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Recent Update from the Minister of Labour on Bill 160

As we mentioned in our SBH Update, a significant change under Bill 160 is the removal of the Injury & Disease Prevention function of the WSIB, which will now be the responsibility of the Ministry of Labour and the Chief Prevention Officer (soon to be appointed).  The Minister of Labour announced in a recent open letter to the Interim Prevention Council, that he anticipates that these amendments will come into force by April 1, 2012.  This includes the powers related to training programs and to the designation of Health and Safety Associations.

Other provisions expected to come into force by April 1, 2012 are those which give the co-chairs of the joint health and safety committee the authority to make recommendations to the employer where a consensus has not been reached by the committee. The Minister has yet to project a date for the coming into force of the amendments that require training for health and safety representatives and the provisions that provide greater worker protection from reprisals.

In his letter, the Minister also addressed concerns regarding costs under the new system, promising no new WSIB costs to employers resulting from the transfer of authority to the Ministry.

Finally, the Ministry announced plans to develop a new approach to compliance and assistance. Responding to recommendations from the Expert Advisory Panel and various stakeholders, the new process will follow a continuum: from voluntary compliance, to assisted compliance, to enforcement.  We will keep you posted on any new developments.

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