Monday, July 29, 2013

Life Transitions

Life’s Transitions
In our lives, we are faced with many challenges- mountains to climb (the hurdles in our lives), changes to face with excitement or fears – (growing up, moving on, new job, new career, children leaving home….) losses of plenty throughout our lives – (whether it be a family member or friend, job loss, loss of pride, loss of home) and as we grow older loss of ability may be faced by many.  These are some of the obstacles in the transition of life that we face.  Many of these challenges make us stronger, wiser and build the confidence we need to move on and face them with a type of vigor that you never knew you had. 
In the face of change we may dread the not knowing – the fear of the unknown, but once we have faced the challenge, dealt with the loss and tackle the obstacles, the hurdle no longer appears to be the impossible.  This is the case of so many over the past few years through the recession.  On top of the everyday challenges we face, many dreams were shattered, many plans for ones future were changed, many losses were faced by those who lost their jobs and had to look at new careers or find new jobs doing what they know how to do in a different setting. 
Many people went through the 2nd Careers program that the Ontario Government offered, only to find that the courses they were encouraged to take was not a wise move for them. Jobs were not there; wages were too low; the hope of the new transition in a time in their lives that change should not have been a decision they had to make – failed.  Many of these individuals went back to school again, incurring debt this time to enhance what they knew and reenter the workforce with an education they previously did not need in their field; others tried to start their own businesses – many of them finding the pressures of sales and a low economy too much to bear and as we drew out of the recession and jobs presented themselves, they moved back into the workforce once again.
Are we clear of the changes that face us due to a poor economy?  If you listen to the news, you would say no we are not.   There are more changes to come they say.  This is true because life is full of change – planned and unplanned, exciting and frightening, devastating and enhancing.  It is how we deal with change that affects each and every one of us differently. 
If you are unsure of what to do in the face of change – ask for assistance!  If you lose your job and don’t know where to turn – seek out a career specialist that can guide you in your choices.  If you want to start your own business, turn to the centre in your area that offers courses and guidance in starting your own business – Business Enterprise Centre’s, Innovation Centre’s, Chambers of Commerce to name a few.  If you have your own business and want to plan your retirement – speak to a succession planning specialist to assist with the transition.   If it is life’s personal challenges you face – turn to a friend, your family or a specialist to help guide you through the challenges you face. 
You do not have to face change alone – seek out those around you.  Embrace change and face it!    Live life to the fullest!
Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bill 160: New Amendments to Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Legislation

Bill 160: New Amendments to Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Legislation
Daniel Pugen

On March 3, 2011, the Ontario government introduced Bill 160, "An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with respect to occupational health and safety and other matters." We wanted to alert our readers that the Government has quickly moved the Bill through the legislature and it has now received royal assent. Although many of the provisions will come into effect at a later date, some provisions, including those respecting training, are effective immediately.

Bill 160 follows the December 2010 report of a government-appointed Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. The Panel, chaired by former Ontario cabinet secretary Tony Dean, recommended 46 changes to how Ontario regulates occupational health and safety. Bill 160 is intended to implement some of the Panel’s recommendations. As it was passed, Bill 160 amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and significantly changes the regulation of occupational health and safety in Ontario. As noted below, such changes include the establishment of a Prevention Council and Chief Prevention Officer (CPO), the establishment of training standards and approved training programs and providers, new reprisal provisions, changes to the powers and functions of the joint health and safety committee and transfer of the prevention mandate from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to the Ministry of Labour.

Below, we have summarized key aspects of the final version of Bill 160.

Prevention Council

Under Bill 160, a "Prevention Council" is established and responsible for providing advice to the Minister of Labour (Minister). The Prevention Council must comprise an equal number of worker and union representatives as well as non-unionized employee representatives and other persons with occupational health and safety experience. Essentially, the functions of the Prevention Council are to advise the Minister on the appointment of the CPO and then to advise the CPO on health and safety matters (e.g. prevention of workplace injuries and changes to funding).

The CPO is responsible for: (i) developing a provincial occupational health and safety strategy; (ii) preparing an annual report on occupational health and safety; (iii) exercising powers or duties delegated by the Minister; (iv) certifying members of the joint health and safety committee; and (v) providing advice to the Minister on a variety of health and safety matters, including the prevention of workplace injuries, proposed changes to the funding and delivery of services and the establishment of standards for "designated entities." Perhaps most notably, the CPO will play a critical role in establishing training standards and the certifying of training providers (see below).

Training Standards and Approved Providers

Under Bill 160, the CPO may establish standards for training programs and approve programs that meet those standards. The CPO can also establish standards that a person would have to meet before becoming an "approved training provider," and approve a person as a training provider of one or more "approved training programs." The CPO is required to publish these standards and may amend them as well.

In establishing standards and programs and approving persons as training providers, the CPO has additional powers. For example, the CPO can require a person seeking an approval to "provide information, records or accounts" required by the CPO pertaining to the approval. The CPO can also "make such inquiries and examinations as he or she considers necessary." Finally, the CPO has the authority to collect information about a worker’s successful completion of an approved training program.

