2023 has seen the Province of Ontario pass and announce legislation that has a broad impact on the construction industry as we enter 2024. Some of the changes are already in force, while others will be in force sometime in 2024. Several of the key legislative changes are highlighted below.
Fines for Corporations Violating Health and Safety Regulations Increased
On October 26, 2023, Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023 came into force. As part of this Bill, the maximum fine for corporations found guilty of violating health and safety regulations under the OHSA was increased from $1.5 million to $2 million.
Changes to Mandatory Working at Heights Training Requirements
On April 1, 2024, changes to the Working at Heights Training Program Standard will come into effect. Some of the key changes include:
- Additional learning outcomes on ladders, skylights, and damaged equipment
- Additional required personal protective equipment
- Elimination of duplicative language and learning outcomes
- Enhancement of language to foster more inclusive engagement
The current training programs will remain valid until April 1, 2024. Workers who have valid working at heights training won’t be affected by these changes and refresher requirements will remain unchanged.
Changes to Regulatory Requirements to Improve Crane Safety
In 2021, Ontario announced changes to O.Reg 213/91 (Constructions Projects) under the OHSA and O.Reg 240/21(Notices and Reports Under Sections 51 to 53.1 of the Act-Fatalities, Critical Injuries, Occupational Illnesses and Other Incidents) under the OHSA. These changes included amendments to provisions related to cranes such as adding new design, installation, maintenance, inspection and record keeping requirements along with adding a new requirement for the Ministry of Labour to be notified of a failure to control a crane or load, and for an engineer’s report on the cause of the incident.
Most changes, including the notice requirements, come into force on January 1, 2024. Other requirements that would involve equipment upgrades to comply with the changes come into force in 2025.
Proposed Heat Stress Regulation under OHSA
Currently, under section 25(2)(h) of the OHSA, employers have a general duty to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. In August of this year, the Ministry of Labour proposed a stand-alone heat stress regulation under the OHSA that would contain specific requirements relating to heat stress. Some of these proposed requirements include:
- Introducing heat stress exposure limits based on the ACGIH method
- Provide for the use of other methods to assess a worker’s risk of exposure to heat stress
- Require employers to identify and implement measures and procedures to control heat exposures based on the “hierarchy of controls”, and
- Require employers to provide workers information and instruction on recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and the measures to protect themselves.
Though this proposed change is still in the consultation stage, there is a good chance it will come into force sometime in 2024.
Proposed Working for Workers Four Act, 2023
On November 14, 2023, the Provincial Government tabled Bill 149, the Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. This bill proposes a number of amendments, including requiring employers in public job postings to disclose the expected compensation (or compensation range) of the position. Bill 149 is also proposing to prohibit the use of Canadian work experience as a job requirement in public job postings and associated application forms.
The above are only some of the changes those in the construction industry may see in 2024. It is important to stay up to date with any changes to comply with those changes and the law. Interested in learning more? Contact Andrew Beney at email@example.com
The information contained in this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice, nor does accessing this information create a lawyer-client relationship.
January – February 2024
Andrew Beney, Pavey Law LLP.