Back in 2011, Ontario employers learned that the government had
passed Bill 160, or An Act to amend the Occupational Health and
Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with
respect to occupational health and safety and other matters.
This Bill represented part of a major overhaul of Ontario's
occupational health and safety system. Although the Bill received
royal assent on June 1, 2011, many of the amendments were not
scheduled to come into force until April 1, 2012, or later dates to
be proclaimed. The amendments that came into force on April 1, 2012
include the following:
Section 50 of the OHSA has been amended to permit an inspector
to refer matters involving reprisals to the Ontario Labour
Relations Board (the "Board") where the circumstances
warrant such a referral, the worker consents, and the matter in
question has not been dealt with by way of final and binding
arbitration under a collective agreement or by way of a worker
complaint to the Board.
Section 50 of the OHSA has also been amended to permit the
Office of the Worker Advisor to provide support to non-unionized
workers in respect of reprisal complaints. Similarly, the Office of
the Employer Advisor has been granted permission to provide support
to employers with less than 100 employees (or such other number as
may be prescribed) who are responding to reprisal complaints.
Section 63 of the OHSA has been amended to ensure certain
protections for employees of the Office of the Worker Advisor and
the Office of the Employer Advisor against their compellability as
witnesses in legal proceedings and their obligation to produce the
documentation or information they have gathered while acting within
the scope of their employment.
Section 65 of the OHSA has been amended to include employees of
the Office of the Worker Advisor and the Office of the Employer
Advisor in the list of individuals who have immunity from civil
proceedings where they have exercised their duties or powers under
the OHSA in good faith.
Section 70 of the OHSA has been amended to allow the Lieutenant
Governor of Ontario to make regulations with respect to the
functions of the Office of the Worker Advisor and the Office of the
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