Additional Training Provisions

At present, one worker member and one management member of the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) are required to be "certified" by the WSIB. Under Bill 160, the CPO can establish training and certification standards for JHSC members. Those individuals who are already certified under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) would not have to re-certify.

In addition, a duty is imposed on constructors or employers to ensure that health and safety representatives receive training that will enable them to "effectively exercise the powers and perform the duties of a health and safety representative."

Shifting the Prevention Mandate From the WSIB to the Ministry of Labour

Part of the purpose of Bill 160 is to consolidate prevention and enforcement of occupational health and safety to the Ministry of Labour. As such, Bill 160 repeals Part II (Injury and Disease Prevention) of the WSIA. An example of a former WSIB function to be taken over by the Ministry of Labour relates to creating "designated entities." Bill 160 allows the Minister to designate "safe workplace associations," medical clinics or training centres specializing in occupational health and safety matters. Any such entity will be required to meet, and continue to abide by, certain standards established by the Minister. Any entity already designated under the WSIA will continue to be deemed designated under Bill 160.

JHSC Recommendations

Prior to Bill 160, the JHSC had the power under OHSA to make recommendations to a constructor or employer for the improvement of worker health and safety. Under Bill 160, if the JHSC does not reach consensus on recommendations, either the worker co-chair or the management co-chair can make written recommendations.


Under Bill 160, Section 50 of OHSA is amended to allow a Ministry of Labour inspector to refer a matter to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (Board) regarding whether an employer has committed a reprisal against a worker. The inspector will only be permitted to do so where "the circumstances warrant," and where: (i) the matter alleged to have caused the reprisal was not dealt with by arbitration under a collective agreement or by the filing of a complaint with the Board; and (ii) the worker consents to the referral. In addition, and consistent with the government’s intent to streamline reprisal complaints, Bill 160 gives the Board authority to draft expedited rules of procedure relating to reprisal complaints. Finally, the Office of the Worker Adviser and, for employers with fewer than 100 employees, the Office of the Employer Adviser (agencies that assist workers and employers, respectively, with WSIB issues) will be given prescribed functions relating to reprisal complaints.

These changes to the reprisal provisions have the potential to increase the number of reprisal complaints to the Board, given that in certain circumstances an inspector on a routine audit will have the power to refer reprisal cases directly to the Board.

Codes of Practice

Under Bill 160, the Minister may approve a "code of practice," which may be followed to comply with a legal requirement specified in the approval. A failure to comply will not, in itself, constitute a breach of the legal requirement. Although the Minister always had this authority, the "code of practice" used to only apply to requirements in the regulations. Now, statutory requirements may be discharged by following a "code of practice."

Implications for Employers

Bill 160 has created a new OHSA bureaucracy, as well as making other important and technical changes to OHSA. Although many of the provisions will come into effect on April 1, 2012, or upon proclamation by the lieutenant governor, certain provisions (including the training provisions) are already in effect. Nevertheless, much of the substance to Bill 160 will not be felt by employers until the approved training providers and the training standards and programs, are finalized by the CPO. We will continue to monitor progress on this front and update you accordingly.

It is important to note that the Government of Ontario has showcased its record on occupational health and safety, and has indicated that it plans to implement all 46 recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel within the next three to five years. Accordingly, it may be that Bill 160 is only the first step in a more comprehensive overhaul of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system.

Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

Monday, July 8, 2013

The New WHMIS – Global Harmonization System (GHS)

The New WHMIS – Global Harmonization System (GHS)

GHS, another acronym that will be added to the health and safety scene, stands for Globally Harmonized Systems of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. WHMIS GHS has been a long time coming to Canada with the implied belief that it will make a positive difference to Canada’s occupational health and safety. 
GHS promises to promote regulatory efficiency, ease of compliance and make WHMIS less complex for organizations, workers and governments – especially those who need to comply with many different systems in different countries – by providing a consistent standardized system.
The benefits of the new system, as outlined, are:
1.    Promoting regulatory efficiency
2.    Facilitating trade
3.    Easing compliance
4.    Reducing costs
5.    Providing improved, consistent hazard information
6.    Encouraging the safe transport, handling and use of chemicals
7.    Promoting better emergency response to chemical incidents, and
8.    Reducing the need for animal testing
With GHS coming into force, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) will be replaced by Safety Data Sheets (SDSs). The new SDSs will need to be obtained when GHS becomes implemented. As a result, new and revised training procedures and programs will need to be developed. 

