Alberta employment and health and safety legislation has had a big year. In less than twelve months, significant changes have occurred to the Alberta Employment Standards Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, making major updates for the first time in more than thirty years. For employers, great change often comes with great responsibilities. With these changes already in effect, policies should be updated, procedures should be changed, training should be assigned, and employees should be informed.
Alberta workplaces are in for some significant changes once a series of legislative updates to the province’s Employment Standards Code come into effect. Alberta’s Employment Standards Code was last updated in 1988, and the rapidly changing nature of modern workplaces prompted the government to examine the legislation. As a first step, the government requested input from stakeholders. In total, nearly five thousand online survey responses were received from businesses and individuals. Based on these responses, a series of changes to the Code were introduced in a bill that the government states will support family-friendly workplaces, modernize decades-old legislation, and align the minimum employment standards with the rest of Canada.
Look out, Ontario—the provincial government has stated its commitment to making significant changes to the province’s employment legislation, and when these changes come about, it’s likely they will affect your workplace.
The results from the latest employment standards blitzes by the Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors are in, and the report should serve as a wakeup call for employers of young workers (employees under the age of 25) and temporary foreign workers in the province. In May and June of 2016, inspectors conducted 273 inspections of workplaces that employ young workers, and 70 inspections of workplaces that employ temporary foreign workers. The inspections targeted workplaces in key industries, including food services, retail trade, and construction, where significant numbers of young workers and temporary foreign workers are typically employed. While the results are particularly relevant to businesses in these industries, all employers in the province should take note.