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Newsletter – MAY 2023

Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers Program: An Opportunity for Leaders in Occupational Health and Safety

The Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program, administered by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) under the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, is a voluntary initiative aimed at promoting workplace health and safety while reducing injuries and illnesses. The program consists of two parts: 
  1. the accreditation of an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) and 
  2. the recognition of employers who have successfully implemented an accredited OHSMS and meet additional criteria set by the CPO. 


Employers recognized by the CPO may be eligible for financial incentives from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). For employers who qualify, this program may:
  • lower worker’s compensation premiums
  • help retain the best workers
  • lower lost-time injury and illness rates
  • attract more business opportunities through a good safety reputation

It’s important to note that the program does not impact the enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development. Ministry inspectors will continue to conduct proactive inspections based on risk and enforce the OHSA and its regulations at workplaces, regardless of their recognition under the program.

Learn more


Performance Management in Union and Non-Union Workplaces


New Regulatory Changes in Ontario’s Construction Industry Coming into Force on July 1, 2023

    The Ontario government has recently announced significant regulatory changes specifically tailored for the construction sector. These changes focus on two key areas: personal protective clothing and equipment, and toilet, urinal, and clean-up facilities. We have prepared a concise and informative article that breaks down these new regulations, providing you with a quick read to stay up-to-date. If you have any questions or need further clarification on these regulations, our knowledgeable HR advisors and account managers are here to assist! Contact our account manager team at to connect with us. Stay informed and ensure compliance with these important updates!



    Saskatchewan Passes Amendments to Occupational Health and Safety Provisions

    The province of Saskatchewan has approved amendments to its occupational health and safety provisions to provide better support for workers. The changes, which took effect on May 17, 2023, aim to enhance workplace health and safety and reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. The amendments include several key provisions:


      1. Expanded Coverage: The definition of a worker has been clarified to include secondary and post-secondary students, ensuring that they are protected under Part III of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
      2. Harassment Investigation: Employers now have a clear duty and responsibility to investigate incidents of harassment in the workplace.
      3. Enhanced Authority: Occupational health officers now have the power to take photos and recordings during workplace inspections, strengthening their ability to enforce safety regulations.
      4. Conflict Resolution: Officers are now authorized to exclude individuals from investigation interviews if there is a perceived conflict. The person being interviewed can then nominate another person to attend the interview on their behalf.
      5. General Amendments: The legislation has been updated with housekeeping and general amendments to ensure its relevance and alignment with other legislative requirements.

        Additionally, starting from May 2024, employers will be required to have a violence policy in place, which will extend to students, volunteers, and contract workers. The policy will mandate the investigation of all incidents of violence in the workplace. These changes aim to foster a strong workplace culture of health and safety in Saskatchewan.

    Saskatchewan Named Canada’s Top Mining Investment Jurisdiction

    The Fraser Institute, an independent Canadian think-tank, has named Saskatchewan as Canada’s top jurisdiction for mining investment in 2022. The annual survey assesses mining and exploration globally, considering factors such as mineral resources and public policies such as taxation and regulatory certainty. Saskatchewan ranked third worldwide, with Nevada and Western Australia taking the top two spots.

    This marks Saskatchewan’s fifth appearance in the global top three over the past six years. The survey, conducted electronically, involved over 1,900 participants. Other top-ranking jurisdictions included Newfoundland & Labrador, Colorado, Northern Territory (Australia), Arizona, Quebec, South Australia, and Botswana. Ontario ranked 12th globally and fourth in Canada. The survey also included a Policy Perception Index, which evaluated environmental regulations, legal requirements, taxation, land claim disputes, labour regulations, and political stability.


    Manitoba Provides Millions in Funding for Recruiting and Retaining Newcomers

    The province of Manitoba has announced funding of $4 million to support newcomer service provider organizations as part of their pandemic recovery efforts.
    The investment, funded by the Newcomer Community Integration Support program, aims to help retain new immigrants in the province. The funding will be used to offer tailored employability workshops, computer literacy training, and work placements to immigrant families. 



