Justin W. Anisman is an Employment Lawyer and principal of Anisman Law. Justin advises both companies and individuals in all aspects of employment law including wrongful dismissal, human rights and discrimination.
Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of employment regulations and requirements can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned HR professional or business owner. With an array of mandatory information sheets, posters, policies, and training that employers are required to distribute, post, maintain, or complete (as the case may be), it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what is expected.
The regulations that companies must follow are regularly updated and changing, and it can be difficult to keep up with all the different requirements. However, staying up-to-date on these workplace mandates is essential to maintaining a safe and compliant place of business.
That’s why I have tried to curate everything you need to know in one place with the intention of keeping this resource up to date.
Mandatory Posters and Information Sheets
1. Employment Standards Act, 2000 Poster
The Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) requires that all workplaces distribute to their employees a copy of the Employment Standards Poster prepared by the Minister of Labour. The poster explains the employees’ rights and entitlements under the ESA.
The poster should be given to employees within 30 days of their hire and is available in various languages. We recommended that the Poster be provided in both the employee’s first language and English. The poster can be given to employees as a printed copy, an email attachment, or as a link to an internet database. However, the employer must ensure that employees can access and print the poster from the database.
Employers can download the poster for free here: Employment Standards Act Poster
2. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Posters and Health and Safety Committee
All employers covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) must post, in a prominent location in the workplace where it can be easily seen and accessed by employees, the following:
- “Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here” Poster;
- A complete copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and
- the names and locations of your workplace joint health and safety committee members (if one is required).
Employers can download the poster for free here: Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here Poster
Employers can download the OHSA for free here: Occupational Health and Safety Act, RSO 1990, c O-1
Employers can also order hardcopies from ServiceOntario Publications for a small fee.
3. Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Training For Workers and Supervisors
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) requires that every worker and supervisor, regardless of sector, complete an occupational health and safety awareness training program.
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has developed a free Occupational Health and Safety Awareness Course for workers and supervisors that can be used to comply with the awareness training requirements. programs are available for free either as printable workbooks or online e-learning modules.
The Course for Workers is available here: Worker Health and Safety Awareness in Four Steps
The Course for Supervisors is available here: Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness in Five Steps
4. Workplace Policies: Health and Safety, Violence, and Harassment
If your workplace has more than 5 regularly employed workers you must also prepare and post the following policies:
- Health and Safety Policy;
- Workplace Violence Policy; and
- Workplace Harassment Policy.
Further, the policies need to be reviewed and updated at least once every year.
In addition, Employers must conduct risk assessment to determine the risk of violence in the workplace. Supervisors and employees must be trained, and training must include information about recognizing workplace violence, safety procedures and prevention. Training should be repeated whenever there is a significant change to the workplace violence policy or if new circumstances arise.
The Ministry of Labour publishes guides on how to prepare these policies here: Appendix A, B and C: How to prepare Health and Safety, Workplace Violence Policy, and Workplace Harassment Policies
Although we recommend that you have these policies prepared by a competent employment lawyer.
5. “In Case of Injury at Work” Poster
All employers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA”) must post and keep posted the “In Case of Injury” Poster in a conspicuous places in the workplace.
The “In Case of Injury at Work” poster is a document that provides information and instructions to employees who have been injured or become ill while at work. It outlines the steps that employees should take in case of a workplace injury, including reporting the injury to their employer, seeking medical attention, and filing a workers’ compensation claim. The poster also includes contact information for the employer’s health and safety representative, as well as the workers’ compensation board.
The purpose of the poster is to ensure that employees are aware of their rights and obligations in case of a workplace injury, and to help them navigate the process of seeking medical attention and compensation.
6. Disconnecting From Work Policy
An employer with 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year is required to create a written policy with respect to disconnecting from work for all employees before March 1 of that year.
The Policy must include the date it was prepared and the date any changes were made to it. Although there is no regulations governing the content of these policies at this time, any such Policy should try and address:
- expectations with respect to reading and/or replying to work related emails or phone calls after hours, and/or on weekends, and depending on the subject matter of the communication, and who is sending the email or making the phone call to the employee (g., client, supervisor, colleague, etc…); and
- requirements/guidelines for out-of-office notifications and/or voicemail messages.
7. Electronic Monitoring Policy
An employer with 25 or more employees on January 1 of any year is required to create a written policy with respect to electronic monitoring before March 1 of that year.
At this time, the Electronic Monitoring Policy must provide only the following information:
- whether employees are electronically monitors;
- if so, a description of how and in what circumstances the employee is electronically monitored;
- the purposes for which information obtained through electronic monitoring may be used; and
- the date the Policy was prepared and the date any changes were made.
8. Anti-Discrimination Policy
Although not required by legislation, it is highly recommended that employers maintain and distribute an Anti-Discrimination or Respect in the Workplace Policy. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has held that the lack of such a policy is a consideration they take into account. Not having one could result in higher awards for discrimination by the tribunal.
9. Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
All employers in Ontario regardless of size are required to create a
- Customer Service Policy;
- an Accessibility Plan; and
- Workplace Emergency Response Plan.
Employers with 20 or more employees are required to
- Make their Customer Service Policy and Accessibility Plan available to the public, by posting it on their website and in other reasonable places;
- file Accessibility Compliance Reports every 3 years confirming that the employer has met the requirements under the AODA as they apply to them at the time of filing.
Note that Workplace Emergency Response Plan may need to be individualized for employees with disabilities who require accommodation. While a worker may ask for this special accommodation, some may not. Because emergencies happen, it is prudent to have an open discussion with any workers who require accommodation because of disability to find out how best to make emergency information accessible to them.
10. Pay Equity
Ontario’s Pay Equity Act requires every provincially regulated Ontario employer with 10 or more employees to achieve pay equity in its workplace. The Pay Equity Commission outlines procedures for determining employer definitions, employee definitions, and job classes (including the gender and job rate of job classes) in order to show that pay equity has been achieved.
A guide to interpreting the Pay Equity Act and how to comply with pay equity requirements and other is available from the Pay Equity Commission here: About Ontario’s Pay Equity Act
Public sector organizations have additional requirements.
11. No Smoking, No Vaping Signage
Employers of an “enclosed workplace” or an “enclosed public place”, or other smoke-free and vape-free places as described is required to post mandatory signage in a conspicuous manner and unobstructed from view.
Signs must be posted at each entrance, exit and washroom, to notify employees and the public that they cannot smoke tobacco or cannabis (medical or recreational) or vape.
Additional regulations apply to hotel, motel, inns, residential care facilities, residential hospices and other specialized workplaces.