employment without fear of recurring incidents.

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

Everything You Need to Know About Ontario’s Employment Laws

By , September 26, 2017 9:35 am

Now that I have your attention, let me outline three things you need to know.

  1. The Ministry of Labour is devoting considerably more resources to enforcing the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”) and your organization is more likely to be inspected.

Earlier this year, the government announced it was hiring an additional 175 enforcement officers. In addition, I expect amendments to the ESA will be passed this fall by way of Bill 148 which will impose several new obligations on employers.

If your organization is inspected you will be asked, among other things, if you have: posted certain required written policies; provided employees with required training & documentation; posted certain required information in a conspicuous place; and, complied with the new obligations imposed by Bill 148. If not, then the inspector will issue orders and you must comply with these orders. If not, your organization will be subject to significant fines.

Are you ready for an inspection?

  1. About 50% of the complaints that are filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal deal with disability related discrimination. In many cases, an employee claims the employer has failed to accommodate a disability. So chances are you will receive a request for accommodation at some point in time.

Responding to a request for accommodation can be extremely complicated. Failing to do so can be extremely costly.

Did you know that there is a procedural duty to accommodate and a substantive duty to accommodate?

Did you know that in some cases you have a duty to ask an employee if they have a disability?

Did you know that in some cases you have a duty to offer another position to a disabled employee?

Do you know whether or not you can require an employee seeking accommodation to see a doctor of your choosing?

Did you know that some employers are required to prepare a written individual accommodation plan for a disabled employee?

Do you feel comfortable responding to a request for accommodation?

  1. A well drafted employment contract is, in my opinion, the best employment law investment you will ever make. For various reasons it needs to be reviewed periodically.

In an era when the government is taking away management rights, did you know that an employment contract can add to your management rights?

In an era when courts are refusing to enforce termination clauses (and other clauses)  in employment contracts, did you know that you need to periodically review your contract to make sure it doesn’t need to be amended?

When the government imposes new obligations on employers such as the ones that are contained in Bill 148, did you know that you need to review your employment contract to make sure it complies with the ESA? For example, if your contract states that an employee receives two weeks vacation each year then this clause will need to be changed if one section in Bill 148 becomes law this fall.

The MacLeod Law Firm is not in the seminar business. I believe these topics are so important, however, that I am holding a seminar in Toronto on October 16th and in Barrie On October 20th to discuss them.

For more information about the seminar, click here.

For over 25 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising employers on all aspects of the employment relationship. If you have any questions, you can contact him directly at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.

 

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