Within the GHS, there are two major elements:
1.  Classification of hazards
a.  Physical
b.  Health
c.   Environmental
2.  Communication of hazards and precautionary information using safety data sheets (SDSs)
The following are target dates for implementation of GHS:


·      Unlikely to be in place before the end of 2013


·      Final ruling became effective May 26, 2012

·      Key Dates:

-     Training by December 1, 2013

-     Comply with all modified provisions – June 1, 2015

-     Updated alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs and additional employee training for newly identified physical and health hazards – June 1, 2016


·      GHS adopted January 2009 with certain regulations extended to June 1, 2015 with a two year transition period
Other changes that employers can expect with the new system include:
·      SDSs will have a 16 section format verses the current 9 section format of the MSDSs
·      Supplier labels will contain new pictograms and signal words – “Warning” or “Danger”
·      Classification of chemicals will be affected with potentially (not confirmed) more specific names for its hazard classes and will also maintain some of the current classifications
·      Employers may receive MSDS and SDS for same products until transition is complete
·      Employers should prepare for training requirements under GHS
·      Suppliers should prepare now to meet SDS under GHS for exported products and start process for products shipped within Canada ready for GHS.
To ensure that safety is not compromised, a key area will be training of workers that will need to understand both current WHMIS and WHMIS after GHS.  They will need to learn new elements, such as pictograms, the difference in label requirements, new hazard class names, hazard statements and new signal words etc.  For more detailed description of these proposed changes, visit 
 It is not recommended that companywide training be undertaken until GHS has been implemented in Canada.  With the US well on their way, Canadian companies need to be prepared for the changes coming soon.  With that said, companies should focus on understanding what GHS is all about, as well as becoming familiar with the new classification of products under GHS. 
Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480

Monday, July 1, 2013

Health and Safety Leadership Charter

On October 27, 2011, FIOSA-MIOSA (Food Industry Occupational Safety Association –Manufacturing Industry Occupational Safety Alliance) Safety Alliance of BC organized and hosted their annual Leading Performance Conference this past October in Vancouver, BC. FIO-MIOSA is a non-profit, non-governmental, industry-funded organization with over 2,000 members across BC together representing the food processing and manufacturing industries. Formerly known as the Food Processors Health and Safety Council, the organization expanded its membership in 2010 to include 700 employers in the manufacturing industry and subsequently changed its name to FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance. FIOSA-MIOSA’s main purpose is to reduce the injury rate of BC’s food, beverage, and manufacturing industries through dynamic education, training and advisory services.

This past year at the Conference, the FIOSA-MIOSA introduced a Health & Safety Leadership Charter, the first of its kind for the province. This Charter followed the leadership of other provinces including Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.

The Charter was developed to represent commitment from industry and organizational leaders within BC to foster a positive environment of health & safety.  Founded on the principle that the effective management of health & safety is essential to overall business success, profitability and sustainability, key CEO’s and Senior Executives were asked to sign the Charter declaring their organizations’ commitment to these principals. 

FISOSA-MIOSA Safety Alliance’s CEO Lisa McGuire outlined that the Charter acts as a public statement to employees, customers and communities that health & safety is a core value of the organizations signing.  “We’re encouraging leaders to add their signatures, demonstrating a commitment to providing a prevention-based workplace culture” said McGuire.

Twenty-Three CEO’s and executives from around BC signed the Charter at the Conference in October. These CEO’s and executives represented organizations some of which include, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), BC Safety Authority, Agropur, Radiation Safety Institute of Canada, and WorkSafeBC.  David Anderson, the president and CEO of WorkSafeBC was a founding endorser of the Charter, and was given the honour of being the first to add his signature. These twenty-three signatures represent the first step towards FIOSA-MIOSA’s 150@2015 goal of having 150 of BC’s CEO’s and Senior Executives sign the charter by 2015. 

McGuire states that the Charter is an important starting-point for companies and organizations with the end goal of reducing BC’s injury rate.  According to WorkSafeBC statistics from 2008, the injury rate within the manufacturing subsector was 4.6.  The food processing subsector had a higher rate of injury at 7.1.  These numbers signify that for every person who works full time in a one-year period, 4.6 out of 100 and 7.1 out of 100 have suffered from some type of injury.  These statistics are worrying, especially when comparing them to the low province-wide injury rate of 2.37.

A total of $121 million was paid in claims in 2009 by BC’s manufacturing sector.  The direct cost to manufacturing employers is estimated to actually have been $605 million.  According to a Safety Alliance survey from 2010, the most common injuries causes were improper lifting, repetitive movement strains, injuries from sharp edges, and slips.

FIOSA-MIOSA feels that there are far too many individuals whose lives, health, and personal finances are being affected by the food processing and manufacturing industries’ poor health and safety records. The Health and Safety Leadership Charter is the industry’s attempt to take action and work to reduce the injury rates as much as possible. Making employee health and safety a priority, organizations are furthering their overall business sustainability.

Inaugural signatories met on February 16th, 2012 at the Terminal City Club to discuss development strategies for engaging additional CEO’s and Executives to sign the Charter. 

Lynne Bard, BA (Honours), C.H.R.P., CES
Human Resources, Safety & Risk Management Experts
Taking the Complexity out of Compliance
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Phone: 519-821-7440
Cell: 519-830-7480