Occupational Health & Safety Legislation Tracker

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Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2015 C-45 Federal
In Force
OHS Impact

The objectives of the Act are to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements, and to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal penalties for those operating outside the legal framework. The Act is also intended to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis. With regards to OHS policies, each province is mandated to introduce policies and regulations regarding cannabis and impairment in the workplace.

Changes

Section of this bill is Part 1 outlines the prohibitions, obligations and offences as it relates to possession, production and distribution of cannabis.

  • It is prohibited for an individual who is 18 years of age or older to possess, distribute or sell cannabis of one or more classes.
  • It is prohibited to obtain or offer to obtain cannabis by any method or process, including by manufacturing, by synthesis or by using any means of altering the chemical or physical properties of cannabis; or to alter or offer to alter the chemical or physical properties of cannabis.
  • It is prohibited for individuals over the age of 18 to cultivate or harvest cannabis for illicit purposes. However, individual provinces have the authority to ban or restrict the cultivations of cannabis plants in households.
  • It is prohibited to promote cannabis or a cannabis accessory or any service related to cannabis. Informational promotion is permitted under certain circumstances.
  • Facilities used for sports or cultural events will be prohibited from displaying, as part of their name or otherwise, a brand element of cannabis or the name of a person that produces, sells or distributes cannabis.
  • The Cannabis Act leaves much discretion to the provinces.
Legislation Briefing
Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2017 C-44 Federal
Royal Assent
OHS Impact
This omnibus legislation expands access to unpaid leaves of absence, amends the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.
Changes
 Division 17 of Part 4 amends the Canada Labour Code to:
  • Provide a complaint mechanism under Part III of that Act for employer reprisals
  • Permit the Minister of Labour to order an employer to determine, following an internal audit, whether it is compliance with a provision of Part III and to provide the Minister with a corresponding report
  • Establish an administrative monetary penalty scheme to supplement existing enforcement measures under Parts II and III of that Act.
Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2017 C-46 Federal
Royal Assent Senate
OHS Impact

The federal Government published a proposal to establish three new criminal offences in order to strengthen the criminal law approach to drug-impaired driving in advance of the legalization of cannabis. These new offences would prohibit individuals from having certain levels of impairing drugs in their blood within two hours of driving.

Changes

These new offences would prohibit individuals from having certain levels of impairing drugs in their blood within two hours of driving. If passed, three new criminal driving offences related to being at, or over, a prescribed blood drug concentration (BDC) level within two hours of driving will be enacted as the following:

  1. a summary conviction offence for low drug levels
  2. a hybrid offence for higher/impairing drug levels
  3. a hybrid offence for a combination of low BAC and low BDC.

The penalties for the proposed hybrid offences would mirror the penalties for the current hybrid offences for alcohol-impaired driving. They would be punishable by mandatory penalties of $1,000 for a first offence with escalating penalties for repeat offenders (e.g. 30 days imprisonment on a second offence and 120 days on a third or subsequent offence). The penalty for the separate summary conviction offence for a low BDC would be punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000. The BDC levels set out in the draft regulatory text in Annex A are intended to make it easier to prosecute drug-impaired drivers and to send a clear message to the public about the dangers of using impairing drugs while driving.

If Bill C-46 receives royal assent, the Government would seek Governor-in- Council approval for regulations establishing the new legal BDC offence levels, thereby allowing the offence provisions to be effectively enforced. To further facilitate enforcement, Bill C-46 would also permit a peace officer to demand a blood sample from a driver if they had reasonable grounds to believe that a driver was committing a drug-impaired driving offence.

Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2017 C-65 Federal
Royal Assent
OHS Impact

This amendment will strengthen the existing framework for the prevention of harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, in the workplace, and will extend the occupational health and safety provisions of the Canada Labor Code to Parliamentary employers and employees.

Changes

Part 1 of the Act amends the Canada Labor Code to strengthen the current framework for the prevention of workplace harassment and violence, including sexual harassment and violence, by requiring employers to:

  • Investigate, record and report all accidents, occurrences of harassment or violence, occupational illnesses and other hazardous occurrences known to the employer
  • Take prescribed measures to prevent and protect against harassment and violence and to offer support to employees affected
  • Prescribe appropriate procedures to handle investigations of complaints

Legislation Briefing
Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2018 Bill C-86 Federal
1st Reading
OHS Impact
If passed, the Bill will make substantial changes to the Canada Labour Code and enact a federal Pay Equity Act, among other things.
 
Changes
​On October 29, 2018, the Federal Government introduced Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018.  In addition to introducing long-anticipated pay equity legislation, the proposed legislation would make significant changes to the labour standards in Part III of the Canada Labour Code.

