A business leader asked us for a short list of simple, but important questions to get a quick “at a glance” assessment of the business’s Ontario employment law risk profile. We thought that was such a good exercise that we would share those four “must ask questions” with you.

  1. Have you posted the new Mandatory Occupational Health & Safety Posters? If the answer is no, post them now. The Ministry of Labour has published a poster explaining health and safety rights and responsibilities, which employers are required to post (along with a copy of the legislation) in English and the language of the majority of the workers in the workplace. Inspectors began enforcing this obligation on October 1, 2012. Additional information may be found on the Ministry website.
  2. December 31, 2012 is less than 3 months away – will you be able to certify to the Ontario government your organization’s compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)? Most organizations with 20 or more employees in Ontario must file a report with the Ontario government by December 31, 2012 certifying compliance with the AODA. For more details on the requirements of the AODA, read our Osler Update.
  3. Does your overtime policy require prior approval before overtime is worked and paid? If the answer is yes, your overtime policy may require revision in light of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent rulings in three Overtime Pay class action cases. The Court criticized overtime policies which require the employee to obtain prior approval from their manager before working overtime -- even if the policy provides for exceptions where employees are prevented from obtaining pre-approval by “extenuating circumstances.” Employers should review their overtime policies in light of these and other comments. If you missed last month’s webinar, you can also get more information on the Ontario Court of Appeal’s “overtime trilogy” in this Osler Update.
  4. If the government asks you for a copy of your Pay Equity Plan, what will you give them? Last year, the Ontario Pay Equity Commission began province-wide audits of Ontario employers to determine whether they were meeting their pay equity obligations. The plan is that these audits will eventually cover all employers. More recently, the Commission released an updated Guide to Interpreting Ontario's Pay Equity Act.