Policy statement on cannabis and the Ontario Human Rights Code

We have been flooded with info on the new Cannabis legalization (as I’m sure you have too), on issues from the HR, legal, liability and costs to everyones opinion on how it should be dealt with in the workplace.

I thought this might be a good piece to share (being from Human Rights and all) as it gives some examples and talks about the Employer Duty to Accommodate.

Cannabis or “marijuana” laws are changing in Canada.[1] It will now be legal for people age 19 or older in Ontario to buy, possess, use and grow recreational cannabis. Provincial laws generally permit cannabis use wherever laws permit tobacco use.[2] Cannabis use for a medical purpose (medical cannabis) continues to be legal.

Ontario’s Human Rights Code (the Code) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policies[3] apply to cannabis in the same way they do for other drugs. The Code protects people who use cannabis for a medical purpose related to a disability from discriminatory treatment in employment, housing, services and other areas. The Code also prohibits discrimination against people who have or are perceived to have an addiction to cannabis based on the ground of disability.

People who use cannabis for a medical purpose related to a disability, and people addicted to cannabis, also have the right to disability-related accommodation to the point of undue hardship – that is, significant health and safety risks or excessive costs. People seeking accommodation related to cannabis use because of a disability may need to provide medical or other information to support their needs. Employees who use cannabis because of a disability may need to provide information verifying their fitness for work.


What employees need to know about LTD insurance

A good (brief) article by an employment lawyer on what employees need to know about THEIR responsibilities when absent from work.

Employees who receive long-term disability benefits from their work are given significant allowances, but they may not be aware of certain limits and obligations that come with those entitlements.

In a recent note, Devan Marr of Strigberger Brown Armstrong discussed the different misconceptions employees may have regarding their LTD coverage. He noted that, contrary to popular belief, employers have a right to know specific details behind an employee’s inability to come to work.


Bill 47 update – proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000

Here is a brief article with a chart that illustrate the proposed changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act that we’ve been following

On October 23, 2018, the Ontario government formally announced its intention to make significant changes to employment and labour legislation in Ontario. In large part, these proposed changes will reverse or amend the legislation that the government previously passed through Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Some of the Bill 148 changes have already been phased in during 2018, such as the 10 days of “personal emergency leave” (two of which were paid) and the increase in minimum wage to $14 per hour, while others were to have taken effect in 2019, such as the new scheduling requirements.


BC Employer Health Tax begins January 1, 2019

A note for BC employers that have payrolls over $500,000.


The British Columbia government has introduced legislation – Bill 44, Budget Measures Implementation (Employer Health Tax) Act, 2018 – which sets out the Employer Health Tax (EHT) announced in the province’s 2018 budget. The EHT is an annual tax on remuneration paid to British Columbia employees and former employees in a calendar year. It will eventually replace Medical Services Plan premiums in the province, which have traditionally been borne by individual British Columbians, although such payments are often covered by employer benefit plans. Subject to exemptions targeted largely to small businesses, employers will be required to register for the EHT in January 2019 and begin remitting that year. The legislation will apply differently to employers with smaller British Columbia remuneration above $500,000, employers who establish or cease having a permanent establishment in British Columbia, and to charitable and non-profit employers.


Keeping up with the changes to employment and labour law (and the changes to those changes)

Blaney McMurtry is an employment law firm that I have had speak at many of my broker education events over the years and they always provide great information, and are also a great resource if you ever need legal assistance on this type of issue. This seminar is available free of charge.  Click on the link below for details or to register.

2018 and 2019 were already shaping up to be a period of major change in employment and labour law in Ontario and across Canada. With the recent political developments in Ontario, employers now face the prospect of tracking whether the new laws they have been planning for are being maintained, modified, or even repealed.

This seminar will provide participants with an update on recent developments in the law, including practical strategies and tips on managing the impact and challenges of an uncertain regulatory environment. Topics include:

  • Legislative updates to laws relating to employment standards (e.g. Bill 148), pay transparency, occupational health and safety, and human rights
  • Cannabis in the workplace, including immigration-related risks for employers and their employees following the legalization of cannabis
  • Mental health and the workplace, including updates on the WSIB’s new Chronic Mental Stress policy

WHEN  Thursday November 8, 2018 8:00am – 10:00am

WHERE  Blaney McMurtry LLP  2 Queen Street East, Suite 1500, Toronto, Ontario M5C 3G5

REGISTRATION  Please register by Thursday November 1, 2018


The End Of Bill 148?

Over the past year or so, we shared the changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) that Bill 148 was intended to implement.  Then we then passed along the legislative changes as they came into effect late last year and early this year (with more scheduled for 2018). Now we have to report that it looks like these changes may be rolled back.  We’ll follow the situation and report as we hear more.

There is a short article below as well, as a City TV web post with videos.

With the election of a new Government in Ontario, many employers wondered what would become of Bill 148.  As we have reported previously, Bill 148 was considered transformational legislation passed by the previous Government aimed at assisting precarious and vulnerable workers, which included such provisions as increasing the minimum wage, increased vacation, paid sick time and equal pay for part time employees performing substantially similar work to full time employees.  A few months after the election, and given recent statements to the media, we know that changes are coming.


Ford government prepares to drop the axe on labour reforms