Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bill 160 in effect as of April 1, 2012

 BILL 160 (what are you?)

 30.  The short title of this Act is the Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011.

This Explanatory Note was written as a reader’s aid to Bill 160 and does not form part of the law.  Bill 160 has been enacted as Chapter 11 of the Statutes of Ontario, 2011.

The Bill amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.
Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Section 4.1, which specifies the Minister’s responsibility for the administration of the Act and sets out some of the Minister’s powers and duties in administering the Act, is added to Part II of the Act.

The Act is amended to allow the Chief Prevention Officer, appointed under Part II.1 of the Act, to establish standards for training programs and to approve programs that meet the standards.  

The Chief Prevention Officer may also establish standards that a person must meet in order to become an approved training provider and may approve a person who meets the standards as a training provider with respect to one or more approved training programs and may collect information about workers’ successful completion of approved training programs for the purpose of maintaining a record.

Section 7.6, which allows the Chief Prevention Officer to establish training and other requirements that a member of a joint health and safety committee must fulfil in order to become a certified member, is added to the Act.  The Chief Prevention Officer may certify a committee member who meets the requirements.

Section 8 of the Act is amended to require a constructor or employer to ensure that health and safety representatives receive training to enable them to effectively exercise the powers and perform the duties of a representative.

Section 9 of the Act is amended to allow either co-chair of a joint health and safety committee to make written recommendations to a constructor or employer if the committee fails to reach consensus.

The Bill adds Part II.1 (Prevention Council, Chief Prevention Officer and Designated Entities) to the Act.  

Section 22.2 of the Act requires the Minister to establish a Prevention Council responsible for providing advice to the Minister on the appointment of a Chief Prevention Officer and providing advice to the Chief Prevention Officer on occupational health and safety matters.  

Section 22.3 requires the Minister to appoint a Chief Prevention Officer responsible for developing a provincial occupational health and safety strategy, preparing an annual report on occupational health and safety and advising the Minister on occupational health and safety matters.   

Section 22.4 requires that the advice of the Chief Prevention Officer and the position of the Prevention Council be obtained in respect of a proposed change to the funding and delivery of services for the prevention of workplace injuries and occupational diseases if the proposed change would be significant.  

Sections 22.5 to 22.9 allow the Minister to designate an entity as a safe workplace association or as a medical clinic or training centre specializing in occupational health and safety matters if the entity meets the standards established by the Minister.  A designated entity must operate in accordance with the standards and with any other requirements imposed on it, and is eligible for a grant from the Ministry.

Part III.1 of the Act is amended to allow the Minister to approve codes of practice with respect to both statutory and regulatory requirements and specify that compliance with the code is deemed to be compliance with the requirement, subject to any terms or conditions set out by the Minister in the approval.

Section 50 of the Act is amended to allow an inspector to refer a matter to the Board where a worker alleges that his or her employer has violated the prohibition against reprisals and where circumstances warrant.  The matter cannot have been dealt with by final and binding settlement by arbitration under a collective agreement or by the worker filing a complaint with the Board and the worker must consent to the referral.

Section 50.1, which gives the Office of the Worker Adviser and the Office of the Employer Adviser prescribed functions for the purposes of Part VI of the Act, is added to the Act.

Section 63 of the Act is amended so that persons employed in the Office of the Worker Adviser or the Office of the Employer Adviser are not compellable witnesses in a civil suit or any proceeding respecting any information or material furnished to or obtained, made or received by them under the Act while acting within the scope of their employment.

Subsection 70 (2) of the Act is amended to add complementary regulation-making authority.
Provisions relating to the load bearing capacity of structures are updated to remove references to an engineering design method that is no longer current.

Other complementary and transitional amendments are made to the Act.
Amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

Part II (Injury and Disease Prevention) of the Act is repealed.  

The substance of subsection 4 (2) and section 10 of that Part (dealing with payments to constructions workers and first aid requirements that may be set by the Board) is re-enacted elsewhere in the Act.

Section 159 is amended to exempt information sharing agreements between the Board and the Ministry of Labour from the requirement that the agreement be approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

Transition from WSIB to Ministry of Labour

Bill 160 amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act provided for the transfer of several WSIB functions, including the Research Advisory Council, from the WSIB to the Ministry of Labour (MoL). The transition of the research program from the WSIB to the MOL is under way, and the Ministry continues to build capacity. Once the Ministry’s Prevention Council is in place, the Chief Prevention Officer will initiate a review of research priorities.

In the meantime, the WSIB is working closely with the MoL on key transition issues, including the management of the Bridging the Gap competition. The 2012-13 Bridging the Gap application process will follow much the same cycle as in previous years. The key difference is that the authority for final approval of proposals no longer rests with the WSIB Board of Directors, but with the Chief Prevention Officer.

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