The highlights of the proposed legislation are:
Proposed new Pay Equity Legislation:
  • If passed, Bill C-86 will enact a new Pay Equity Act that establishes a "proactive" pay equity framework under which employers will need to take up-front steps to eliminate pay differences between men and women.
  • The pay equity framework will apply to public and private sector employers that have 10 or more employees.
  • Employers will be required to establish and maintain a pay equity plan that identifies and corrects differences in compensation between jobs of equal value.
  • A Pay Equity Commissioner will facilitate the resolution of disputes, conduct compliance audits, investigate disputes, objections, and complaints, and have the power to make orders and impose administrative monetary penalties for violations of the legislation.   
Changes to the Canada Labour Code:
  • Pay Equity between Employment Statuses  - Employers will be prohibited from paying employees different rates of pay because of their "employment status" (i.e. full-time vs. part-time, casual, temporary, etc.) subject to narrow exceptions.
New Leaves - Employees will be entitled to new leaves, including:    
  • Five days of personal leave, including three paid days;
  • Five days of paid leave for victims of family violence; and,
  • The current minimum length of service requirements for leaves and holiday pay will be eliminated.
Notice of Termination - Employees will be entitled to significantly greater notice of termination or pay in lieu.  Specifically:    
  • Individual employees will be entitled to two weeks' notice if the employee has completed at least three months and less than three years of continuous employment.  After at least three years of continuous employment, the entitlement is one week's notice or pay in lieu for each year of continuous employment up to a maximum of eight (8) weeks' notice.
  • Employees who are terminated in a "group termination" would be entitled to a minimum of eight (8) weeks' notice of termination or pay in lieu thereof.
  • Vacation - Employees will be entitled to paid vacation as follows:    
  • Two weeks' vacation after one year of employment;    
  • Three weeks' vacation after five years of employment;    
  • Four weeks' vacation after 10 years of employment
Enforcement - The legislation would establish a Head of Compliance and Enforcement who will exercise most of the powers and perform most of the functions and duties that are related to Part II (Occupation Health and Safety), Part III (Labour Standards), and the still not-in-force Part IV, which relates to compliance with the Code.

Bill C-86 includes a variety of other changes to labour standards that would also have a meaningful impact on employers, such as in the area of scheduling and the treatment of independent contractors.  These changes appear to be heavily inspired by Ontario's Bill 148, which was passed in 2017 but is now being largely repealed by the new Ontario government.

Legislation Briefing
Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2018 C-63 Federal
Royal Assent
OHS Impact

This Bill will, make a number of changes to scheduling practices and leaves of absence under the Canada Labour Code impacting all employers within the federal jurisdiction.

Changes

The amendments include the following:

  • Providing employees with a formal right to request flexible work arrangements from their employers
  • Providing employees with at least 24 hours' notice of a change in shift
  • Providing employees with a right to refuse overtime in order to fulfill a family responsibility
  • A new three-day unpaid family responsibility leave
  • A new 10-day unpaid leave for victims of family violence
  • A new three-day unpaid leave for traditional Aboriginal practices
  • Extending the current paid bereavement leave by an additional two unpaid days, and extending the time period in which bereavement leave can be taken
  • Other modifications to provisions on work schedules, overtime, annual vacation and general holidays intended to provide greater flexibility in work arrangements.
Year Bill/Reg./Act Jurisdiction Status
2018 C-81 Federal
1st Reading Senate
OHS Impact
Bill C-81 enacts the Accessible Canada Act in order to enhance the full and equal participation of all persons, especially persons with disabilities, in society. This is to be achieved through the progressive realization, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, of a Canada without barriers, particularly by the identification, removal and prevention of barriers.
Changes
  • Part 1 of the Act establishes the Minister’s mandate, powers, duties and functions.
  • Part 2 of the Act establishes the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization and provides for its mandate and structure and its powers, duties and functions.
  • Part 3 of the Act authorizes the Accessibility Commissioner to provide the Minister with information, advice and written reports in respect of the administration and enforcement of the Act. It also requires annual report submissions.
  • Part 4 of the Act imposes duties on regulated entities that include the duty to prepare accessibility plans and progress reports in consultation with persons with disabilities. These plans must also be published.
  • Part 5 of the Act provides for the Accessibility Commissioner’s inspection, including production orders and compliance orders and administrative monetary penalties.
  • Part 6 of the Act provides for a complaints process for, and the awarding of compensation to, individuals that have suffered physical or psychological harm, property damage or economic loss as the result of the contravention of provisions of these regulations.
  • Part 7 of the Act provides for the appointment of the Chief Accessibility Officer and sets out that officer’s duties and functions, including the duty to advise the Minister in respect of systemic or emerging accessibility issues.
  • Part 8 of the Act authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations, including regulations to establish accessibility standards and to specify the form of accessibility plans and progress reports. It also provides, among other things, for the designation of the week starting on the last Sunday in May as National AccessAbility Week.
  • Part 9 of the Act provides for the application of certain provisions of the Act to parliamentary entities, without limiting the powers, privileges and immunities of the Senate and the House of Commons.
  • Parts 10 and 11 of the Act make related and consequential amendments to certain Acts.

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