Legislation watch: 3 bills that may affect you

Sep 11, 2018

legislationWe're tracking the progress of new legislation to ensure you get the latest information before new rules are enacted. Three bills stand out.

Set to take effect on October 17, 2018 Bill C-451 legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. This could have a dramatic impact on health and safety in your workplace. "We're also keeping an eye on Bill C-65, the federal Harassment and Violence Act, a groundbreaking bill that will have implications for federal workplaces," says Jaskaren Randhawa, WSPS' Research Program Coordinator, "as well as Schedule 5 of Ontario Bill 18, which switches responsibility for the costs of injuries to temp workers to the employer."

Cannabis laws, federal and provincial: in force October 17, 2018

Bill 174, an amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 prohibits the smoking and ingestion of cannabis in workplaces.2 This amendment aligns the province with the federal Bill C-45.

Bill 174 requires employers to post signs and notify employees of the act. It also amends the Ontario Highway Traffic Act to prohibit the smoking of cannabis in company vehicles (inside and outside the workplace). This prohibition applies to everyone including employees who have been prescribed medical marijuana.

Jaskaren urges employers who haven't done so to review both the federal and provincial legislation, update their hazard assessments to include the potential for impairment, and create new policies and programs around substance abuse in the workplace (see How We Can Help).

WSPS' legislative team will report on any further modifications to Bills C-65 and 174 through our Legislation Tracker service.

Bill C-65: now in consultation after passing third reading

Before the federal government enacts this bill on workplace harassment and violence, it is consulting Canadians on the proposed framework. The bill aims to strengthen the law by proposing, among other things, that workplace programs and policies include measures to prevent sexual harassment and violence, and recognize the impact of psychological injuries and illness arising from violence and harassment.3

"This groundbreaking approach could affect workplaces across Canada," says Jaskaren. Add your voice to the consultation at: Employment and Social Development Canada. The consultation ends October 5, and the bill is expected to become law in fall 2019.

Schedule 5 of Bill 18

Proclaimed on April 6, 2018 this bill attributes temporary workers' injury and accident costs - which are currently paid by temporary help agencies - to employers.4 This could lead to higher or lower WSIB premiums for employers. The bill is not yet in force.

How WSPS can help:


1 Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts

2 Bill 174, Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017

3 Bill C-65, the act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

4Schedule 5 of Bill 18: The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2015