A Quick Guide for Employers on Workplace Legal Obligations

 In Employment Law
Employers have many items on their To Do Lists - these 8 are important legal obligations. Photo: iStockphoto.com/SparkleArt

These 8 important legal obligations should be on every employer’s to-do list. Photo: iStockphoto.com/SparkleArt

In addition to reaching sales goals, managing expenses, marketing, and a myriad of other obligations, business owners have a number of legal obligations that they must meet in respect of the workplace.  Recognizing that time and resources are at a premium, we have put together a list of some of the key statutory obligations, along with free tools designed to assist Ontario employers meet those obligations. Depending on the type of work your company does, and the number of employees you employ you may have additional or different obligations but the following are good building block resources for Ontario employers.

1:  Employers need to put up the Employment Standards Act poster

All employers covered by the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) in the province (excluding the Crown) must display this poster in the employer’s workplace where it is likely to be seen by employees. To find more information about this free poster, titled “What You Should Know About the Ontario Employment Standards Act“, you can visit the Ministry of Labour website here.

2:  Employers need to post a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Ontario Health and Safety Act is Ontario’s law that governs health and safety in the workplace and establishes legal duties and minimum responsibilities for employers, supervisors and workers.  Employers are required to post a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in a prominent place

3:  Employers must have a Harassment and Violence in the Workplace Policy

The Occupational Health and Safety Act also requires all employers in Ontario to have a Harassment and Violence in the Workplace Policy.

4: Employers must provide employees with proper training and protective equipment

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act requires employers to provide specific first aid equipment and training for your workers.

5: Employers must put up the WSIB Poster   

Employers are also required to post the WSIB Poster in a prominent place.  The poster is available online or can be ordered in by calling 1-800-387-0750.

6: Employers must comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 

As of 2012 all businesses in Ontario have new obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.  In an effort to assist employers meet their obligations under this Act, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment has put together a reporting tool which is designed to help employers know what they need to do to help them comply Ontario’s accessibility law.

7: Employers must have a Privacy Plan

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) requires organizations to take reasonable steps to safeguard the personal information in their custody or control from such risks as unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or destruction. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has prepared an online tool to assist small and medium sized business develop a Privacy Plan as well as a self-assessment tool for organizations to evaluate how securely they protect individuals personal information.

8 (Voluntary): Employers should promote good mental health in the workplace

Described as a world first and entirely voluntary, the Mental Health Commission of Canada launched the National Standard, designed to help employers of all sizes, and in all sectors, promote good mental health and prevent psychological harm for every employee. It does this by providing the guidelines, resources and tools needed to build a mentally healthy workplace.

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