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[HR] Bill 66, The Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act Introduced In Parliament

On December 6th, 2018, Todd Smith, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, announced the introduction of Bill 66, The Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018 – with over 30 actions to “make it easier for businesses to create jobs — and for people to find them”.  The Bill, if passed, will, in conjunction with Bill 47, The Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018,  reduce “certain regulatory changes, eliminate red tape and burdensome regulations” so businesses can grow, create and protect good jobs.

Some of the changes that have potential to impact business are:

For the Ministry of Labour

  • It would amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) to reduce regulatory burden on businesses, including no longer requiring them to obtain approval from the Director of Employment Standards for excess hours of work and overtime averaging.
  • These proposed changes would eliminate the requirement for employers to apply for Ministry of Labour approval for excess weekly hours of work and overtime averaging. It would retain these requirements for employee-written agreements. These changes would set four weeks as the maximum time that an employer could average an employee’s hours of work for the purposes of determining overtime pay. This would make companies more competitive by giving them more flexibility to manage shifts.
  • Stop requiring employers to post the ESA poster in the workplace but retain the requirement that they provide the poster to employees. Employers are already required to give each employee a copy of the most recent version of the ESA poster, in addition to posting it in the workplace. The proposed change eliminates the duplication for employers of having to do both.
  • For regulations affecting assembly lines, add a new, targeted exemption from guardrail requirements for a conveyor and raised platform or a similar system. The Industrial Establishments regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act has recently been amended to add a new, targeted exemption from guardrail requirements for vehicle conveyors and similar systems, and associated raised platforms used with vehicle conveyors or similar systems.
  • The amendment also specifies that other measures and procedures must be developed and implemented to protect workers from the hazard of falling where this new or other existing guardrail exemptions apply. This change reduces regulatory burden for vehicle and vehicle part manufacturers by more closely aligning with regulations in U.S. jurisdictions.
  • Amend Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to allow updated labels to be placed on existing chemical containers. The proposed change would amend WHMIS regulation to allow updated labels to be placed on existing chemical containers. Without this change, existing chemicals would need to be disposed of, and new chemicals would need to be purchased.

For the Ministry of Finance

  • It will stop requiring a new regulation whenever businesses and non-profits merge single-employer pension plans into jointly sponsored pension plans (JSPPs). The proposed change under the Pension Benefits Act would allow private-sector employers to more easily merge their single-employer pension plans with jointly sponsored pension plans. Eliminating the requirement to get government approval would make it easier for employers to reduce pension-plan risk by pooling their plans with other employers.

Stay tuned as we’ll bring you additional updates on this as the bill progresses through provincial parliament.