    Alberta’s Labour Mobility Act Takes Effect

    Alberta’s new legislation aimed at facilitating the process for skilled and certified professional workers from across Canada to work in the province has come into effect. The Labour Mobility Act, introduced in 2021, simplifies the documentation requirements, allowing out-of-province workers to obtain a registration decision in a timely manner. This enables them to enter Alberta’s labour force quickly and fill job vacancies. Previously, processing times for out-of-province applicants could take up to 149 days, but under the new legislation, regulatory bodies must make registration decisions within 20 business days after receiving a complete application. 

    The streamlined process applies to over 100 regulated occupations in Alberta, including optometrists, lawyers, and engineers. The new law is expected to attract around 20,000 additional workers and contribute to diversifying sectors in the province.

    Minimum Wage Increases to $16.75 Per Hour on June 1

    Starting from June 1, 2023, British Columbia’s lowest-paid workers will receive a pay raise as the general minimum wage increases from $15.65 to $16.75 per hour. The 6.9% increase aligns with the province’s average annual inflation rate in 2022 and reflects the government’s commitment to tying minimum wage adjustments to inflation.
    This raise will also apply to wages for residential caretakers, live-in home-support workers, camp leaders, and piece rates for 15 hand-harvested crops. Approximately 150,000 workers, including essential workers such as food service staff, grocery store workers, and retail workers, will benefit from this increase. 


    The government’s gradual and regular increases to the minimum wage aim to provide stability for workers and predictability for businesses. Over the years, British Columbia’s minimum wage has risen from one of the lowest in the country to one of the highest, as the rate was $10.45 per hour in 2015


    Ontario Expanding Safety Training and Resources to Keep Workers Safe

    The Ontario government is investing an additional $12.5 million in Ontario’s health and safety associations, which provide safety training and resources to businesses and workers in the province. This funding will support organizations like Workplace Safety North, which played a role in the successful rescue of 39 trapped miners in Sudbury in 2021. The investment aims to enhance worker safety in critical industries such as manufacturing and forestry.

    The government has introduced legislation to increase fines for occupational health and safety violations, and they will continue to invest in education, prevention, and enforcement to protect workers.
    These recent developments build upon the worker protections introduced by the government through the Working for Workers Act, 2023. This act proposes new health and safety safeguards, including fines for withholding passports, improved protections for remote workers during mass terminations, and the provision of women’s-only washrooms on construction sites.

    Updated Working at Heights Training Standards

    Ontario’s Working at Heights Training Provider Standard is undergoing changes that will take effect on April 1, 2024. Until that date, the current training programs will remain valid. Workers who have already received working at heights training will not be affected, and the requirements for refresher training will stay the same. 
    The updated standard includes several key changes including:
    • an enhanced ladder section
    • increased participant awareness of the hazards associated with skylights
    • more participant engagement and interactive learning
    • demonstration and use of more types of personal protective equipment and damaged equipment
    • accommodation of different body types
    • inclusion of anti-racist practices in the learning environment

    A record of all changes to the standards is available on Ontario’s Regulatory Registry.


    Employing Remote Workers: Legal Considerations and Practical Tips for Canadian Businesses

    Discover the Essential Guide to Employing Remote Workers in Canada! In our latest blog post, we delve into the legal considerations and practical tips that Canadian employers need to know when embracing remote work. 

    With remote work becoming increasingly popular, it’s crucial for businesses to navigate the complexities of worker classification, establish effective policies, and ensure compliance with employment standards and occupational health and safety regulations.Learn about the key factors to consider before hiring remote employees, the differences between employees and independent contractors, and the potential consequences of misclassifications. Don’t miss out on this insightful resource.


    What is the maximum amount of severance pay required to be paid under the ESA of Ontario?

    • 28 Weeks 43% 43%
    • 26 Weeks 29% 29%
    • 18 Weeks 8% 8%
    • Others (comment below) 20% 20%


    What is the most difficult part of letting an employee go?

    • Breaking the news
    • Drafting documents
    • Navigating termination laws
    • Others (comment below)

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    Managing Partner,Bird Fuels

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