Compliance Issues for 2015 - Ontario Employers Take Note!

There have been several recent changes in Ontario law that have come into effect, or will soon, that impact amateur sport organizations in Ontario that have paid employees (including most NSOs located in this province).

Employment Standards Act (ESA)

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has prepared and published a poster titled “Employment Standards in Ontario”. The poster sets out the minimum standards for most workplaces in Ontario, and includes details on issues such as Overtime Pay, Minimum Wage, Vacation Time and Pay, Leaves of Absence, and Termination Notice and Pay.

The Ministry has mandated that employers must post the “Employment Standards in Ontario” poster in the workplace where employees are likely to see it, AND provide its employees who are covered under the ESA with a copy of the poster (either electronically or a printed copy) by June 19, 2015.

The poster can be downloaded from the Ministry of Labour website in PDF format and in a variety of languages.

Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Significant changes are coming our way with respect to how sexual harassment should be treated within the workplace. The Ontario government released an Action Plan in March 2015 which proposed a number of changes to the OHSA, including an actual definition for “sexual harassment”, detailed steps and requirements for employers to investigate and address complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace, and new obligations for employers to make reasonable efforts to protect workers from sexual harassment.  New educational material assist employers in creating a safer workplace has also been developed..

The changes set out in the Action Plan make it clear that sexual harassment is a workplace safety issue and will create a number of new, more specific obligations for employers to comply with under the OHSA. Unfortunately the proposed amendments to the Act have not yet been released but we will be watching out for this in the near future.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The objective of the AODA is to remove all barriers to persons with disabilities in Ontario by 2025. Since its inception in 2005, the ADOA has imposed a series of obligations on business providing goods and services in Ontario by creating two mandatory accessibility standards. The first was the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service, which we wrote about in November 2011.  The second was the Integrated Accessibility Standards.

The following additional requirements came into effect on January 1, 2015:

Integrated Accessibility Standards (IAS) Training – organizations with more than 50 employees in Ontario must ensure that training is provided on the requirements of the IAS and the Ontario Human Rights Code as it pertains to persons with disabilities. The Act states that the training must be provided to employees, volunteers, and individuals who participate in the development of an organizations’ policies, and to all other persons who provide goods, services, or facilities on behalf of the organization. The training must be tailored to the specific duties and roles of the individuals being trained, and records must be kept of any training that has been done.

Feedback Process – organizations with more than 50 employees that have processes in place for receiving and responding to feedback (such as customer surveys) must ensure that the processes are accessible to persons with disabilities by providing or arranging for the provision of accessible formats and communication supports, and notify the public about the availability of such accessible formats and supports.

Accessibility Policies – as of January 1, 2014, organizations with more than 50 employees were required to develop, implement and maintain policies governing how they would achieve accessibility through meeting the requirements of the IAS. The policy must include a statement of organizational commitment to meet the accessibility needs of person with disabilities in a timely manner and the policy must be made publicly available and provided in an accessible format upon request.

For organizations with less than 50 employees, the new AODA requirements and training obligations noted above will become effective on January 1, 2016.

Regardless of the type of legislation, the Sport Law & Strategy Group does our best to keep up with and alert you to the changes we feel are relevant to your organization. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have, or to assist your organization in making the changes required to your existing policies and procedures to ensure your compliance with the law.

For more information contact LeeAnn Cupidio (llc@sportlaw.ca) or Steve Indig (sji@sportlaw.ca).

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