Members of Prevention Council Announced
On the afternoon of Thursday, August 9th the Ministry of Labour announced the names of the individuals selected to serve on its Prevention Council. Members of the Council are:
Organized Labour Representatives:
Patrick Dillon, Business Manager, Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council
Colin Grieve, Occupational Disease Worker Advocate, Hamilton and Ontario Professional Firefighters Associations
Nancy Hutchison, Secretary Treasurer, Ontario Federation of Labour
Brian Neath, Regional Director, Ontario, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada
Non-unionized Worker Representative
Linda Vannucci, Director, Toronto Workers Health and Safety Legal Clinic
Michael Oxley, President and Chief Financial Officer, DuPont Canada
Gloria Rajkumar, President, Superior Independent Medical Assessment Centres (SIMAC)
Roy Slack, President, Cementation Canada Inc.
Occupational Health and Safety Expert
Graeme Norval, Associate Chair and Undergraduate Coordinator, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto
Two additional appointments will be made in the near future. These will be a fourth employer representative and a representative from the WSIB.
The absence of a construction employer on the Council is a serious and glaring mistake and COCA has communicated to both the Office of the Minister of Labour and to the MoL's Prevention Office that we fully expect the fourth employer representative, who will be appointed in the near future, to be from the construction industry.
The process that led to the creation of the Prevention Council was precipitated by a tragic accident in our industry. Consequently, much of the work of the Prevention Council and the Prevention Office will focus on our industry. It would be a huge mistake if the Ministry of Labour chooses not to have someone with construction industry experience and perspective participating in the work of the Council.
MoL Prevention Office Update
Among the key points made in a recent update to the Ontario Business Coalition by the Ministry of Labour's Chief Prevention Officer, George Gritziotis, were the following:
- Service agreements have been made with the WSIB with regard to the continuing
responsibility, on an interim basis, for the following programs: 1) Safety
Groups; 2) SCIP; 3) Joint Health and Safety Committee certification; and 4) RAC
- The MoL's value for money audit this year will focus on research and grants; there will be
an emphasis on evidence-based and workplace-based research that produces performance metrics
- The MoL and WSIB are establishing a Funding Review Committee to consider a new
- With regard to the Dean recommendations, the poster has been published, the mandatory H&S awareness workbook has been piloted and the supervisor training has been posted
- A committee comprised of all Section 21 co-chairs is being established; individuals to serve on the Section 21 Committees for small business and for vulnerable workers are being identified
- Three Directors have been hired, including David Zurawel in the role of Director of Stakeholder Relations, and they are now hiring their managers and staff
- The CEOs of the Health and Safety Associations have met with the CPO and discussed an integrated service delivery strategy
- The CPO will present his prevention and enforcement strategy to the Minister early in October
- There will be a "soft announcement" regarding the appointments of the members of the Prevention Council once the individuals being considered have been duly vetted;
- The WSIB's accreditation model will be reviewed along with the Safety Groups program; a web-based solution may be developed for small business
- The CPO will evaluate the Workwell program; the best elements of Workwell will be built
into a re-engineered approach
Ontario College of Trades Update
According to its website, the College is presently:
- preparing to begin enrolling members in 2013
- about to publish information on membership classes, fees and timing
- actively maintaining and developing standards for more than 150 apprenticeship trades
- convening meetings of Divisional and Trade Boards
- preparing to reach out directly to members to share information about the launch of the College
COCA Treasurer, Robert LeChien was recently appointed to the College's Roster of Adjudicators. Whether you support or oppose the College, you have to agree this is a sound appointment.
The College is currently hiring a Manager of Investigations and Hearings, an Accountant and a Manager of Standards.
A number of ratio reviews have been completed and others are underway, following the ambitious schedule of reviews that the College published some time ago.
Opposition to the establishment of the College of Trades appears to be growing in the construction industry as a number of local mixed trade associations have publicly added their names to the list of contrarians. Awareness about the College in the other three sectors (motive power, industrial and service) appears to be extremely low at the present time.
Against a backdrop of significant opposition from a group of construction employers associations that's reported on with regularity in the DCN, the College is beginning to garner some positive press in the mainstream media.
College of Trades Chair Ron Johnson and Ontario Construction Employers Coalition Chair Sean Reid are scheduled to make separate presentations at COCA's Board of Directors meeting on September 25th.
It's expected that opposition will mount even further when the College begins to assess fees in 2013.
COCA's 4th Annual Construction Day at Queen's Park
On Monday September 24, 2012 COCA will host its fourth annual Construction Day lobby day at Queen's Park.
As in previous years the day will include recognition of the event and participants from the floor of the
Ontario Legislature, meetings with senior government officials and an evening reception.
We're pleased to report that more than 20 volunteers from 13 member associations have already confirmed their participation and our first event sponsor, the Barrie Construction Association has pledged financial support.
We look forward to another successful event. For sponsorship information please contact Sue in the COCA office at firstname.lastname@example.org
COCA to Co-host breakfast fundraiser for House Speaker the Honourable Dave Levac
On Tuesday September 25, 2012, COCA, along with the Provincial Building Trades will host a breakfast fundraiser for MPP and House Speaker the Honourable Dave Levac at Regis College in Toronto.
Dave has long been a friend to COCA and the construction industry, sponsoring our events at Queen's Park, contributing to the caucus conversation about the need for Construction Lien Act reform and championing the introduction of Prompt Payment Legislation in the province of Ontario through a Private Member's Bill in June 2011 (unfortunately the Bill died the same day when the House rose).
Tickets are $250 per person. Come out and show your support for an MPP that supports construction!
By-elections called for September 6th in Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughn
The Premier has issued a writ for by-elections in the ridings of Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan on Thursday September 6th. The by-election in Kitchener-Waterloo was precipitated by the resignation of longtime PC MPP Elizabeth Witmer who has subsequently been appointed as the new Chair of the WSIB. Additionally, a by-election will also be held in Vaughan after the recent and sudden resignation of longtime Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara for personal reasons.
In Kitchener-Waterloo, a full slate of candidates has already been nominated including:
- Eric Davis - Liberal: Education, Municipal planning lawyer at Miller Thompson
- Catherine Fife - NDP: Chair of the Waterloo Region District School Board, President of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association
- Tracey Weiler - PC: former RIM executive, Wilfrid Laurier University instructor
In Vaughan, the following candidates have been nominated so far:
- Steven Del Duca - Liberal: Director of Public Affairs, Carpenters' District Council of Ontario and former executive assistant to Greg Sorbara,
- Tony Genco - PC: Former Chair of the York Central Hospital Board and President & CEO of Downsview Park
- The NDP have yet to nominate a candidate for the riding of Vaughan.
If the governing Liberals win both seats they will recapture a majority government in the Legislature.
Generally speaking, by-elections are traditionally referendums on the governing party, but with so much at stake with these two by-elections, heightened focus will be paid not only to the current government agenda but largely on local issues. While the Liberals feel confident recapturing their seat in Vaughan, Kitchener-Waterloo remains the one to watch as it has quickly become a three-horse race. That being said, by-elections are funny beasts, anything can happen.
The WSIB has begun its public awareness campaign encouraging independent operators to pre-register before January 2, 2012. The campaign includes very straight forward messages targeted to independent operators working in construction stating that the law has changed and that they must register with the WSIB.
We anticipate significant backlash early in the New Year when unaware independent operators learn for the first time that they are required to pay WSIB premiums.
Funding Review Update
The WSIB will begin consulting with stakeholders with regard to how it addresses the recommendations contained in the Funding Fairness report.
It's expected that the WSIB will announce the premium rates for 2013 towards the end of September. Readers of COCA's monthly newsletter know that, in the wake of the Arthurs Report, we have been alerting contractors for possible rate increases of between 5% and 10%.
Modernization of the WSIB's Appeals Process
The WSIB recently initiated an internal review of its appeals program. A consultation document titled "Modernization of the WSIB's Appeals Program" has been published to bring focus to the consultations. The current system has a backlog of almost 5,000 appeals and the wait time for an appeal to be assigned to an Appeals Resolution Officer is six months.
The timeline proposed in the consultation document for employers to submit a Response Form to a worker's Objection Form provides is unreasonably short (officially 14 days but practically only 8 or 9 business days); this does not give employers adequate time review the access package, conduct the necessary interviews and complete the response; COCA will be strongly objecting to this in its submission.
To discourage frivolous appeals, Objection Forms require the objecting employer or worker to sign the form to confirm they understand the "downside risk" of the process.
COCA's WSIB-OH&S Committee recently reviewed the consultation document as well as the comprehensive submission made by Michael Zacks of the Office of the Employer Advisor; the Committee fully supports the recommendations made in the OEA submission.
COCA believes that it's time for the appeals program to be streamlined and that the new process must be fair to both workers and employers, that reasonable timelines be provided for the exchange of information and that the rules be strictly enforced to avoid unnecessary delay.
WSIB Benefits Review
A Consultation Secretariat has been established within the WSIB to oversee the ongoing renewal of WSIB policies in accordance with the policy renewal framework published by the WSIB some time ago. The consultation model that will be used by the secretariat will be similar to the one used by Professor Harry Arthurs, the independent chair for the Funding Review.
For 2012-13 the following policies have been identified for review:
- Work disruptions
- Permanent impairments
- Aggravation basis
The WSIB has engaged former Deputy Minister of Labour and former Interim CEO of the Workers Compensation Board of Ontario, Jim Thomas, to serve as the independent chair for this round of consultations and he has met with the Ontario Business Coalition to outline his mandate and the process and he has published a consultation paper. COCA will be responding.
Ministry of Labour Report
The Ministry of Labour's monthly Report to the Provincial Labour Management Health and Safety Committee for August 2012 reported one fatality in the construction industry in the month of July as a result of a worker being pinned underneath a concrete pump truck that rolled over. The fatality was in the residential sector. There were 10 critical injuries, 5 fall-related (three multi-level falls, one a ladder fall and one a scaffold fall), one was due to heat stress and four were struck by equipment.
To the end of July there have been 10 fatalities in the construction industry in 2012 versus 12 in 2011 and 75 criticals versus 74 a year ago.
As we have stated before, there is much work to be done to improve our industry's health and safety performance to ensure every worker returns home safely every night of the week.
In a recent communication to stakeholders the Construction Sector Council (CSC)reported the following:
That many industry stakeholders have expressed their concerns about the loss of CSC's Labour Market Information (LMI) Program to various government representatives
That the CSC will be transitioning to a new governance model that was approved by its board of directors
That the CSC is soliciting financial contributions to support the new governance model
That the CSC will be responding to a call for concepts from the federal government's new Grants and Contributions Program to develop labour market information for the Canadian construction industry
That the CSC will deliver the 2013 LMI forecast in January 2013.
More information is available on the CSC's website.
Bert Clark appointed new CEO of Infrastructure Ontario
Infrastructure Ontario has announced that Bert Clark has replaced David Livingston, who recently left to become the Chief of Staff to Premier Dalton McGuinty, as the new President and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario (IO).
Clark takes over the procurement agency responsible for large infrastructure projects including transportation, hospital, justice and education facilities using the alternative financing procurement (AFP) model. Clark comes to IO after spending the past four years as the managing director of Scotia Capital’s Global Infrastructure Financing Group. Clark has also previously served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Premier McGuinty.