COVID-19 has changed the way we work, and for many of us, WHERE we work. And it looks like that change may be here to stay. More and more employers have announced that they intend to maintain a remote workforce, at least to some degree. And a recent survey by Robert Half found that 33% of employees would quit their job if they are forced to return to the office. So what does this mean for employers?
In December, Alberta passed a new Occupational Health and Safety Act (the New Act), which will replace the current Act in its entirety. The government has indicated that the New Act will come into force on September 1, 2021, but this is yet to be confirmed with an official proclamation.
Last week, Alberta announced that it will be seeking ideas to improve and update the Occupational Health & Safety Code (OHS Code). This means that there are more changes coming! These changes may include adding certain requirements to the OHS Code, which have been removed from the New Act (see below). If you want to provide input, you can do so through an online survey that is open until May 10, 2021.
In the meantime, Alberta employers will want to start getting ready for the New Act, which covers everything from workplace accidents to health and safety committees to refusing work.
The pandemic has exacerbated many barriers for persons with disabilities. And with employers focusing on COVID-19 health and safety, some may have forgotten about accessibility.
Accessible Standards Canada (ASC) published resources on accessible practices for returning to the workplace. While ASC is charged with developing accessibility standards for federally regulated workplaces, these tips may help any Canadian employer who must ensure a safe and accessible return to the workplace during the pandemic.
Ed. Note: This post has been updated to reflect changing mask requirements.
Across Canada, provinces have instituted a range of mandatory mask orders in response to COVID-19. Now they are required in most Canadian workplaces.
Typically, where masks are required, there are exemptions for children, workers in areas not accessible to the public and able to maintain physical distancing, those with medical conditions preventing them from wearing masks, and situations when masks must be removed (e.g., treatments, services or physical activities requiring removal or identification). Many jurisdictions also have exemptions for courtrooms or proceedings before an administrative tribunal.
Here’s a quick recap of Canada’s mask requirements.
Changes are coming to Canada’s privacy legislation. The federal government introduced new legislation in Bill C-11 that will replace part of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
The new Act will be called the Consumer Privacy Protection Act, and while it is similar to PIPEDA in many ways, there are some significant changes. Those changes include significantly greater penalties for non-compliance with the Act, as well as some new requirements.
These amendments are important to every organization that collects, uses or discloses personal information in the course of commercial activities, and will apply across the country (subject to exemptions for provinces that have substantially similar legislation).
If your business or organization is federally regulated (e.g., banks, airlines, shipping, interprovincial trucking), then you need to get ready for new workplace harassment and violence requirements coming into force on January 1, 2021.
Below is a quick review of what you need to know.
In response to COVID-19, the federal government launched three new Canadian benefit programs, including a paid sick leave, for workers. Below is a quick review of the programs, what they cover and how to apply.
Staying on top of the (almost) daily changes in COVID-19 requirements and guidelines is hard enough, but employers must also think about the privacy issues that go along with their COVID-19 response. Employers must comply with privacy legislation and that means paying attention to how personal information is collected, used and disclosed when an employer implements its COVID-19 response. We’ll talk about some of the key privacy issues to consider.
Ontario extended the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave until January 2, 2021. This has implications for non-unionized employees (and their employers) whose hours of work or wages have been temporarily reduced or eliminated due to COVID-19.
On October 1, 2020 there will be increases to the minimum wage rate in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. Increases to the minimum wage rate have already taken place in British Columbia (increased on June 1, 2020), New Brunswick (increased on April 1, 2020), Nova Scotia (increased on April 1, 2020) and Quebec (increased on May 1, 2020).