Ontario releases new workers’ compensation policy to aid in claims involving pre-existing conditions

November 09, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Cathy Chandler

Until recently, Ontario was the only jurisdiction in Canada without a specific policy dealing with the effect of pre-existing conditions on claims for workers’ compensation. That has now changed. On November 1, 2014, a new policy of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Pre-Existing Conditions, came into force. The goal of the policy is to provide decision makers with guidance on how to draw the work-related/non-work-related line when it comes to adjudicating compensation claims involving pre-existing conditions. read more…

Insuring long-term disability insurance

October 26, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Richard E. Johnston

In Canada, benefit plans are subject to legislation related to income tax, human rights, and employment standards. However, there is little specific regulation of benefit plans other than pension plans. A key exception is the provision of long-term disability benefits that are not funded under an insurance contract—at least for federally regulated employers such as the banks, airlines, inter-provincial trucking companies, and employers in Ontario. read more…

New occupational health and safety awareness training to be required in Ontario

December 22, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Patrick Gannon

Occupational health and safety legislation in all provinces across Canada places the ultimate responsibility for occupational health and safety on employers. Among other things, Canadian employers have to provide certain information, instruction, and training to workers.

Last month, Ontario took occupational health and safety training to a new level, announcing that Ontario employers will have to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation will take effect on July 1, 2014. It is the first regulation of its kind in North America. read more…

Mood problem or mental disorder? When can employers discipline?

May 12, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Employers in Canada can’t discriminate against employees based on mental disabilities. But the broad interpretation that courts and arbitration boards frequently apply to human rights laws often makes it difficult to know where the boundaries of “mental disability” lie.

In a recent arbitration decision in Ontario, Windsor (City) and WPFFA (Elliot), the arbitrator found that an employee’s mood problems and stress issues weren’t classifiable as mental disorders. He didn’t qualify as having a mental health disability requiring accommodation. read more…

Gender identity and expression now protected in Ontario

May 05, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber and Keri Bennett

Human Rights Tribunals across Canada are constantly expanding the interpretation of prohibited grounds. Ontario has recently joined Manitoba and the Northwest Territories and gone one step further by recognizing gender identity as a prohibited ground. read more…

Homework for Ontario employers: new health and safety awareness training

February 24, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Antonio Di Domenico

Occupational health and safety laws across Canada provide that employers must take certain steps to protect the health and safety of their workers. But none go so far as to make certain health and safety training mandatory. At least not until now. read more…

Employers on their own for compliance with health and safety orders

November 25, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

Employers in many Canadian provinces have often looked to Ministry of Labour inspectors to provide guidance to assist them in complying with their obligations under various occupational health and safety statutes and regulations. Employers often request such advice because they believe that Ministry of Labour inspectors, who visit multiple workplaces and observe many different means of compliance, have useful guidance or recommendations. read more…

Adding Insult to Injury: Canada’s ‘Vexatious’ Harassment Laws

September 11, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Julia Kennedy and Sean McGurran

Bullying isn’t just a problem on the playground anymore. Eventually the bullies grow up and get jobs. Now Canadian employers are seeing more laws dealing with harassment in the workplace.

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More Protections for Disabled Employees Coming

August 08, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber and Michelle Johnston

The Ontario government is leading the Canadian provinces in its push for accessibility for people with disabilities, a ratio that is estimated to rise to one in five people in Canada by 2025.

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Canadian Court Broadly Defines ‘Constructor’ in Safety Case

July 17, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind Cooper

Which party on a construction project is the “constructor”? While some provinces in Canada use this term, other provinces use slightly different terms, such as prime contractor. All are meant to refer to the party at the workplace that has overall responsibility for health and safety on the construction project. It’s generally that party that’s exposed to the greatest legal liability in terms of safety-related incidents.

“Constructor” obligations

For example, under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), constructors have significant obligations. They must ensure that all employers and workers on the project comply with OHSA and the Construction Regulations. The case law has confirmed that constructors will be held to a high standard in meeting those obligations. Therefore many companies go to great lengths to avoid assuming this role on a project.

An Ontario court has recently provided some further guidance on what indicators will be looked at in determining who is a constructor. In the case of R. v. Reid & DeLeye Contractors Ltd., a company was found to be a “constructor,” rather than the construction manager it had contracted to be.


In June of 2005, Reid & DeLeye contracted with a hotel owner to construct a new hotel in Cambridge, Ontario. Reid & DeLeye intended to be the construction manager. The company was responsible for carrying out specific roles during the pre-construction, construction, and post-construction phases of the project.

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