Updated Information For Workers

    McGuinty Government Moving Forward On Employment Rights

    TORONTO, Feb. 27 /CNW/ - The province is publishing a new version of a
poster about the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that most Ontario employers
will be required to post in the workplace.

    The poster outlines worker and employer rights and obligations and
reflects recent changes to the ESA, regarding:
    -  Minimum wage
    -  Reservist leave
    -  Declared emergency leave
    -  Family Day and
    -  Employees who qualify to take a family medical leave.

    "Recent changes to the Employment Standards Act are helping both workers
and employers and moving Ontario forward in healthy and productive ways," said
Ontario Labour Minister Brad Duguid.
    Most employers in Ontario are required to post the document in English
and the majority language of the workplace. The poster will be available in
21 languages besides English and French, recognizing the diversity in
Ontario's productive workplaces.
    All language versions of the poster continue to be available free by
downloading it from the Ministry of Labour's website or by visiting a
ServiceOntario Centre. It can also be ordered from ServiceOntario
Publications, for the cost of shipping and handling.
    The poster is available in English, French, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese
(Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Dari, Farsi, Filipino, Greek, Gujarati,
Hindi, Italian, Korean, Oji-Cree, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian,
Spanish, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese.

    Background information:

    -  Pursuant to the ESA, section 2(3), most employers will be required to
       post version 4.0 of "What You Should Know About The Ontario Employment
       Standards Act" once it is published. From February 15 to
       April 11, 2008, as a transition, employment standards officers may
       issue compliance orders for failure to post the new version of the
       poster. Notices of contravention or prosecutions may be initiated only
       for failure to comply with a compliance order. Failure to post the
       required version of the poster is a contravention under the act.

    -  On and after April 12, officers may use the full range of enforcement
       measures to ensure that employers are complying with the requirement
       to post version 4.0, including issuing notices of contravention with
       monetary penalties.

    Disponible en français



                         MISLEADING INFORMATION ABOUT

    The Ontario government is committed to protecting workers' rights, and
their health and safety in the workplace. To ensure that workers are aware of
their rights, employers are mandated, through legislation or regulation, to
prominently display an employment standards poster and the Occupational Health
and Safety Act (OHSA), as well as the company's own workplace health and
safety policy.
    The Ministry of Labour has recently received reports and complaints about
aggressive, high-pressure sales tactics by private providers of workplace
posters and workplace safety training. These companies imply a connection with
the ministry and are selling "official" posters that they claim will satisfy
legislated posting requirements. Some of these companies are also selling
"training" that may not be appropriate or required.
    Posters sold by private companies may not comply with the requirements of
the Employment Standards Act (ESA) or the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

    Employment Standards

    Under the ESA, employers are required to display the most recent poster
prepared and published by the Minister of Labour in at least one conspicuous
location in the workplace.
    The latest edition of the poster "What You Should Know About The Ontario
Employment Standards Act" (version 4.0, published February 2008) is available
free at www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/poster.html. A simple print-out on
legal-size paper will suffice for compliance with the ESA. Publications
Ontario will also provide copies of the poster, charging only for shipping and

    Health and Safety

    Employers are required to post a copy of the Occupational Health and
Safety Act in their workplaces. The act, in booklet form, is available from
Publications Ontario. The price is $8, plus GST. The act can be ordered online
at www.publications.serviceontario.ca; the search code is 111759. Also, the
act can be printed for free from www.e-laws.gov.on.ca.
    Employers also must prepare and review at least once a year a written
occupational health and safety policy, and must develop and maintain a program
to implement that policy. Advice for doing this is available at

    Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS)

    WHMIS is a Canada-wide system designed to give employers and workers
information about hazardous materials used in the workplace. The provinces and
territories have incorporated the national standards into their occupational
health and safety legislation and regulations, and are responsible for
enforcement. This ensures a consistent approach across Canada for the
labelling and use of hazardous materials.
    Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act sets out the employer
requirements, and the WHMIS regulation under the act sets out operational
    Certain employers in Ontario are required to identify hazardous
materials, ensure that proper data sheets on the materials are readily
available and containers are properly labelled, and to make sure that
employees are properly trained in handling and use of the materials.
    The act also requires an annual review, but not annual training in WHMIS.
The review must be done in consultation with the joint health and safety
committee (if the workplace has one) and includes ensuring that the
information on the hazardous materials is up-to-date, that anyone working with
the materials has been properly trained and is still conversant with the
training. A review is also required if the conditions at the workplace have
changed or new information on a controlled product becomes available.

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Public enquiries: 1-800-531-5551; Media
enquiries: Susan McConnell, Minister's Office, (416) 326-7710, Mobile (416)
606-8303; Bruce Skeaff, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405

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Ontario Ministry of Labour

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