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The Supreme Court of Canada’s new “plausible inference” test: When is a construction deficiency discovered for the purposes of a limitation period?

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In July of this year the Supreme Court of Canada, in Grant Thornton LLP v. New Brunswick, 2021 SCC 31, introduced a new test for the commencement of limitations periods in Canada.  It held that the clock starts ticking on a limitation period when a “plausible inference” of liability arises on facts that are, or ought to be, known through the exercise of reasonable diligence.  The Court also addressed the extent to which a party might need an expert’s report before such an inference arises.

The decision may have significant consequences for the construction industry.  This, because the “discoverability” of construction defects has always been difficult to assess.  Consider, for example, cracks which appear in a newly poured foundation.  These might be attributable to shrinkage, not a deficiency.  They might also not be worth suing over.  Has the owner, upon noticing the cracks, “discovered” a claim against the contractor, concrete supplier, geotechnical engineer, structural engineer and architect simply because a “plausible inference” can be drawn that the cracks might be attributable to something any one of them might be responsible for?  Can the owner take a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, or must it investigate the cause of the cracking in an effort to figure out what is going on (and who might be responsible)?

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VACCINE REQUIREMENTS FOR CITY OF BARRIE FACILITIES

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VACCINE REQUIREMENTS FOR CITY OF BARRIE FACILITIES

City complying with provincial regulations to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at recreation/culture facilities

(Barrie, ON) On September 1, 2021, the Government of Ontario announced that proof of COVID-19 vaccination would be required in select settings as of September 22, 2021. On September 14, the Government of Ontario released regulations and guidance for requiring proof of vaccination to enter certain facilities. In accordance with the law, the City of Barrie will require proof of vaccination to access select indoor services and programs taking place at community centres, arenas, pools and entertainment/cultural venues. Exemptions will be made as permitted by the Government of Ontario’s regulations.

The following will be required at point of entry:
• Ontario Ministry of Health COVID-19 vaccination certificate or other Government issued vaccination record.
• Acceptable identification which includes name & birthdate – photo ID is not required.
o Examples include birth certificate, citizenship card, driver’s license or other government issued ID.

As per provincial regulations, anyone who refuses to share the required information will not be permitted to enter the City recreation/culture centres. Limited exceptions apply.

Read the full press release

TEMPORARY LAYOFF EXEMPTION, PROOF OF VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS AND MEDICAL EXEMPTIONS TO VACCINATION

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TEMPORARY LAYOFF EXEMPTION, PROOF OF VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS AND MEDICAL EXEMPTIONS TO VACCINATION

September 17, 2021

Ontario Government Extends Temporary Layoff Exemption to January 1, 2022

On May 29, 2020, the Government of Ontario introduced a regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) that provided relief to any employer that had temporarily laid off or reduced the wages and/or hours of a non-union employee due to COVID-19. The regulation largely exempts any such layoff or reduction from being deemed a termination of employment, such that there is no obligation to provide ESA notice or severance pay. The employee is deemed to be on an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”).

Read the Briefing Note from Sherrard Kuzz, LLP

ADDRESSING SUBSTANCE USE AND THE WORKPLACE

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The opioid overdose crisis is disproportionately affecting people working in the trades and construction. Other substances such as alcohol and cannabis are also of concern. To support employers and workers in these sectors, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction has partnered with Health Canada to produce a toolkit of resources. It’s called Substance Use and the Workplace: Supporting Employers and Employees in the Trades.

This collection of resources is aimed at helping employers address employee substance use, particularly among young men working in the trades. Employers can find ready-to-use resources from more than 30 organizations to learn how to reduce risks related to substances and substance use disorder, and to support workplace health and safety. The toolkit includes resources to help:

• Educate employees about substances and their effects,
• Prevent substance use harms,
• Address employee substance use,
• Find services and supports, and
• Access related information from key reports and organizations.

Included among the resources are four new CCSA posters. Designed to be printed and shared, they provide accessible information on the opioid overdose crisis and ways to address it:

What Are Opioids?
Canada’s Opioid Crisis: What You Should Know
Canada’s Opioid Crisis: How You Can Help
Opioids and Pain Management

We encourage you to share this toolkit of resources across your networks, especially with employers in construction, trades and transport. Together, we can help prevent more deaths and harms from the opioid crisis and substance use in the workplace.

For more information on workplace safety and substance use, please visit CCSA’s Workplace Safety web page.

