On May 9, 2020, CHPTA & COPA held an HR focused webinar exclusive for members that dealt with a number of COVID-19 Aftermath issues and new Ontario Employee-Related and Health & Safety legislation updates.    

The presenter was the Associations’ HR specialist, Viki Scott, President, Principal Consultant, Mediator, and Workplace Investigator & Chief Lobbyist of Scott & Associates Inc., a successful national consulting firm which has been providing solutions to Canadian-based companies since 2005. Her practice concentrates on Labour Management Relations, Conflict Risk Management, Occupational Health and Safety, Human Rights, Workplace Investigations, Organizational Development and Effectiveness, Business Continuity Planning, and General Business Advisory Services.

Viki’s 90-minute talk first reviewed some of the impacts COVID-19 has had on Canada and Ontario over the last 2 ½ years including stats on claims made through the province’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.  Although, the country has faired pretty well overall during COVID versus other countries, the pandemic did show that many businesses and organizations did not have an Emergency Preparedness Plan or Business Continuity Planning in place so she walked through the key parts and resources available for putting one in place. She added that Federal COVID-19 Emergency Benefits did come to an end on May 8th.  

The webinar then turned to explaining Ontario’s Bill 27 – Working for Workers Act – 2021, which passed in December 2021, and requires employers to implement a right-to-disconnect policy (to be in place by June 2, 2022), prohibits certain non-compete agreements, establishes a licensing regime for temporary help agencies and recruiters, and implements certain employment protections for foreign nationals, among other changes.  Viki then reviewed the recent Bill 88 – Working for Workers Act – 2022 which includes a minimum wage increase, electronic monitoring, treatment of IT Consultants and the increase in Ontario Health & Safety (OH &S) penalties.  

Viki then covered off updates and reporting obligations for Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Act like Occupational Disease Policy (includes COVID-19), Adverse Affect Policy and Occupational Stress Injuries/PTSD Policies.  Return to Work and Workplace Obligations continue. She also discussed OH&S Updates including Communicable Disease (Vaccination) Policy, plus Other Ontario Health & Safety Act changes.

Finally, Viki touched upon the Post-COVID Syndrome and “long-COVID workplace accommodation.  A number of workers who experienced a serious case of COVID, including some young people, continue to experience continuing health problems which could impede return to work.  Long-COVID is a new illness and evidence on how to treat it is rapidly emerging and evolving.  Companies may need to make adjustments to an employee’s work structure to accommodate them.  

Viki suggested companies have their lawyer or an outside legal firm review and confirm that your business is in compliance with all these new updates.  Viki can recommend some legal firms if you need.

We would like to thank Viki once again for taking the time to talk to our members and pass on her knowledge as well as her continued support of both associations and consulting services that she offers to our member companies.