i) As of January 1, 2016, the Workers Compensation Act in Manitoba has been amended to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder as a work-related occupational disease. Manitoba is the first province in Canada to recognize post-traumatic stress disorder in its legislation as an occupational disease.
ii) The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (the “WSIA”) has been amended to include protections for workers with respect to filing claims with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (the “WSIB”). The amendments prohibit employers from taking any action to discourage or prevent workers from filing claims. Employers acting in violation of these amendments will be subject to a monetary penalty. The maximum monetary penalty for violating the WSIA has been increased from $100,000 to $500,000. The amendments have also led to the creation of a Fair Practices Commissioner to act as an ombudsman of the WSIB. The duties of the commissioner will include, at a minimum, investigating complaints and making recommendations.
iii) As of January 1, 2016, changes came into effect under the Workers Compensation Act in British Columbia. The changes require employers to immediately notify WorkSafeBC of any accidents involving a fire or an explosion that had the potential to cause serious injury to a worker. The changes also require employers to perform a preliminary investigation within 48 hours of an incident, and a full investigation within 30 days of an incident. The changes impose specific obligations with respect to investigation methods and the roles of workplace parties. In addition, the changes require the disclosure of the preliminary and final investigation reports to either the joint health and safety committee, or the workplace as a whole, depending on the employer’s workplace structure.
iii) In Ontario, new requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 came into effect on January 1, 2016. Among the new requirements, the changes require private sector organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario to include accessibility requirements in all stages of the employment relationship including assessment and selection, performance management, career development, etc. Employers must also have workplace emergency response information plans for employees, and documented individualized accommodation plans and processes.