Canada: Looking Backwards … To Get To The Future

Spring 2019: Another New and Young Workers' Blitz
Last Updated: April 29 2019
Article by David S. Reiter

Spring is finally here, and businesses in the industrial sector have started to turn, or will soon be turning, their attention to their student hiring processes.

For many students, the jobs they get this summer will be their first introduction to the workforce. As a result, they tend to make up a particularly vulnerable group that needs to be trained and supervised in a meaningful way. If a business forgets this, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) will undoubtedly remind them when it starts running its new and young worker blitz from May 1 to August 30, 2019.

Importantly, this blitz has been conducted annually for at least the past three years, and there are lessons that businesses can learn from the results. We have therefore set out below a summary of some of the key takeaways from these past blitzes, as well as some pointers on how businesses can prepare for this year's upcoming blitz.

What is a Blitz?

To begin, it's useful to understand what a new and young worker blitz is. Generally, it involves MOL provincial officers attending, typically unannounced, at industrial sector workplaces, including, but not limited to, retail establishments, restaurants, plants and tourism, hospitality and recreation facilities. Once they are there, the MOL officers inspect the workplace to confirm compliance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations. They do that by using the powers that the OHSA gives them such as the authority (i) to require the production of documents, (ii) to require that tests be conducted, or (iii) to interview managers, supervisors and other workers.

The MOL runs these inspections on a zero-tolerance basis. If it identifies concerns or deficiencies, it issues Orders. Orders can make a business do something specific, or they can shut an entire operation down. While an Order can be appealed, a business has to demonstrate that worker safety would not be jeopardized if the Order is suspended pending the appeal. In most cases, this will be an uphill battle. That makes it all the more important that inspections get passed in the first place.

What Are Key Takeaways From Past Blitzes?

In performing the new and young workers' blitz over the course of the past three years, the MOL has visited an increasing number of workplaces and issued a significant number of Orders. Three years ago, 905 work places were visited and 1144 Orders were issued. Last year, 1901 workplaces were visited and 7675 Orders were issued. It's of note that it doesn't look like the upward trend will change any time soon. The MOL recently put out a call to hire 30 new inspectors.

What can a business learn from these past blitzes?

The primary lesson lies in the fact that the types of Orders that have been issued in the past three years have remained relatively consistent. Throughout that time, inspectors have tended to focus on relatively simple housekeeping tasks which help to prevent accidents and injury. Having said that, because they're relatively simple, if a company fails to address them, it usually sets off alarm bells in inspectors' minds and helps to undermine any confidence that the MOL may have had in the business. At the end of the day, these types of failures tend to cause inspectors to suspect that there may be bigger problems at the workplace.

To avoid starting off on a wrong foot during an inspection, we recommend that businesses pay particular attention to the relatively straightforward housekeeping matters that we know the MOL will ask about. These include (i) the failure to post copies of explanatory material in the workplace (i.e. copies of the OHSA); (ii) the failure to ensure that workplace violence and harassment policies are reviewed, updated and implemented; (iii) the failure to conduct monthly health and safety inspections; and (iv) the failure to maintain equipment in good condition by performing preventative maintenance or repairs. Each of these deficiencies can be easily addressed by using and following up on checklists. As well, given that these are usually the first things that the MOL looks for during an inspection, if businesses have addressed them, it helps with making a good first impression, which in turn sets a productive tone. To be as blunt as possible, it's an opportunity that can be seized upon with relative ease, and it's one that shouldn't be missed.

What's New for the 2019 Initiative?

The MOL has made a slight change to the way it will be approaching its new and young workers' blitz in 2019. Instead of just running straight inspections, the MOL will also be working with health and safety associations to raise awareness and provide resources, training and education to businesses that work with new and young workers. It will be doing this in partnership with Workplace Safety and Prevention Services and Workplace Safety North from May 1 to August 30, 2019.

How Can Businesses Prepare for the 2019 Blitz?

The lessons of the past can help provide us with a window to the future. In the case of new and young workers' blitzes, businesses should, at the very least, be taking the following five steps to prepare for the upcoming inspections:

1.         Appoint a competent person (the CP) to take charge of the new and young worker program. This person should be familiar with the new workers who are being hired for the season, with the training that they will need, and with the programs and resources that the MOL and its partners are making available that relate to these workers.

2.         The CP should be looking to the past new and young workers' blitz inspection results to get an idea of what areas they need to focus on, and what lessons they can learn from past infractions.[1] This information should be used to identify any shortcomings that there may be in the company's practices and to develop any necessary practices, processes or training programs.

3.         The CP should make sure that simple housekeeping points are addressed. For example, if material has to be posted, it should be posted (i.e. see s.25(2)(i) and (k) of the OHSA). If training has to be provided, it should be provided, and the related records should be maintained (i.e. O.Reg 297/13). When facility inspections need to be performed, they should be performed, and the associated records should be kept (i.e. see ss.8(6) and 9(23) OHSA). If equipment maintenance is required (i.e. annual service or repairs), it should be performed so that equipment is kept in a state of good repair (i.e. s. 25(1)(b) OHSA). Finally, Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies should be reviewed, updated and implemented, including the delivery of appropriate training (i.e. ss.32.01-32.0.8 OHSA).

4.         The CP should ensure that responsible supervisors are appointed, and he or she should be liaising with them throughout the summer. These supervisors need to ensure that the new and young workers are following their training, and that if the workers have any concerns or issues, those are communicated back up to the CP for prompt follow up and action.

5.         The CP should also be trained on how to deal with the MOL on inspections. The CP should know what records are available and where they are kept (i.e., training or maintenance records, etc.). He or she should also know with what processes the new and young workers are working, and where the related procedures are kept. If the CP has this information, he or she will be able to answer any questions the MOL inspector is likely to ask during a new and young worker blitz.

As well, the CP should also be acquainted with MOL inspectors' powers under the OHSA so that he or she can promptly and responsibly address any questions that may be asked and comply with any appropriate directions that may be given.

If these five steps are followed, the business will end up making a strong first impression, both on form and substance. In turn, this will inspire the MOL to have confidence in the company and its operations, which should result in a smooth and successful inspection.

Footnote 

[1] Copies of those results are found at https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/blitzes/blitz_report79.php; https://www.ontario.ca/page/inspection-blitz-results-new-and-young-workers-2017; and https://www.ontario.ca/page/inspection-initiative-results-new-and-young-workers-2018

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions