I am a lover of lists and a new year is definitely the time for lists and resolutions.  My love of lists and the satisfaction of deleting completed tasks has been reinforced by a neuroscience professor who recommends lists to get a more organized and calmer brain. (The short article and podcast link is: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/01/neuroscientist-really-wants-you-to-make-lists.html.) For Ontario HR Practitioners who are similarly inclined, here’s my To Do list for 2016.

  1. Policies: A number of HR policies are mandatory and require consideration at least once a year. This category includes your occupational health and safety policy, your workplace harassment prevention policy and your workplace violence prevention policy. Your organization’s accessibility policy and multi-year accessibility plan should also be reviewed. Given the continued blurring of work and personal time and activities, reviewing the information technology policy, particularly for the inclusion of social media expectations, is strongly encouraged. Changing expectations of employers in the human rights realm mean that policies specific to accommodation obligations (to address the expansion of family status) and drug and alcohol (to address medical marijuana) also should be revisited.
  2. Training: Compliance with the mandatory training requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act is all the more essential given the prison sentence imposed this week on a supervisor responsible for fatalities that occurred after a scaffolding collapse in 2009. Are you in compliance with all of your AODA training obligations? When did you last conduct training on workplace harassment, discrimination and violence prevention? A refresher may be in order.
  3. Contracts: Employment agreements may require updating, particularly with respect to termination clauses and restrictive covenants, following court decisions in the past few years. Where these provisions require updating for existing employees, do ensure that proper consideration and process is followed to ensure that any changes are enforceable later.
  4. Employment Standards Compliance: The perennial issues of overtime and vacation pay compliance have become increasingly important with the removal of the $10,000 cap on wage awards under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.
  5. Postings: The Ministry of Labour updated its “What you need to know” posted detailing minimum standards under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. The poster was to be posted effective May 20, 2015. The English version can be obtained here: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pdf/poster.pdf. Translations can be obtained here: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/poster.php.