The variety and number of different pieces of legislation that govern Ontario workplaces can seem both overwhelming and time consuming for business owners. The checklist below has been put together to help employers. It is a compilation of some of the key requirements that employers must meet and includes links to posters and other free resources. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, and depending on the type of work your company does and the number of employees that are employed, the obligations may be different. Nevertheless this tool will, we hope, help get you started or confirm that you are on the right track. As the legislation is evolving we encourage you to check back regularly and speak with an employment lawyer if you have any questions.
Display and Distribute the Updated Employment Standards Act 2000 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. Employers are also required to provide any new employees with a copy of the poster within thirty days of being hired.
Post a Copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act Poster
The Occupational 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.
Develop a Health and Safety Policy
Employers with six or more employees must prepare and review at least annual a written Occupational Health and Safety Policy and must develop and maintain a program to implement that policy. An example of a Health and Safety Policy is available.
Provide Health and Safety Training
As of July 1, 2014 the Occupational Health and Safety Act also requires employers to provide health and safety awareness training for every workers and supervisor and to document that training. Training program resources are available on line. New Supervisors must receive the health and safety awareness training within seven (7) days of being hired. Employees must receive the training as soon possible after their hire date.
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. The employer must also provide their employees with information and instruction on the contents of the policy and program. A useful resource called “Developing Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies and Programs: A Toolbox“ has been developed to help Ontario employers meet the Act’s requirements and is a great starting point for employers.
Most employers in Ontario are required to register with the WSIB within 10 days of hiring their first full or part-time worker. To learn more about who is covered by WSIB, click here.
- First Aid and Training
- Display a WSIB poster
Employers covered by the WSIB are also required to post the WSIB Poster in a prominent place (if relevant). The poster is available online or can be ordered in by calling 1-800-387-0750.
Comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
All businesses in Ontario have obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. In an effort to assist employers meet their obligations under this Act, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade 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.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission offers a free 20 minute on line course called “Working Together: The Ontario Human Rights Code and the AODA” which completes the training requirements for section 7 of the Integrated Accessibility Standards of the AODA.”
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.
Develop an Emergency Procedures Policy
Protective measures must be in place and available during disasters and the Ontario Ministry of Labour has provided guidance.
Develop a Fire Safety Policy
Additional information on Fire Prevention is available here.
No smoking, no vaping signs for businesses
Owners/employers are required to post enough of the individual (tobacco/e-cigarette) signs OR combined (tobacco and e-cigarette) signs at each entrance, exit and washroom to ensure that employees and the public know that they cannot smoke tobacco or cannabis (medical or recreational) or vape anything there.
Employers or owners (proprietor) of a hotel, motel or inn, must post the individual (tobacco/e-cigarette) signs OR combined (tobacco and e-cigarette) signs in every “non-smoking” or “non-vaping” guest room. Links to the PDFs are available here.
Promote good mental health in the workplace (voluntary, but highly recommended)
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. The Ontario Ministry of Labour also has provided guidance.
Preventing work-related illness and injury in any work place is essential and the non-comprehensive list above should provide you with a good starting point to ensure you are demonstrating to your employees that you take their health and safety seriously.