Covid 19 Vaccination Policies and Resources

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BCA Member, CCPartners recently held a webinar on Covid-19 vaccination policies in the workplace.  You can access the webinar on Youtube by following the link below.  There is also a Q and A session video that immediately followed the webinar.  The link to access that is also included below:

Episode 25: https://youtu.be/IDff_ufFIDA

Episode 25 Q&A: https://youtu.be/8vfQA0NsuKI

Are you looking for resources to create Covid-19 educational material for your employees?  The information contained in the link was curated from the Ministry of Education website that was created for the child care sector.  The educational information on Covid-19 applies to all sectors, not just the child care sector.

Educational Resources

The WSIB’s 2021 maximum insurable earnings ceiling was reduced

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The Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) is an independent agency of the Government of Ontario, providing free,confidential and expert worker’s compensation services to Ontario employers.
For more information please visit our website at employeradviser.ca

The WSIB’s 2021 maximum insurable earnings ceiling was reduced

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) was amended to reduce the 2021 maximum insurable earnings ceiling from $102,800 to $97,308. This change is retroactive to January 1, 2021. Employers should use the updated maximum insurable earnings ceiling of $97,308 when reporting all 2021 insurable earnings to the WSIB.

Reminder on paying any amounts deferred under the WSIB’s financial relief package

If you participated in the WSIB’s financial relief package in 2020, the deadline to repay any amounts deferred under the financial relief package (including any 2020 NEER or CAD-7 surcharges) is June 30, 2021.

Reporting to the WSIB regarding an employee’s adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine

The WSIB has indicated that in cases where an employee received a vaccine as a compulsory part of their employment (e.g.: the employer has a rule or policy requiring that employees be vaccinated) and experienced an adverse reaction to the vaccine, the employee may be eligible for WSIB benefits and the employer should file a Form 7 with the WSIB. The WSIB has further noted that an adverse reaction is a reaction that is serious and unexpected, causing symptoms beyond what might be considered normal side effects from a vaccine.

Additionally, the WSIB has announced that the costs of any COVID-19 vaccination claims will be allocated on a Schedule-wide basis (rather than being allocated to a specific employer or class).

If you would like to speak with one of our expert advisers for more information please feel free to call or email us:
Toll Free: 1-800-387-0774 Direct: 416-327-0020
E-mail: askoea@ontario.ca

 

 

Ontario Supporting Skills and Safety Training for Electrical Workers

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NEWS RELEASE
Ontario Supporting Skills And Safety Training for Electrical Workers
Investment will support safe and effective training for workers and apprentices
May 20, 2021
Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development

OAKVILLE — The Ontario government is investing $5.3 million to support new and enhanced state-of-the-art training to upskill 500 electrical workers, giving them a competitive edge and boosting homegrown talent. This initiative, offered in partnership with electrical contractor Spark Power, will provide free training for those individuals and upgrade their existing online, on-the-job and in-classroom education programming. Spark Power will also create scholarships to encourage youth to pursue rewarding careers in electrical professions.
Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, along with Stephen Crawford, MPP for Oakville.
“Young people need to know that a career in the electrical trades is in-demand, exciting and within reach,” said Minister McNaughton. “We’re helping them get there by investing in great ideas like this one, which will help new and experienced electrical professionals sharpen their skills with state-of-the-art training. This is just one more way we’re keeping our economy strong.”
Spark Power’s free training is expected to start in August 2021, and will include electrical maintenance, power generation systems and health and safety regulations for their workers and potential new employees. The new program will use a variety of modern learning techniques that make the training safer and more effective, including virtual reality and augmented reality, webinars, online training, hands-on training and job shadowing.
“We are thrilled to receive grant funding from the Skills Development Fund,” said Richard Jackson, President & CEO of Spark Power. “With this support, Spark Power is enhancing its training initiatives by focusing on the company’s electricians, technicians, and apprentices. This year-long program will enable us to continue implementing and expanding innovative educational technologies, cross-team training, and outreach to local high schools and post-secondary institutions to recruit new talent within the power sector.”
In addition to creating scholarships, Spark Power will provide paid placements for co-op students and apprentices to help them start their careers. “Spark Power is a respected energy and electrical company with a strong commitment to the Oakville community,” said Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP for Oakville North–Burlington. “I’m pleased the Ontario government is supporting Spark Power with a $5.3 million investment in employee training. It’s companies like Spark Power that will help lead Ontario back to economic success and prosperity and our government is helping them in every way we can.”
This project aligns with Ontario’s Skilled Trades Strategy, an initiative that helps support economic recovery by breaking the stigma of the skilled trades, simplifying the apprenticeship system, and encouraging more employer involvement.
“The Ontario government continues to generate innovative solutions to get our province back to work and ensure businesses have access to the qualified people they need to recover from the pandemic,” said Stephen Crawford, MPP for Oakville and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure. “The Skills Development Fund investment of $5.3 million to Spark Power Corp provides an opportunity to deliver advanced training and employee development. Spark Power will continue to be a local leader and job creator.”
Funding for the project comes from Ontario’s $115 million Skills Development Fund. More than 500 applications were received in the first month for this new fund, and a second application round is being planned for later in 2021.

