Training for Workers that Use Fall Protection – April 1, 2017 Deadline Extended to October 1, 2017

We previously posted a blog on April 1, 2015 entitled “New Requirements Under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation”.  The blog addressed new training requirements wherein an employer was required to ensure that workers complete a basic health and safety awareness program.

The training requirements apply to the following methods of fall protection:

  • a travel restraint system;
  • a fall restricting system;
  • a fall arrest system;
  • a safety net;
  • a work belt;
  • a safety belt.

Some employees, that had previously completed a training program before the regulation came into force on April 1, 2015, were given a grace period for completing the new training.  The grace period was to expire on April 1, 2017.  However, a recent update to the Ministry of Labour website states “The Ministry has now extended the transition period by six (6) months to October 1, 2017. Employers will have until then to ensure that workers successfully complete a CPO-approved working at heights training program.

What does this mean for your condominium? 

  • If you are considered an employer and have employees that use any of the foregoing methods of fall protection, you are required to ensure that the employee(s) complete the required new training. If any of your employees met the fall protection training requirements of the Construction Projects Regulation prior to April 1, 2015,  they will now need to complete the new training by October 1, 2017.
  • If you hire a contractor with workers that will be working at heights (i.e. cleaning windows or repairing the roof), confirm with the contractors that their workers have been trained to work at heights.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about Occupational Health and Safety issues in condominiums.

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Suspended Access Equipment- New OHSA Regulation Amendments in Effect January 1, 2017

According to the Ministry of Labour, the improper use of suspended access equipment continues to be a cause of workplace injury.

The Ministry of Labour proposal describes suspended access equipment as “one or more work platforms or a seating surface suspended by wire ropes from an overhead anchorage (e.g., roof anchors) that can be lowered or raised along the façade of a building or structure by hoisting devices. Swing stages and boatswain’s chairs (also known as bosun chairs) are examples of suspended access equipment.

In order to strengthen the requirements related to suspended access equipment, the Ministry of Labour proposed changes to Ontario Regulation 213/91 (Construction Projects).

The proposal was approved by the Government of Ontario and the new amendments to O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act came into effect January 1, 2017.  These changes relate to the operation of suspended access equipment and apply to all buildings at which suspended access equipment is used and where the regulations apply.

The amendments to O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects):

  • amend wording and definitions in the Regulation to clarify requirements;
  • impose new requirements respecting training, roof plans, site-specific work plans, and Ministry notification;
  • enhance previous requirements relating to design, operational, technical and engineering requirements; and,
  • amend existing inspection, testing and maintenance requirements.

The main changes can be found in Sections 136.01 to 142.06 of the Regulation.

The amendments to O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) follow previous amendments to other regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that required “working at heights” training for employees that use certain methods of fall protection. [Note: Please see our previous blog, dated April 1, 2015, which addressed the above-noted changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation, which required “working at heights” training.]

Condominiums that use suspended access equipment should review the regulations to ensure compliance with the new requirements.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News for more blogs about Occupational Health and Safety issues in condominiums.

For more information visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website.

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Bill 132 – Update to Workplace Harassment: Is Your Condo Compliant?

A condominium corporation is an employer for the purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and therefore is required to adhere to the obligations under the OHSA relating to prevention of workplace violence and harassment. Such obligations include having workplace violence and harassment policies and programs, which must be tailored to the condominium corporation’s workplace.


Bill 132, the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016, introduced amendments to various laws to address issues including sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic violence. Effective September 8, 2016, the bill amends the OHSA by updating the definition of Workplace Harassment to include “workplace sexual harassment”.

Under the OHSA, workplace sexual harassment now means:

  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or

 Making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome;

The amendments to the OHSA by the Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act also include steps that an employer must take in an effort to address workplace harassment, including:

  • Having a written program that must, amongst other things, include explanations as to how incidents and complaints will be investigated;


  • Ensuring that an investigation, appropriate in the circumstances, is conducted into incidents and complaints of workplace harassment;


  • Informing the complainant and the alleged harasser in writing of the results of the investigation and of any corrective action that has been taken or that will be taken as a result of the investigation;


  • Reviewing the workplace harassment program as often as necessary, but at least annually, to ensure that it adequately implements the workplace harassment policy.


