Canada: Examen portant sur l'évolution des milieux de travail de l'Ontario : le rapport intérimaire est publié

Le 27 juillet 2016, le Rapport intérimaire sur l'Examen portant sur l'évolution des milieux de travail de l'Ontario a été publié. Ce rapport donne le coup d'envoi de la prochaine étape des mesures que le ministère du Travail déploie pour moderniser les lois de l'Ontario en matière de travail et d'emploi. Les auteurs du Rapport intérimaire sollicitent également l'avis du public — dont celui des employeurs — dans le cadre du processus de consultation lié à l'examen. Les observations concernant le congé d'urgence personnelle doivent être soumises au plus tard le 31 août 2016, et toutes les autres observations au plus tard le 14 octobre 2016.

L'Examen portant sur l'évolution des milieux de travail peut se traduire par la recommandation de modifications importantes dans les lois en matière de travail et d'emploi en Ontario, aussi les employeurs sont-ils encouragés à faire des suggestions. À ce jour, ce sont principalement les travailleurs, les syndicats et autres défenseurs des droits des travailleurs qui ont communiqué des observations.

Contexte

Annoncé dans le discours du Trône de 2014 et dirigé par les conseillers spéciaux C. Michael Mitchell et John C. Murray, l'Examen portant sur l'évolution des milieux de travail est le premier examen exhaustif de la Loi de 2000 sur les normes d'emploi (la « LNE ») et de la Loi de 1995 sur les relations de travail (la « LRT ») de l'Ontario. Il vise précisément la nature changeante des milieux de travail de l'Ontario et entend moderniser les lois de la province en conséquence. Le ministère du Travail examine ces changements à la lumière de l'évolution de l'économie, des données démographiques, des styles de vie, des technologies et des tendances dans le domaine du droit du travail et de l'emploi. L'examen cible spécifiquement les recommandations en faveur de la modification de la LNE et de la LRT, ainsi que de leurs règlements respectifs.

Rapport intérimaire

Le Rapport intérimaire — de plus de 300 pages et accessible ici — passe en revue les conclusions que les conseillers spéciaux tirent à ce jour des observations faites dans le cadre des consultations publiques. Ces conclusions font état des commentaires sur la façon dont la LNE et la LRT pourraient être modifiées de manière à accroître les protections offertes aux « travailleurs vulnérables occupant des emplois précaires » et à prévoir des mesures de soutien pour les entreprises et les employeurs.

Le Rapport intérimaire ne renferme aucune proposition ni recommandation; les propositions et recommandations figureront dans le Rapport final et pourront être adoptées, le cas échéant, par le gouvernement par voie législative. Le Rapport intérimaire vise plutôt à « renseigner les Ontariens sur les questions qui ont été soulevées et sur les options de changement que l'on [...] demande [aux conseillers spéciaux] d'évaluer ». Il a également pour but de susciter d'autres commentaires ciblés de la part des parties concernées.

De façon générale, le Rapport intérimaire est rigoureux, impartial et empreint d'une grande réflexion. Il répertorie environ 50 questions et chacune de ses sections comporte une liste d'options — plus de 225 au total — qui sont le fruit des suggestions faites dans le cadre du processus de consultation, qui sont nombreuses, créatives et parfois contradictoires, et qui prévoient presque toujours la possibilité de maintenir le statu quo.

Les suggestions présentées dans le Rapport intérimaire reflètent une tendance sans surprise : en règle générale, les employeurs souhaiteraient avoir une plus grande marge de manSuvre pour diriger leur entreprise, tandis que les salariés et leurs défenseurs aimeraient plus de mesures de protection et moins d'obstacles à la syndicalisation. Les intervenants ont également souligné le fait que la LNE est trop complexe et difficile à comprendre et à appliquer.

Ont également été soulevées des préoccupations particulières concernant, entre autres choses, le congé d'urgence personnelle et son impact sur l'absentéisme; le pouvoir discrétionnaire important des employeurs pour ce qui est de décider des quarts de travail des salariés; et l'absence de moyens efficaces pour faire respecter la LNE. Les auteurs du Rapport intérimaire indiquent aussi que, même si tous les employeurs souhaitaient le maintien du statu quo pour ce qui touche la LNE, d'autres parties à la consultation voulaient des changements qui, en fin de compte, favoriseraient une augmentation du taux de syndicalisation (comme l'assouplissement des procédures d'accréditation et le durcissement des sanctions imposées aux employeurs en cas d'inconduite de leur part).

Observations

Bien qu'ils aient reçu plus de 300 observations écrites et entendu les avis de plus de 200 intervenants au cours des 12 jours de consultation publique, les auteurs du Rapport intérimaire sollicitent d'autres avis auprès des parties concernées. D'après les avis qu'ils ont reçus et les options qu'on leur a suggérées, il semble que ce sont les travailleurs et leurs défenseurs (comme les syndicats) qui ont été les plus loquaces dans leurs commentaires. Les auteurs du Rapport intérimaire veulent s'assurer que tous les intervenants — c'est-à-dire les employeurs – aient la possibilité de donner leur avis sur certaines modifications possibles avant de faire des recommandations finales susceptibles de bouleverser la façon dont ceux-ci dirigent leurs entreprises.

L'Examen portant sur l'évolution des milieux de travail peut considérablement, voire totalement, modifier la législation ontarienne en matière de travail et d'emploi. Les employeurs sont encouragés à soumettre leur avis sur le Rapport intérimaire en communiquant avec le ministère du Travail, par courriel, courrier ou télécopieur. La date butoir pour soumettre des observations sur le congé d'urgence personnelle est le 31 août 2016. Les observations sur d'autres points devront être soumises au plus tard le 14 octobre 2016.

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