Quick Facts

  • The need to replace retiring workers is greater for skilled trades workers than for other occupations. In 2016, nearly 1 in 3 journeypersons were aged 55 years or older.
  • As part of the 2021 Budget, Ontario continues to support workers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by investing an additional $614.3 million during 2020–21 and 2021–22 to provide targeted employment and training supports.
  • On May 6, 2021, the government introduced the Building Opportunities in the Skilled Trades Act to make the province’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system more efficient, accessible and easier to navigate. If passed, this legislation will help tradespeople get their certification from one reliable, streamlined destination through a new Crown agency, Skilled Trades Ontario, that would replace the Ontario College of Trades.

Additional Resources

Media Contacts

Ryan Whealy
Minister’s Office
Ryan.Whealy@ontario.ca

Kalem McSween
Communications Branch
mltsdmedialine@ontario.ca
416-326-7405

Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Frequently Asked Questions

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On April 29, 2021, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 284, the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act, 2021. This legislation amends the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) to provide time off (paid and unpaid) for COVID-19-related matters, including vaccination.

On April 30, 2021, we published a briefing note to address key components of Bill 284. We now share common questions received from clients (not addressed in the initial briefing note).

Read the FAQ’s here

Rapid Antigen Tests for Construction

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Beginning May 7, constructions organizations looking to provide COVID-19 screening at their workplace can see if they are eligible to receive free rapid antigen tests through the Ontario Together website.

The COVID-19 Testing for Organizations page provides a ‘one-stop shop’ to apply for rapid antigen test kits through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program. The website will help an organization determine their eligibility for free tests, then intake them into the program providing all the necessary guidance and information about how to order tests and set up a screening clinic on-site.

For organizations not eligible to participate in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, the COVID-19 Testing for Organizations page has information about alternative places to access or purchase rapid antigen tests.

More information can be found at ontario.ca/testingonsite

Role of the Government of Ontario

Through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, the Government of Ontario provides free rapid antigen tests to high-risk communities, in-scope organizations and essential workplaces.

Centralizing the process to access rapid antigen tests through the Ontario Together website has been led by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Ontario Digital Services, Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade, and Government Services Integration Cluster.

The Ministry of Health also provides rapid antigen tests to support additional antigen test distribution channels, including through Chambers of Commerce and the Creative Destruction Lab Rapid Screening Consortium.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the Ministry of Health will continue to support more sectors in accessing rapid antigen tests.

Vaccination Schedule for Construction

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Construction workers who do not already qualify for vaccination can get vaccinated beginning the week of May 10th. This has been moved ahead by about one month. They fall into the “Cannot work from home, group 2” category.

Group 2 Essential Workers Who Cannot Work from Home:

• Essential and critical retail workers (including grocery, foodbank and non-clinical pharmacy workers, ServiceOntario workers, ServiceCanada and Passport Canada workers, wholesalers and general goods, restaurant workers, LCBO)
• Workers in manufacturing industries directly involved in supporting the COVID19 response, construction including infrastructure, and other essential businesses and services where facilities are at heightened risk for COVID-19 outbreaks and spread.
• Social workers and other social services staff providing in-person client services (including youth justice workers, OW and ODSP case workers)
• Courts and justice system workers (including probation and parole workers) 9 Only includes school workers who are currently working in-person and cannot perform duties remotely. PHUs may work with MOH and the Ministry of Education to address special circumstances where vaccination would allow resumption of critical in-person work. 22 | Page
• Transportation, warehousing and distribution workers (including public transit workers, taxi drivers, truck drivers supporting essential services, marine and rail cargo and maintenance, highway maintenance)
• Electricity (including workers employed in system operations, generation, transmission, distribution and storage).
• Communications infrastructure workers (including cellular, satellite, landline, internet, public safety radio)
• Water and wastewater management workers
• Financial services workers (bank branch staff)
• Veterinarians and veterinary teams
• Waste management workers
• Oil and petroleum workers (including those working in petroleum refineries; those involved in the storage, transmission and distribution of crude oil and petroleum products and those needed for the retail sale of fuel).
• Natural gas and propane gas workers (including those working in the compression, storage, transmission and distribution of natural gas and propane)
• Mine workers (including those needed to ensure the continued operation of active mines) • Uranium processing workers (those working in the refining and conversion of uranium, and fabrication of fuel for nuclear power plants).

View schedule here