As the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce continues to monitor various pieces of legislation as part of its advocacy mandate, there are several items for which members should be aware.
The Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is one of the organizations the Chamber looks to as a source of expert advice and input on various issues.
The first issue involves Bill C-45, which is set to take effect on October 17. The legislation legalizes the recreational use of marijuana and observers say this could have a dramatic impact on health and safety in your workplace.
The Chamber, through the WSPS, also has its eye on Bill C-65, the federal Harassment and Violence Act, a groundbreaking bill that will have implications for federal workplaces, and Schedule 5 of Ontario Bill 18, which switches responsibility for the costs of injuries to temp workers to the employer.
Bill 174 amendments
Also taking effect on October 17 is an amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (Bill 174) which will prohibit the smoking and ingestion of cannabis in workplaces. This amendment aligns the province with the federal.
Bill 174 requires employers to post signs and notify employees of the act. It also amends the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to prohibit the smoking of cannabis in company vehicles (inside and outside the workplace). This prohibition applies to everyone including employees who have been prescribed medical marijuana.
Those who haven’t already done so are being encouraged to review both the federal and provincial legislation, update your hazard assessments to include the potential for impairment, and create new policies and programs around substance abuse in the workplace
Before the federal government enacts Bill C-65, it is consulting Canadians on the proposed framework. The bill aims to strengthen the law by proposing, among other things, that workplace programs and policies include measures to prevent sexual harassment and violence and recognize the impact of psychological injuries and illness arising from violence and harassment.
The bill is expected to become law in fall 2019.
Schedule 5 of Bill 18
Proclaimed on April 6, 2018, this bill attributes temporary workers’ injury and accident costs—which are currently paid by temporary help agencies—to employers. This could lead to higher or lower WSIB premiums for employers. The bill is not yet in force.
The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will continue to update members on various pieces of legislation as part of its ongoing advocacy role.