It is important to review your corporation’s workplace violence and harassment policies and programs so that any changes required as a result of the amendments can be made, to ensure that the corporation is complying with these provisions of the OHSA.

We always recommend that the corporation’s policies and programs be in writing, even though the OHSA allows policies to not be in writing if there are fewer than six employees.

Employers have an obligation to take the issues of workplace violence and workplace harassment seriously, and to act in accordance with its obligations if a complaint is received, or an incident occurred.

If you have any questions about workplace violence and harassment policies and programs for your corporation, or questions about the amendments to the OHSA, please contact us.

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Employment Issues with Live-in Superintendents

Not happy with the performance of your live-in superintendent? In such circumstances can a condominium corporation simply dismiss its superintendent and hire a new employee to immediately move into the unit?

The short answer is no. Before taking any steps to dismiss a live-in superintendent, a condominium Board must consider various factors, including the following, to ensure the lawfulness of its actions.

1. Do the performance deficiencies amount to “just cause” for dismissal enabling termination of the superintendent’s employment without notice or compensation? 

Although the courts assess every case on its merits, a judicial finding of “just cause” for dismissal is infrequent, and is generally made only in cases where the employee has committed a very serious transgression, such as fraud. Moreover, if an employer’s allegation of cause is later determined by the courts to be unfounded, the employer has exposure to additional liability for any related harm caused to the employee by a failed assertion of cause.

2. Is there is a health issue that may be underlying the performance deficiencies?

If so, then further medical information should be obtained to determine whether the reasonable accommodation of an identified disability must be made, in compliance with the corporation’s obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Employers who refuse to accommodate disabled employees by, for example, granting the employee a leave of absence to recover from a serious illness, will not be well placed to successfully defend against a human rights application. The damages awarded for a discriminatory firing may be extensive, so proceed with caution whenever there is a suspected health issue.

3. Is there an employment contract in place that is legally binding? Does the contract stipulate the period of notice or compensation in lieu of notice that must be provided at the time of termination and, if so, does the termination clause meet the minimum requirements prescribed under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act?

A contract that does not comply with the Employment Standards Act will not be upheld by the courts. In the absence of a binding written contract, a dismissed superintendent will be entitled to statutory notice of termination of up to 8 weeks, or the equivalent value of the salary, accrued vacation pay, and continued benefits through that period.

The employee may have additional entitlements under the common law to reasonable notice of dismissal or compensation in lieu of reasonable notice. In determining the common law reasonable notice period, courts consider a number of factors including the employee’s age, level of position, length of employment, and any recruitment issues. The corporation’s obligation to compensate is subject to the employee’s obligation to mitigate any loss by securing alternative employment.

4. Can the corporation insist that the superintendent vacate the unit upon dismissal?

Unique to the situation of live-in superintendents is the legislated right of a condominium corporation under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act to require the live-in superintendent to vacate the unit one week following a termination of employment. Once a decision has been made to terminate the employment of a live-in superintendent, it is usually best to have the residential unit vacated as soon as legally permissible. However, the compensation payable to a dismissed superintendent must include the value of the superintendent’s loss of the live-in residential unit, pro-rated over the statutory and/or common law notice periods, as applicable.

5. How may a condominium corporation best protect itself proactively against liability?

It is recommended that prior to hiring any new superintendent the Board have him/her sign a letter of offer and Employment Agreement containing clauses drafted to limit the corporation’s liability in the event of a termination of employment. To ensure the Agreement’s legally binding effect, new hires must be given the opportunity to seek legal advice before signing, and the document must be signed before the job commences and before any work is performed.

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New Requirements Under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation

On July 1, 2014, a new regulation came into force under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, entitled Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training. This regulation requires employers to ensure that workers (who perform work for the employer) complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program.

Amendments to the Regulation come into force today (April 1, 2015), which provide for an additional training requirement on employers of workers who are required to use certain methods of fall protection. These employers must ensure that the worker has completed a working at heights training program and that the validity period of the training has not expired. Could your condominium be affected by these additional training requirements?

Condominiums should review this regulation and the requirements to determine whether they could be considered an “employer”. If there is a possibility that the Corporation could be an employer, it should ensure that it verifies all workers have undergone the required training.

[Note: The working at heights training is valid for three years from the date of successful completion of the training program.]

For more information visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website.

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