A revised Bill 160 was passed on June 1st. Notable changes to the Bill include an increase in the role of the Chief Prevention Officer, a position created by the Bill. The Chief Prevention Officer is to be appointed by the Minister of Labour for a renewable five year term. Earlier drafts of the Bill gave the Ministry of Labour authority over the content and implementation of training programs and the certification requirements for members of joint health and safety committees. These responsibilities instead have been given to the Chief Prevention Officer.
The Ministry of Labour remains responsible for designating an entity as a safe workplace association or as a medical clinic or training centre specializing in occupational health and safety. The revised Bill provides that the Chief Prevention Officer is responsible for monitoring the operation of designated entities and may require a designated entity to provide such information, records or accounts as the Chief Prevention Officer specifies. The Chief Prevention Officer may make necessary inquiries and examinations and must report to the Minister regarding compliance.
The revised Bill also makes changes to the composition of the Prevention Council, which, like the Chief Prevention Officer, is a new addition to the OHSA. The council is to be composed of representatives from three categories (1) trade unions and provincial labour organizations, (2) employers, and (3) non-unionized workers, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Persons with occupational health and safety experience. An equal number of members must be appointed from categories 1 and 2. Category 3 cannot exceed 1/3 of the composition of the council.
The proposed amendment to section 6 of the OHSA, which authorized a Director to establish policies respecting the interpretation, administration and enforcement of the Act and to require an inspector to follow any such policy, was not included in the final version of the Bill.
Perhaps the most significant revision made was the deletion of a proposed provision that prevented an inspector who investigates a reprisal claim from being called as a witness. In our last update on Bill 160, Ryan Conlin commented that this proposed provision could work significant prejudice against defendants. The omission of this provision from the final version is therefore a welcome one for employers.
For a link to view the final version of the Bill and the other changes made click here: