Ministry overview

Purpose

Ontario strives to be the best jurisdiction in North America to recruit, retain and reward workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Province will create dynamic labour markets and safe workplaces, with fair and competitive labour and employment regulations

Ministry contribution to priority outcomes

The Ministry supports a number of key priorities and is particularly aligned with the government's plan for growing the economy and creating good jobs, by creating safe, fair, healthy and stable workplaces that increase productivity, and create a competitive economy that attracts jobs and investment to Ontario.

MOL contributes to these priorities through the efficient delivery of public services in its three primary areas of responsibility:

  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Employment Standards
  • Labour Relations

In its delivery of these programs, the ministry is a key contributor to the government's Open for Business Action Plan, which aims to reduce regulatory barriers to business growth by 25%, which are expected to provide Ontario businesses with over $400 million in ongoing savings on their compliance costs. MOL is contributing to this priority by updating and reviewing outdated and inefficient regulatory requirements, delivering new and innovative tools, and improving compliance supports to help businesses. The way in which the ministry's programs and services are delivered supports Ontario's economy and investment climate, while making Ontario "open for business."

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Program aims to reduce and prevent fatalities, illness and injuries across Ontario workplaces. A safe work environment is vital for protecting the well-being of Ontario workers and ensuring higher productivity and lower costs for employers. The OHS program delivers enforcement and prevention activities, in collaboration with system partners such as the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and the Health and Safety Associations (HSAs). Through OHS activities, the Ministry not only supports Ontario businesses, it also supports the government's efforts to attract jobs and investment to Ontario.

The Employment Standards Program helps create fair workplaces, thereby supporting the government's priority of growing the economy and creating good jobs.

This program also creates a level playing field for employers, thereby reinforcing a competitive business environment that attracts jobs and investment to Ontario.

The Labour Relations Program supports fair, harmonious, and stable workplaces and increases productivity by facilitating effective labour relations dispute resolution, making Ontario an attractive place for investment.

How MOL's key strategies support the government's key priorities

Priorities
  • Providing Greater Opportunities and Security
  • Helping Ontario Businesses Succeed
Results
  • More competitive and attractive economy and an Open for Business Ontario
  • Increased productivity in workplaces
  • Strong workplace culture of health and safety
  • Safer and healthier workplaces
  • Fair and equitable workplaces
  • Fair working conditions and paid wages for vulnerable and young workers
  • Protection from sexual violence and harassment in the workplace
  • Stable labour relations in the Broader Public Sector
  • Dynamic labour markets
Major activities and strategies
Occupational health and safety
  • Province-wide Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces strategy
  • Inspect workplaces with high-risk hazards to reduce injuries
  • Review and update health and safety legislation and regulations to enhance health and safety
  • Develop and implement health and safety awareness and training programs
  • Work with the WSIB to ensure its long-term sustainability while balancing interests of injured workers and employers
Employment standards
  • Resolve all claims filed including investigating workplaces and rendering decisions
  • Educate employers, employees, and stakeholders about their rights and responsibilities
  • Consistent application of relevant legislation to facilitate a level playing field for employers and employees and ensure competitiveness
  • Review and update employment laws to reflect the changing economy and workplaces
  • Modernize service delivery through digital initiatives
Labour relations
  • Facilitate labour relations dispute resolution to create fairness and stability in the workplace
  • Provide timely and neutral collective bargaining information to inform decision-making
  • Modernize service delivery through digital initiatives
  • Update and promote labour relations best practices and constructive labour-management relationships
  • Review and update labour laws to reflect the changing economy and workplaces

Ministry programs

Occupational health and safety

The goal of MOL's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) program is to reduce or eliminate workplace fatalities, injuries and illness.

The legislative foundation of MOL's OHS program is the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations, which establish rights and duties of workers, employers, and key institutions. The OHSA requires compliance with minimum standards to protect the health and safety of Ontario workers.The OHSA applies to all workplaces across all business sectors of Ontario except for work activities undertaken by an owner/occupant or "a servant" of an owner/occupant, in a private residence, or workplaces regulated by the federal government.

The OHS program in MOL has two major streams – OHS Enforcement and OHS Prevention.

OHS Enforcement

OHS Enforcement activities are focused on ensuring compliance with the OHSA and its regulations, particularly in high hazard workplaces. Safe At Work Ontario (SAWO) is the Ministry of Labour's strategy for enforcing the OHSA and is designed to:

  • Reduce workplace injuries and illness
  • Bring improvement to the health and safety culture of workplaces
  • Provide a level playing field for compliant companies

SAWO consists of three pillars:

  1. Core Enforcement through OHS inspectors who have broad powers to enforce the OHSA. This includes the power to inspect any provincially regulated workplace; investigate any potentially hazardous situation and/or work refusal, complaint, injury, illness or fatality; order compliance with the OHSA and its regulations; and/or, commence a prosecution, when warranted.

    Enforcement of the OHSA often occurs through targeted provincial and regional initiatives. Through these initiatives, MOL inspectors focus on raising awareness of key workplace hazards and identify and inspect high risk workplaces where these hazards might be present. MOL conducts initiatives in the construction, industrial, health care, and mining sectors.

    Plans for workplace inspection initiatives, along with compliance assistance material for employers such as guidelines, posters and fact sheets, are posted on the MOL website in advance. Each health and safety initiative also include a compliance assistance phase and a list of resources to help employers prepare their workplaces in advance of focused inspections. Results are generally posted within 90 days and summarized at the end of the year.

    MOL's enforcement activities also include:

    • Workplace visits outside of initiatives that focus on key hazards in the workplace identified in SAWO sector plans.
    • Reactive investigations which occur when a workplace notifies the Ministry of a complaint, work refusal, critical injury or fatality.
  2. Assisting and Supporting compliance through the provision of information, resources and tools to assist workplaces in meeting legislative requirements. MOL provides workplaces with compliance tools, including brochures, workbooks, e-learning modules and videos, health and safety blitzes and initiatives.
  3. Partnership, where the Ministry continues to build on its strong partnerships within Ontario's occupational health and safety system, including the WSIB, HSAs, approved training providers, and the Institute for Work & Health (IWH), to refine Ministry enforcement efforts. Ontario's HSAs provide training programs, products and services to the province's employers and workers.

    Ongoing stakeholder engagement is critical to the SAWO strategy. Every year, the ministry holds consultations to shape and improve its occupational health and safety compliance strategy and build closer partnerships with its stakeholders. Additionally, ministry representatives regularly meet with sector and issue-specific advisory committees and perform outreach activities. These consultations help the ministry understand workplace issues and respond quickly to changes in the workforce.

Enforcement of the OHSA results in workplaces being more compliant, leading to safe and productive workplaces that are essential for a supportive and dynamic business environment and the social and economic well-being of workers and their families.

OHS Prevention

MOL also conducts prevention activities, which are guided by the province-wide integrated occupational health and safety strategy. Under this strategy, MOL works with business, worker groups and the provincial health and safety system partners to create a culture where occupational health and safety is at the centre of the workplace. The Ministry is renewing the OHS strategy and developing priority areas over the next five years.

A key component of carrying out this strategy is the partnership MOL has with the HSAs. MOL funds and oversees HSAs that offer OHS training, education, awareness and specialized clinic services. The HSAs are comprised of the following organizations:

  • Sector-focused Safe Workplace Associations (SWAs):
    • Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA)
    • Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA)
    • Workplace Safety North (WSN)
    • Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS)
  • Medical clinics:
    • Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
  • Training Centre:
    • Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC)

Together with OHS system partners, both streams of the program also undertake activities such as: policy development (for the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act), legislative/regulatory reform, establishment of health and safety standards, information and knowledge management, performance management and evaluation, training and education to raise public awareness. The program also funds and oversees specialized research centres that strengthen the OHS system through enhanced delivery of OHS services and products.

MOL is in the process of renewing its integrated OHS strategy to ensure a health and safety system that is outcome-focused and measurable, and responsive to both worker and workplace needs. The Ministry is also amending Joint Health and Safety Certification standards to allow greater flexibility in learning options and save employers and workers time and money. Going forward, MOL will explore opportunities to build on partnerships and maximize value for dollar in the OHS system.

Employment standards (ES)

MOL enforces and promotes awareness of employment standards, such as minimum wage, hours of work, public holidays and other standards through the ES Program. The program contributes to the creation and maintenance of fair and equitable workplaces that promote a competitive business environment and a level playing field for employers. It supports the government's priority of providing greater opportunities and security for all Ontarians by creating fair workplaces. In a changing economy, the Ministry seeks to modernize legislation and transform the ES Program to enhance service delivery and improve working conditions in Ontario.

The program administers and enforces the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and other employment related legislation such as the Employment Protection of Foreign Nationals Act, 2009 (EPFNA), and the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 (PCPA).

Program services are delivered through regional field offices and by employment standards officers (ESOs) who investigate and resolve complaints under the ESA or EPFNA. ESOs also conduct proactive inspections of workplaces in high-risk sectors to help identify and deter non-compliance before violations and complaints arise. The objectives of the ES Program are twofold:

  • Investigating and rendering decisions on employee complaints about violations of employment law and
  • Educating employers, employees, and stakeholders, through outreach and partnerships, to promote awareness of ES

The ES Program also delivers research, analysis and the operational policy development function that ensures the employment standards framework (legislative and regulatory) reflects government commitments and is designed to support desired outcomes in respect of both ES and Pay Equity.

The program's activities help ensure that Ontario employees, including new, young, and vulnerable workers, receive the minimum standard in respect to wages and working conditions.

In recent years, a number of long-term trends have increased demand for the ES Program's services and highlighted the need to adapt to Ontario's modern economy and the changing landscape of work.

Ontario strives to be the best jurisdiction in North America to recruit, retain and reward workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The Province will create dynamic labour markets and safe workplaces, with fair and competitive labour and employment regulations.

In order to modernize and streamline compliance with the ESA, the Ministry will develop automated digital tools to help employers educate themselves to be self-reliant on understanding their obligations under the Employment Standards Act. This will reduce duplication and administrative burden on employers. Front-line workers at MOL will be able to focus on high-risk, high-impact investigations and claims resolution. The result will be savings for the government and employers, and fairer workplaces for employees.

Labour relations (LR)

Stable labour relations are a cornerstone of economic prosperity. The objective of Labour Relations (LR) is to create the stable labour relations climate and harmonious workplace relationships needed to foster productive, supportive and dynamic workplaces in Ontario. LR provides services to the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector and private sector, and is the central source of neutral labour relations information, policy, and research in Ontario.

Through LR, MOL administers and supports legislation including: Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA); Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act; Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993; Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, 2001; Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2011; Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997; Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997; and Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997 (Part IX).

Much of the LR program is delivered through the activities of MOL's Labour Relations Solutions Division (LRSD), which comprises the following:

  • Mediation Services facilitates and monitors the collective bargaining process and assists employers and trade unions to resolve outstanding issues through conciliation and mediation. Mediators assist employers and unions negotiating collective agreements under various labour-related statutes. The various statutes relate to over 16,000 collective bargaining relationships in Ontario covering approximately 1.8 million workers. In recent years, MOL has consistently reported settlements without a work disruption in more than 99% of these negotiations.
  • Arbitration Services facilitates and monitors the arbitration process, identifies and appoints individuals to act as arbitrators and nominees of arbitration cases, and catalogues arbitration awards for public availability. Through the Labour Management Advisory Committee, it maintains the Minister's list of qualified arbitrators to ensure experienced and acceptable persons are available for appointments and the arbitration of grievances.
  • Labour Relations Information Bureau/Collective Bargaining Information Services monitors, compiles and publishes collective bargaining information, maintains an e-Library of over 54,000 collective agreements for use by the labour relations community, the public and government, provides analytical and statistical reports, and provides analysis and information for the broader public sector, all levels of government and other stakeholders. LRIB illustrates the Ministry's commitment to working collaboratively with other ministries and jurisdictions across Canada in sharing best collective bargaining reporting and analytics practices.
  • LR promotes labour relations best practices through customized programs and regional workshops that are developed, designed and delivered by LRSD staff. The program has supported labour-management relationships through innovative and responsive training and workshops in a variety of areas to parties in unionized workplaces, as well as through grievance mediation.

In 2019-20, LR will continue to support collective bargaining across the province, including in key broader public sectors. This year, approximately 5,877 collective agreements covering 700,914 employees will be expiring.

In 2019-20, the LR program will also continue to modernize service delivery through the development of web-based tools and by leveraging machine-learning and artificial intelligence. For example, recent achievements in this area include:

  • The launch of Collective Bargaining Ontario, a new online resource that provides labour relations data and trends via interactive graphs and charts, searchable databases, and reports. This tool allows users to find information such as average wage increases, or the number of strikes and lockouts in a particular sector. In short, Collective Bargaining Ontario helps Ontarians find the labour relations data that they want for free and at any time.
  • The launch of e-Requests, a new web-based service that allows Ontarians to apply online for conciliation and arbitration support during their collective bargaining. This results in faster processing for applicants, more efficiency and the streamlining of services. It will also reduce costly and outdated paper requests.

Overall, these digital initiatives will improve client experience by making it easier to interact with the ministry and will expand the reach of the program.

The LR program also includes a policy development function, which manages legislative regulatory and policy development for labour relations in Ontario. This includes providing advice, research and analysis, supporting inter-ministerial and inter-governmental policy development; and conducting consultations with stakeholders.

Further information on Ministry of Labour initiatives can be obtained from the Ministry's website.

Open for business

Through program and policy delivery, MOL is contributing to the government's Open for Business Action Plan, which aims to reduce regulatory barriers to business growth by 25%, which are expected to provide Ontario businesses with over $400 million in ongoing savings on their compliance costs. Reducing costly and inefficient administrative and other burdens to business will make it easier and faster for companies to do business in Ontario. A research paper from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy in Toronto shows that Ontario has the highest cost of complying with regulations of any province – about $33,000 per business.

The government is undertaking a comprehensive review of regulations, with a focus on streamlining and eliminating unnecessarily complicated, outdated and duplicative regulations affecting business, while maintaining regulations that protect Ontario workers. The government is also looking at opportunities to have simpler, more user-centric ways to achieve regulatory goals that may involve using digital platforms and recognizing industry standards.

To support meeting the government's Open for Business (OFB) goals, the Ministry has been identifying opportunities to reduce burdens across its programs. This includes reducing the steps required for interactions with government, reducing duplication, and providing more flexibility in how workplaces can comply with requirements.

Since July 2018, the Ministry of Labour launched several initiatives that support the government's Open for Business Action Plan. These actions include:

  • Contributing to the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (Bill 47)
  • Allowing for more flexibility in labelling for hazardous materials
  • Contributing to the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act (Bill 66)
  • Implementing Employment Standards Self-Serve tool and Self-Audit tool
  • Launching Collective Bargaining Ontario
  • Developing an e-learning option for Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification

Further details of the above examples as well as other OFB initiatives are provided in the Annual Report.

Going forward, MOL is incorporating an OFB lens when working to prevent injury and illness, promoting and enforcing employment standards, and helping to settle workplace disputes.

Ministry agencies

The ministry remains committed to supporting the government's priorities of promoting jobs and economic growth in Ontario by contributing to a more competitive economy, poverty reduction and effective supports for the most vulnerable through its Occupational Health and Safety, Employment Standards, and Labour Relations programs.

The work of the ministry is supported by the following agencies:

Occupational health and safety:

Office of the Worker Adviser: The Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) provides advisory, representation, and educational services to non-unionized injured workers and survivors, and represents them before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. The OWA also provides support to non-unionized workers in Section 50 (Occupational Health and Safety Act) reprisal cases being heard at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Office of the Employer Adviser: The Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) provides advisory and educational services to all Ontario employers and representation services primarily to smaller employers, with fewer than 100 employees, with regard to workplace safety and insurance matters before the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal. The OEA also provides support to employers with fewer than 50 employees in Section 50 (Occupational Health and Safety Act) reprisal cases being heard at the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal: Two other agencies, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT), report to the Minister of Labour but are not included in the ministry's Expenditure Estimates, as they are not funded through the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

Employment standards

The Pay Equity Commission is comprised of the Pay Equity Office and the Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal.

Pay Equity Office: The Pay Equity Office (PEO) administers and enforces Ontario's Pay Equity Act, which is intended to redress systemic gender discrimination in the compensation of work primarily performed by women. To carry out this mandate, the PEO provides education and advice to employers, employees and bargaining agents in the public and private sectors in achieving and maintaining pay equity in their workplaces. The PEO also investigates complaints, monitors workplaces for compliance, attempts to effect settlements of pay equity issues between the parties and issues Orders for compliance where necessary.

Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal: The Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal (PEHT), a quasi-judicial tri-partite administrative tribunal, is responsible for adjudicating disputes arising under the Pay Equity Act.

Labour relations

Ontario Labour Relations Board: The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal which mediates and adjudicates a variety of employment and labour relations-related matters under various Ontario statutes, including appeals of decisions of employment standards officers and occupational health and safety inspectors.

Ontario Labour Relations Board: The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal which mediates and adjudicates a variety of employment and labour relations-related matters under various Ontario statutes, including appeals of decisions of employment standards officers and occupational health and safety inspectors.

Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board: The Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board (GSB) is an independent quasi-judicial tribunal that mediates and adjudicates labour relations rights disputes of Ontario Crown Employees.

Advisory agencies

Prevention Council: The Prevention Council provides advice to the Minister on the appointment of a Chief Prevention Officer and any other matter as specified by the Minister. Further, the Prevention Council also provides advice to the Chief Prevention Officer on the prevention of workplace injuries and occupational diseases, for the purposes of the provincial occupational health and safety strategy and the annual report under section 22.3 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and on any significant proposed changes to the funding and delivery of services for the prevention of workplace injuries and occupational diseases.

Labour-Management Advisory Committee: The Labour-Management Advisory Committee advises on grievance arbitration matters and about individuals qualified to act as grievance arbitrators under the Labour Relations Act, 1995.

Acts administered by the Minister of Labour: 2018-2019

  • Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, 2001
  • Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993
  • Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act, 2009
  • Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Fire Protection and Prevention Act, 1997, Part IX (Firefighters: Employment and Labour Relations)
  • Government Contract Wages Act, 2018
  • Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Ministry of Labour Act
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Pay Equity Act
  • Pay Transparency Act, 2018
  • Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015
  • Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997
  • Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997
  • Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 [only in respect of the Public Service Grievance Board]
  • Registered Human Resources Professionals Act, 2013
  • Regulatory Modernization Act, 2007
  • Rights of Labour Act
  • SARS Assistance and Recovery Strategy Act, 2003, Part I (SARS Emergency Leave)
  • Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2011
  • Workers Day of Mourning Act, 2016
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997

The Ministry of Labour also has responsibilities under the following Act administered by another ministry:

  • Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008
    • Administered by the Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. However, the Ministry of Labour has a role in the conciliation process, and the Ontario Labour Relations Board also has functions and responsibilities under this Act

"Back to work" Acts administered by the Ministry of Labour

  • Back to Class Act (York University), 2018
  • Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, 2017
  • Fairness for Parents and Employees Act (Teachers' Withdrawal of Services), 1997
  • Protecting the School Year Act, 2015
  • Toronto Public Transit Service Resumption Act, 2008
  • York University Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2009

Detailed financial information

The activities of the ministry are funded through the vote structure as laid out below.

Ministry allocation of 2017-18 base spending ($305.0M) footnote 1

  • $208.4 (68.3%) – Occupational Health and Safety
  • $47.3 (15.5%) – Employment Rights and Responsibilities
  • $24.3 (8.0%) – Labour Relations
  • $21.6 (7.1%) – Ministry Administration footnote 2
  • $3.5 (1.2%) – Pay Equity Commission

Ministry planned expenditures 2019-20 ($M)

  • Operating: $305.0 M
  • Capital: $1.1 M
  • Total: $306.1 M
Ministry planned expenditures by program 2019-20 ($M)
Program nameMinistry planned expenditures (operating expense) ($M)
Ministry administration Program$21.6M
Pay equity commission program$3.5M
Labour relations program$24.2M
Occupational health and safety program$208.4M
Employment standards program$47.3M
Total$305.0M
Capital expense: Ministry planned expenditures by program 2019-2020
Program namePlanned expenditures (capital expense)($M)
Ministry administration program$0.0M
Occupational health and safety program$0.6M
Employment standards program$0.5M
Total$1.1M

Combined operating and capital summary by Vote

Operating expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2019-2020
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
%
Estimates in 2018-2019
$
Interim actuals 2018-2019
$
Actuals 2017-2018
$
Ministry administration21,492,500(17,900)(0,1)21,510,40022,730,38624,070,460
Pay equity commission3,539,300(1,553,100)(30,5)5,092,4003,487,4003,468,515
Labour relations24,257,800315,6001,323,942,20024,905,60023,456,417
Occupational health and safety208,360,000(15,642,700)(7,0)223,984,700220,549,300222,573,365
Employment rights and responsibilities47,286,000(4,864,700)(9,3)52,150,70045,875,50042,412,698
Less: special warrants000000
Total operating expense to be voted304,935,600(21,744,800)(6,7)326,680,400317,548,186315,981,455
Special warrants000000
Statutory appropriations65,0140065,10465,01473,912
Ministry total operating expense305,000,614(21,744,800)(6,7)326,745,414317,613,200316,055,368
Consolidation and other adjustments000000
Total including consolidation and other adjustments305,000,614(21,744,800)(6,7)326,745,414317,613,200316,055,368
Operating assets
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2019-2020
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
%
Estimates in 2018-2019
$
Interim actuals 2018-2019
$
Actuals 2017-2018
$
Ministry administration1,000001,00000
Total including special warrants1,000001,00000
Less: special warrants000000
Total operating assets to be voted1,000001,00000
Special warrents000000
Total operating assets1,000001,00000
Capital expense
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2019-2020
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
%
Estimates in 2018-2019
$
Interim actuals 2018-2019
$
Actuals 2017-2018
$
Ministry administration1,000001,0001,000876,639
Occupational health and safety491,00000491,000491,000489,945
Employment rights and responsibilities1,000(1,874,700)(99.9)1,875,7001,025,7000
Less: special warrants000000
Total capital expense to be voted493,000(1,874,700)(79.2)2,367,7001,517,7001,366,584
Special warrants000000
Statutory appropriations609,100364,400148.9244,700192,2000
Ministry total capital expense1,102,100(1,510,300)(57.8)2,612,4001,709,9001,366,584
Consolidation and other adjustments000000
Total including consolidation and other adjustments1,102,100(1,510,300)(57.8)2,612,4001,709,9001,366,584
Capital assets
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2019-2020
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
%
Estimates in 2018-2019
$
Interim actuals 2018-2019
$
Actuals 2017-2018
$
Ministry administration1,000001,0001,0000
Occupational health and safety2,657,000556,00026,52,101,0001,0000
Employment standards3,836,20020,2000,53,816,0003,816,0000
Less: special warrants000000
Total capital assests to be voted6,494,200576,2009,75,918,0002,0000
Special warrants000000
Statutory appropriations000000
Ministry total capital assets6,494,200576,2009,75,918,0002,0000
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)
Votes/ProgramsEstimates 2019-2020
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
$
Change from estimates 2018-2019
%
Estimates in 2018-2019
$
Interim actuals 2018-2019
$
Actuals 2017-2018
$
Ministry total306,102,714(23,255,100)(7,1)329,357,814319,323,100317,421,951

Historic trend

Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)
Historic trend analysis dataActuals 2016-2017
$
Actuals 2017-2018
$
Estimates 2018-2019
$
Estimates 2019-2020
$
Ministry total307,587,177317,421,951329,357,814306,102,714
Year-over-year % changeS.O.3%4%-7%

In 2017-18 and 2018-19, MOL had planned expenditure increases due to investments in key programs. For example, investments were made in the ES Program in order to achieve service delivery innovation, increased training and outreach, and increased enforcement capacity. At the same time, MOL contributed to savings targets to support government-wide initiatives including I&IT and Transfer Payment administration efficiencies and continues to support the government in meeting fiscal targets

Going forward, MOL's budget will decrease by 7% in 2019-20. This is attributed to the Ministry's commitment to transformation initiatives that include targeted reductions in transfer payments, administrative efficiencies and red tape reduction, while investing in modernization of services through I&IT. This will support MOL in its plan to transition from a traditional regulatory ministry to a modernized risk-based organization that advances healthy, safe, fair and harmonious workplaces.

Highlights of 2018-19 Achievements

  • MOL has led several major legislative and regulatory projects during 2018-19, including significant changes to both the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995 in the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 (Bill 47) and the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2018 (Bill 66).
  • MOL began implementation of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act ( MOOBA ), which received Royal Assent on November 21, 2018 and amended the ESA and the LRA. MOL also released new tools such as the ES self-audit tool and LR Collective Bargaining Ontario, which help reduce costs to businesses. The OHS program launched initiatives to support government's Open for Business plan.
  • MOL conducted 18 province-wide occupational health and safety inspection initiatives and one employment standards inspection initiative in 2018-19.
  • In 2018-19, Health and Safety Inspectors carried out 89,188 field visits and issued 129,975 orders.
  • MOL continued to lead the Underground Economy Initiative focusing on Residential Re-Roofing and substantial renovations in the construction sector. In the industrial sector the focus was on Nail Salons and small manufacturing related to the renovation industry. The focus of the initiative was to increase compliance with the OHSA and Ministry of Finance regulations as well as to protect consumers.
  • MOL achieved a settlement rate of 99% through the provision of neutral dispute resolution services to conclude collective agreements without a work stoppage.
  • The Ministry appointed 1,121 arbitrators to settle both grievance and interest arbitration disputes where the parties were unable to come to an agreement on their own.
  • Labour Relations Solutions rolled out an array of new digital tools and resources. In addition to Collective Bargaining Ontario, it also launched a new web-based application service which makes it easier to access labour relations services by allowing bargaining parties to apply for conciliation and grievance arbitration online, instead of through outdated methods such as mail and fax.
  • In February 2019, the Employment Standards Program signed an agreement with Subway Franchise Systems of Canada (Subway) to encourage information sharing, build stronger relationships and promote compliance with the ESA.
  • MOL Prevention introduced a 3-year funding modernization plan and new business planning guidelines for HSAs to respond to recommendations from the government Line-by-Line Review. These guidelines will enable better reporting, transparency and increased accountability on transfer payment funding, as well as deliver on Open for Business themes including reducing the administrative burden of funding partners and implementing digital information systems.

Please see the 2018-19 Annual Report for additional details and achievements.

Ministry organization chart

The following positions report to the Minister:

  • Deputy Minister
  • Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Prevention Officer

The following positions report to the Deputy Minister:

  • Assistant Deputy Minister of Internal Administrative Service Division and Chief Administrative Officer
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations Division
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Labour Relations Solutions Division
  • Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Division
  • Assistant Deputy Minister/Chief Administrative Office, Corporate Management and Services Division
  • Associate Deputy Minister and Chief Prevention Officer
  • Communications and Marketing Branch
  • Data management Branch
  • Labour and Transportation I&IT Cluster (Ministry of Transportation)
  • Legal Services Branch (Ministry of the Attorney General)
  • Internal Audit Services (Treasury Board Secretariat)

The following positions report to the Chief Prevention Officer/Assistant Deputy Minister:

  • Strategy and Integration Branch
  • Training and Safety Programs Branch
  • Planning and Resource Management Secretariat

The following positions report to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations Division:

  • Employment Practices Branch
  • Occupational Health and Safety Branch
  • Northern Region
  • Central East Region
  • Central West Region
  • Western Region
  • Eastern Region
  • Operations Integration Unit and Coordination Unit

The following positions report to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Labour Relations Solutions Division:

  • Dispute Resolutions Services
  • Strategic Initiatives

The following positions report to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Division:

  • Employment and Labour Policy Branch
  • Health and Safety Policy Branch
  • Corporate Policy and Special Projects Branch
  • Open for Business Mission Team

The following positions report to the Assistant Deputy Minister/Chief Administrative Officer:

  • Strategic Human Resources Branch
  • Finance & Administration Branch
  • Corporate Services Branch

While they operate at arms-length from the Ministry for their quasi-judicial functions. The following agency heads report to the Minister for operational and policy purposes, and most report to the Deputy Minister for administrative purposes.

  • Ontario Labour Relations Board
  • Grievance Settlement Board
  • Public Service Greivance Board
  • Pay Equity Office
  • Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal
  • Office of the Employer Adviser
    (Funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board)
  • Office of the Worker Adviser
    (Funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board)
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
    (Funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board)
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
    (Funded by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board)

Agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs)

Summary of expenditures: agencies, boards and commissions

Agencies, boards and commissions2018-19 Interim actual expenditures footnote 42019-20 estimates
Pay equity office3,089,2003,041,200
Pay equity hearings tribunal398,200498,100
Ontario labour relations board13,689,80012,890,700
Grievance settlement board (see note 1)2,361,9002,486,700
Office of the worker adviser (see note 2)11,399,60011,371,000
Office of the employer adviser (see note 2)3,753,4003,776,800

Note 1

All costs of the Grievance Settlement Board are fully recovered from government Ministries as expenditure recoveries and from crown employers and trade unions as revenue:

Grievance settlement board recoveries
Ministry recoverables2018-19 Interim2018-19 Estimates
Recoveries - government ministries1,841,7001,841,700
Revenue - crown employers and unions2,361,9002,486,700
Total recoverable4,203,6004,328,400

Note 2

The amounts shown are fully recoverable from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal report to the Minister of Labour but are not included in the Ministry's Expenditure Estimates because they are not funded through the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

Annual report 2018-19

In 2018-19, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) supported the government's focus on making the province open for business by reducing administrative burden, providing new tools to employers, and creating safe and fair workplaces that increase productivity, protect workers and create a competitive economy.

Key areas of progress in 2018-19:

  • MOL continued to target hazards and sector specific issues to improve health and safety in Ontario workplaces. There were also province-wide initiatives focusing on the internal responsibility system in the construction, health care, industrial and mining sectors.
  • The Ministry also continued to support prevention of occupational injury and illness in the province by collaborating with system partners and leveraging existing expertise.
  • The Ministry modernized labour relations services to align with the government's Open for Business initiative. It did this by introducing Collective Bargaining Ontario and e-Requests which reduce the red tape associated with access to labour relations data and costs of applications for Dispute Resolution Services.
  • The Employment Standards Program refocused its resources towards claim resolution to address the claims inventory and wait times. The program also introduced a self-audit tool for employers that makes it easy to access information and confirm compliance to the ESA.

Making workplaces safer and healthier

In 2018-19, MOL conducted 18 provincial initiatives across numerous sectors to address concerns and raise awareness of occupational health and safety hazards, which included:

Provincial initiatives in all sectors
Initiative FocusSectorDate
Internal responsibility systemConstructionJune 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Working at heights – fall protection trainingConstruction

Phase 1:
September 1 – September 30, 2018

Phase 2:
October 1 – October 31, 2018

Reversing equipment on construction projectsConstruction

Phase 1:
September 1 – September 30, 2018

Phase 2:
October 1 – October 31, 2018

Internal responsibility system – newly registered small businessesIndustrialApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
New and young workers' health and safetyIndustrialMay 1 – August 31, 2018
Health and safety in warehouses and "big box" retailIndustrialOctober 1 – November 23, 2018
Machine guardingIndustrialFebruary 1 – March 29, 2019
Internal responsibility system – occupational disease preventionMiningApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Electrical/mechanical – mine hoist plantsMiningApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Conveyor guarding in mines and mining plantsMining

Phase 1:
May 10, 2018 – May 31, 2018

Phase 2:
June 1 – July 31, 2018

Mobile equipmentMining

Phase 1:
September 17 – October 1, 2018

Phase 2:
October 2 – November 30, 2018

Internal responsibility system - workplace violence preventionHealth Care

Phase 1:
April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019

Phase 2:
July 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019

Health care high hazards

  • Internal responsibility system - long-term care/retirement homes
  • Internal responsibility system, workplace violence, needle safety – primary care (family health teams, community health centres)
  • Workplace violence – hospitals
Health CareApril 1 – June 30, 2018
Chemical handling – chemical manufacturingCross- sector –occupational hygieneApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)Cross- sector –occupational hygieneApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Ergonomics related to falls (ladders, stairs, access platforms)Cross- sector –ergonomicsApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Musculoskeletal disorder prevention in metal fabricationCross- sector –ergonomicsApril 1, 2018 – March 31, 2019
MunicipalitiesCross- sector –ergonomics

Phase 1:
April 1, 2018 – March 31, 2020

Phase 2:
April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

  • In 2018-19, MOL introduced a two-phase system for some initiatives.
    • During the compliance assistance campaign (phase 1), MOL worked with health and safety associations to raise awareness and provide resources, training and education to workplace parties (for example, employers, labour associations and workers) on that initiative's focus.
    • During the inspection campaign (phase 2), inspectors conducted field visits to check that employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Actand its regulations, and to raise awareness about specific issues at the workplaces they are visiting. Inspectors and health and safety associations continued to provide compliance assistance.

Other achievements in 2018-19 aimed at making Ontario workplaces healthier and safer include the following:

  • In 2018-19, Health and Safety Inspectors carried out 89,188 field visits and issued 129,975 orders.
  • MOL supported the Ministry of Education in developing training materials for school boards to use as they implement the March 2018 guide Workplace Violence in School Boards: A Guide to the Law.
  • The WSIB reported a Lost-Time Injury (LTI) rate for Schedule 1 employers of 0.95 for 2017. While the lost-time injury rate for 2017 is at one of its lowest points over the past 10 years, there is an upward trend evident from 2015 to 2017. The 2018 LTI rate will be available by June 2019.
Figure 1: Lost-Time Injury (LTI) Rates – Schedule 1 Employers
Calendar yearsLTI Rate per 100 Workers
20081.51
20091.27
20101.15
20111.05
20121.01
20130.95
20140.92
20150.85
20160.94
20170.95

Source: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board By the Numbers 2017, Schedule 1

  • MOL partnered with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Ministry of Consumer and Government Services (MGCS) to lead the Underground Economy (UE) initiative. The UE initiative aimed to increase compliance with the OHSA, the Consumer Protection Act and taxation legislation, as well as educate consumers on the hazards of participating in operating in the UE.
  • As part of the UE initiative, MOL attended two home shows this year, and engaged with over 2000 consumers at the GTA Home and Reno Show, and engaged with over 1000 consumers at the National Home show.
  • MOL conducted a total of 732 field visits with the residential re-roofing campaign and 1,161 field visits for the substantial renovation campaign in the construction health and safety program. Industrial health and safety program inspectors conducted 941 field visits to nail salons and 396 field visits to small manufacturing businesses related to the renovation industry.
  • The social marketing campaign launched via Carrot continued in 2018-19 focusing on the Ottawa area. The campaign resulted in 24,089 surveys being completed.
    • Approximately 75% of the users said that they would likely share this information with family and friends and 15% actually shared resources via Facebook with their contacts
    • The survey data showed that the Carrot App helped improve knowledge retention and consumer confidence in checking specific items such as WSIB coverage and mandatory working at heights training by 10% to 17%.
  • MOL, in collaboration with the Fire Services Section 21 Advisory Committee, migrated 71 Firefighters Guidance Notes to Ontario.ca from the website of the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs. The guidance notes are now AODA compliant and available in French for the first time.
  • Between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019, the Materials Testing Laboratory (MTL) tested 660 samples in accordance with the CSA G-4 standard.
  • The MTL is accredited under the ISO 17025 international standard for laboratories and underwent a successful performance audit in 2018-19.
  • The MTL began the process of acquiring a new state-of-the-art rope testing machine that will enable testing of both wire ropes and synthetic ropes and provide efficient and reliable service
  • The Radiation Protection Services (RPS) team completed the following:
    • Two RPS laboratory methods are ISO 17025 accredited and underwent a successful performance audit.
    • Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, the laboratory collected 1,485 samples and performed 2,149 analyses in support of the Ontario Reactor Surveillance Program (ORSP).
    • Between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, the laboratory analyzed 238 drinking water samples, resulting in 876 analyses performed in support of the Ontario Drinking Water Surveillance Program (DWSP).
    • Completed a total of 515 x-ray registration and x-ray installation reviews as of March 10, 2019.
  • A number of legislative and regulatory amendments were made to improve entitlements and benefits available through the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board:
    • Bill 31, Plan for Care and Opportunity Act (Budget Measures), 2018 amended the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to expand the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) presumption for first responders to include nurses who directly provide patient care, bailiffs, probation and parole officers and their managers, special constables and civilian officers who work in Violent Crime Linkage Analysis System and forensic units. The Bill 31 amendments came into force on May 8, 2018.
    • Effective July 1, 2018, Ontario Regulation 253/07 ("Firefighters") was amended to add three cancers to the list of cancers presumed to be work-related: cervical, ovarian and penile cancers. Claims related to cervical, ovarian and penile cancers will be retroactive to January 1, 1960 and apply to full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters, firefighters employed by band councils and fire investigators.
  • The Ministry, in collaboration with other members of the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation Occupational Safety and Health Committee (CAALL-OSH), worked toward a National Occupational Health and Safety Reconciliation Agreement that aims to reduce trade barriers within Canada through the mutual recognition of certain health and safety standards across all jurisdictions. In this agreement, Ministers agreed to commonly recognize specified national standards for first-aid kits, head protection, eye and face protection, hearing protection, foot protection and personal flotation devices and life jackets. This agreement will simplify regulatory requirements for organizations, allowing them to work more seamlessly across multiple jurisdictions without compromising health and safety protections for workers.
  • Effective January 21, 2019, the WHMIS Regulation (Regulation 860) under the Occupational Health and Safety Actwas amended to allow an exception for employers to create workplace labels for WHMIS 1988 products that will continue to be used in the workplace. Employers who wish to use WHMIS 1988 products in the workplace can now produce a workplace label to be affixed to the products in question, which would replace any WHMIS 1988 label.
  • Effective October 26, 2018, Section 13 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation under the OHSA was amended to add a new exemption from having guardrails for a conveyor or similar system that transports a vehicle or vehicle part and any raised platform used with the conveyor or similar system. The new exemption is limited to situations in which a guardrail would obstruct the passage of the vehicle or vehicle part, prevent workers from performing work, or pose a hazard to a worker. An additional amendment now requires that in situations where any of the exemptions to the guardrail requirements apply and there is no guardrail, employers must develop and implement other measures and procedures to protect workers from the hazard of falling.
  • MOL engaged with 10,080 businesses in 2018 through the Small Business Outreach with Summer Students project. The summer students acted as ambassadors of the ministry sharing resources with the small business owners and completing a survey. In 2018, the project was in partnership with the Pay Equity Office, Ontario Accessibility Directorate, and University of Waterloo. The project:
    • Supported the Quick Start Guideline (a section of the MSDs Prevention Guideline) by providing posters to small businesses.
    • Promoted the importance of education and consultation before enforcement.
    • Provided ideas for updating or creating resources for occupational health and safety compliance in small businesses.
  • Additionally, numerous MOL activities were aimed at advancing occupational health and safety in Ontario's industrial, health care, mining and construction sectors. To this end, MOL:
    • Participated in compliance assistance webinars with the health and safety associations
    • Developed and updated inspector guidance on health and safety issues to promote consistent enforcement across the province.
    • Developed new ergonomics resources for stakeholders:
    • Implemented the province's proactive federal WHMIS initiative/enforcement and managed interjurisdictional and provincial requests for compliance verification.
    • Ensured compliance with the requirements of the Emergency Management & Civil Protection Act (EMCPA).
    • Posted guidance material to assist workplace parties in understanding their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Actin addressing the issue of workplace impairment arising from substance use.
    • Developed a new guideline on traffic management programs in mines.
    • Facilitated and participated in various healthcare committees including:
      • Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committees
      • Occupational Disease Action Plan
      • Occupational Disease Surveillance System Project Committee
      • Ontario Medical Association/Ontario Hospital Association committee on communicable diseases surveillance protocols
      • Public Services Health and Safety Association Advisory Council
    • Piloted and then launched basic OHS compliance consultations for small businesses.
    • Developed the new web resource Health and Safety for Small Businesses.
    • Partnered with the system partners in the Small Business Action Plan to create the Small Business Toolkit – a pdf file with all practical steps and free resources available, posted on the websites of all four HSAs.
    • Developed or updated numerous hazard alerts including:
    • Participated in a working group that developed a guidance document to assist non-utility construction workers working near to overhead distribution lines rated under 750 volts. The final draft is complete and currently being reviewed by the Provincial Labour-Management Safety Committee for Electrical and Utilities (PLMSC-EU).
    • Currently participating on a Ministry of Transportation steering committee for updates to Book 7 to ensure traffic control guidelines are consistent with traffic control regulatory requirements in section 67 of O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects).
    • Released a video on emergency preparedness for construction projects.
    • Worked with stakeholders to allow the use of rope access in window cleaning operations.
    • Participated in the Power Workers Union's symposium.

Prevention of workplace fatalities, injuries and illness

The Prevention Office continues to work with the Health and Safety Associations (HSAs) to enhance Occupational Health and Safety Prevention in Ontario. A significant portion of OHS Prevention activities involve providing training and consultation:

Key statistical data for HSAs: training
TrainingNumber of participant hours of training
2017-2018 (Actuals)
Number of participant hours of training
2018-2019 (YTD Q3 Actuals)
Infrastructure health and safety association581,476340,349
Occupational health clinics for ontario workers footnote 41,148837
Public services health and safety association178,939165,204
Workers health & safety centre339,556204,939
Workplace safety and prevention services202,628116,796
Workplace safety north118,54089,648
Key statistical data for HSAs: consulting
ConsultingNumber of Participant Hours of Consulting
2017-2018 (Actuals)
Number of Participant Hours of Consulting
2018-2019 (Actuals)
Public Services Health and Safety Association17,36312,316
Association de santé et sécurité des services publics21,78411,544
Services de prévention et de sécurité au travail35,71026,246
Sécurité au travail du Nord8,11110,165
  • The Ministry hosted Falls Awareness Week (FAW) in May 2018, and a Reversing Equipment initiative in September 2018 to address the disproportionate risk of injuries and illnesses faced by the construction sector compared to other sectors. FAW is a social awareness campaign aimed at promoting safety while working at heights, and fall prevention in construction workplaces, by encouraging workplaces to take 15 – 30 minutes to hold safety talks and share resources that are focused on addressing falls. In 2018, between 500 – 1000 workers from across Ontario participated in the first Falls Awareness Week. Survey respondents observed an increase in conversations by supervisors and workers around safety at work, and that workers were more likely to raise concerns about working at heights. Building off the success of this initiative, FAW will be returning in 2019, alongside a Slips, Trips, and Falls Health and Safety Initiative across all sectors for 2019/2020.
  • The Prevention Office hosted a forum with cross sectional stakeholders from across the province to discuss and set five year targets for the health and safety of vulnerable workers in Ontario.
  • The Occupational Disease Action Plan (ODAP) continued to focus on initiatives across a number of approaches such as: awareness, training and education, enforcement, research and data management and intelligence and decision support.
    • Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), in partnership with Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has launched a new website featuring resources for occupational disease prevention.
    • Fact sheets (17 in total) for priority occupational irritants and allergens were developed and shared online and in-person through the ODAP member organizations, i.e. Health and Safety Associations (HSA's), Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease (CRE-OD), etc.
    • ODAP members recognized three international noise recognition days in 2018 through a communications campaign and webinars on World Hearing Day, International Noise Awareness Day and during National Hearing Protection Month. The webinars reached over 500 individuals in total.
    • ODAP members also hosted a webinar on the Diesel Engine Exhaust in collaboration with CAREX Canada, reaching over 150 people.
  • In January 2019, the Ontario Government committed to developing an Occupational Disease and Illness Prevention Strategy to further our understanding of occupational disease and hazardous substances in the workplace; strengthen workplace protections; build awareness and education among Ontarians about occupational illness prevention; and establish partnerships to help improve management of occupational illness in the province.
  • MOL and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) have provided joint funding to the Occupational Cancer Resource Centre (OCRC) to establish a funded program of occupational disease surveillance in Ontario. The Occupational Disease Surveillance Program (ODSP) will help to analyze occupational disease risk to inform priorities, better target prevention efforts and generate research questions. In March 2019, the ODSP launched the new website, focused on surveillance of occupational disease and workplace exposures. It will increase our capacity to identify high-risk populations, and provide the evidence needed to implement effective prevention strategies in Ontario.
  • MOL has provided funding to the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) for the development of Ontario's new MSD Prevention Guideline. On October 1st, 2018, CRE-MSD launched Ontario's new MSD Prevention Guideline, alongside a ministry-funded web platform. The Guideline provides information and supports businesses' need to meet their obligations and prosper, which in turn promotes a stronger economy for all Ontarians. It also makes it easier for people to start, run and grow a business anywhere in Ontario by providing employers with free information and tools they need to prevent MSDs in their workplace.
  • In partnership with Canada's twelve other jurisdictions and the WSIB, the MOL continued the province-wide It's Your Job: Prevention Starts Here student video contest for 2018-19. This is a workplace safety video contest for secondary school students to both raise awareness and to allow youth to showcase their talent by producing videos to be used in our own young worker outreach campaigns. The MOL received 56 entries from across the province from 124 number of student participants and 34 schools.
  • Mining is a high hazard sector. However, in 2018, there were zero fatalities in the mining sector in Ontario. This year, MOL continued implementing the 18 recommendations from the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review final report, including facilitating work between joint health and safety committees and mining sector employers to conduct formal sector risk assessments. Two sector risk assessments have already been completed and the third is tentatively planned for completion by 2020. Preliminary discussions are currently underway between the ministry and the industry to determine how information can be found and shared to better identify the root causes of injuries and deaths, and to fine tune programs, interventions, and risk assessment activities.
  • In 2018-19 MOL's Prevention Office led a System Working Group (SWG) on workplace mental health (WMH), which include representatives from the WSIB and HSAs. The SWG has been working to increase HSA field staff capacity to help workplaces better address mental health issues, through the development of tools and webinars. A key ministry partner in providing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) resources to employers and workers has been the HSA, the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA). For example, PSHSA delivered a new webinar on Suicide Prevention in First Responders that was launched on September 10th, 2018.
  • MOL has also been working with its partners on developing tools to help employers better address workplace mental health. The ministry has prioritized workplace mental health through its Occupational Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program (OHSPIP) for the past two years. In that time, the program has provided $2.18 million in funding to 13 initiatives focused on promoting psychologically healthy workplaces, preventing or mitigating work related post-traumatic stress, and providing workers dealing with mental health issues with valuable tools and resources. The Research OpportunitiES Program (ROP) also includes a priority to support workplace mental health. Over the past four years, this program has contributed $1.02 million in funding to six initiatives focusing on mental health.
  • MOL made strides towards developing Ontario's new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Strategy, which included conducting jurisdictional and literature scans, reviews of health and safety data, an impact assessment of the previous Strategy and discussions with internal partners.
  • Between April 1, 2018 and November 30, 2018, 42,647 learners completed Working at Heights (WAH) training and the CPO approved an additional 19 WAH training programs.
  • A Health and Safety Representative (HSR) is required in workplaces with 6-19 workers. In the spring of 2018, MOL launched the Health and Safety Representative Basic Training Guidelines as well as a voluntary eLearning training program to help improve the health and safety of workers in Ontario's small businesses. To date, there have been more than 1,200 registrants and over 650 course completions.
  • Joint Health and Safety Certification (JHSC) standards are being amended to allow greater flexibility in learning options; and save employers and workers time and money. The changes include:
    • Promoting flexibility by allowing Part One training to take place solely online (in addition to the already-existing options of classroom, blended and distance learning)
    • Adjusting the minimum duration for eLearning to utilize technology and reflect self-paced learning.
    • Extending the time to complete Part Two training to within a year of completing Part One training, providing more time for employers to schedule training and ensuring learners in remote areas are not penalized.
    • Simplifying rules to create straightforward timelines for training and eliminating the need to submit forms.
  • The Health and Safety Training and Certification Unit (HSTACU) successfully administered the training standard approval process for the Ministry and the Chief Prevention Officer.
  • The following figures are from the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2018 and ending March 31, 2019:
    • Total number of training standards field assessments: 43
    • Total number of phone calls answered: 14,000
    • Total number of emails answered: over 10,000
    • Total number of Training Programs
      • Approved: 37
      • Rejected or Withdrawn: 14

Employment standards – protecting workers and supporting employers

  • MOL led the development and implementation of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (MOOBA) which received Royal Assent on November 21, 2018. It amended the Employment Standards Act (ESA) by repealing or altering changes that were recently made to the ESA under the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. The amendments have impacted the ESA's rules on minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, scheduling, employee misclassification, public holiday pay and replaced personal emergency leave with three new leaves.
  • MOL made significant strides in the ES Program. At the start of the year, the program had an inventory of over 9,100 claims with an average wait time of eight months. At the end of March 2019, the inventory is at 1,185 unassigned claims and wait times are approximately two months.
  • In 2018-19 MOL made contributions to the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act (Bill 66), which received Royal Assent on April 3rd, 2019, with respect to:
    • ES Posting Requirements; and
    • Removing Director of Employment Standards Approvals for Hours of Work and Overtime Averaging.
  • MOL has made progress in modernizing ES services by developing digital tools that help both employees and employers access information and reduce administrative burden. For example:
    • In December 2018, the Ministry introduced a self-audit tool for employers which determines compliance with three monetary standards and seven non-monetary standards. It is an online portal where employers can enter payroll information, submit their audit results to an employment standards officer and confirm compliance with the ESA. It provides an opportunity for education with helpful information links throughout and reduces errors in calculations thereby increasing administrative efficiencies for employers.
    • MOL is developing an online self-serve tool designed to help employees and employers in Ontario understand their rights and obligations under the ESA and promote self-reliance. It is expected to be launched in 2019 and includes calculations to determine whether the amount paid to an employee meets certain standards of the ESA (e.g. minimum wage, overtime, public holidays, hours of work).
  • In February 2019, the Employment Standards Program signed an agreement with Subway Franchise Systems of Canada (Subway) to encourage compliance with the ESA. This agreement allows for the sharing of information between the ministry and Subway Canada, with a view to building a stronger relationship that provides opportunities for the ministry to educate Subway franchisees on their responsibilities and promote compliance with the ESA through a one-year pilot project. During this period, a dedicated team of Employment Resolution Officers will be available to provide ESA-related assistance to franchise owners.
  • From May 1 to August 31, 2018, MOL employment standards officers conducted an inspection initiative focusing on employers in the construction industry. The initiative resulted in:
    • 1,266 total inspections
    • $1,563,330 recovered for employees

MOL continued to seek opportunities to partner with stakeholders to promote self-reliance and compliance. In the Employment Standards Program, as of March 31, 2018:

  • ESOs conducted 2,345 inspections with a continued focus on repeat violators and sectors with a history of non-compliance
  • 17,716 claims were received, and 22,434 claims were completed
Claims Investigations
Fiscal yearClaims intakeCalims closed
2014-201514,87217,453
2015-201616,68215,411
2016-201716,81315,498
2017-201816,64214,921
2018-201917,71622,434

Additionally, the Ministry promoted compliance with the ESA by:

  • Publishing a new version of the Employment Standards Poster on January 1, 2019 and promoting it to stakeholders via e-blast and social media.
  • Updating all online resources affected by Making Ontario Open for Business Act changes and promoting it to stakeholders via e-blast.
  • Supporting enforcement initiatives by distributing educational resources to employers during inspection initiatives; and, sharing the results with stakeholders.
  • Delivering over 250 employment standards overview presentations in 2018–19.
  • Partnering with the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade to deliver educational presentations to over 700 employers at Small Business Enterprise Centres across Ontario as part of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act implementation efforts.
  • Partnering with the Ministry of Finance to send an educational flyer promoting Making Ontario Open for Business Act changes to 60,000 small businesses across Ontario.
  • Continuously streamlining MOL's online educational resource library, making it easier for small business employers to find the information they're looking for.
  • Supporting the Summer Student Small Business Outreach Initiative during which students visited over 10,000 small businesses across Ontario to raise awareness of ESA and OHSA requirements and promote educational resources.
  • Continuing to promote web-based tools available on the Ministry of Labour website at Ontario.ca/ESAtools. These tools are a key part of the supports and services available to help employers and employees be more self-reliant in resolving employer-employee issues and be more compliant with the ESA. The tools have been used more than 12 million times as of March 31, 2019, and over 80 per cent of satisfaction survey respondents say they find the tools to be helpful.

For further information and access to MOL: Employment Standards tools and resources.

Labour relations – creating and maintaining a stable labour relations environment

The Ministry continued to foster, support and maintain a harmonious, constructive and productive labour relations climate in Ontario by providing neutral third-party assistance to trade unions and employers through:

  1. collective agreement conciliation and mediation
  2. the appointment of arbitrators
  3. the provision of timely and neutral collective bargaining information
  4. modernization of labour relations service delivery through digital initiatives
  5. training in labour relations best practices

Collective agreement conciliation and mediation services

MOL provided assistance in response to more than 2,393 new requests for conciliation and mediation assistance, while closing or completing more than 2,282 conciliation and mediation files.

  • The Ministry achieved a settlement rate of 99% in 2018-19 by providing neutral dispute resolution services to conclude collective agreements without work disruptions. The Ministry continues to meet its settlement target rate at or above 95%. See Figure 1 details of past year outcomes.
Settlements without strike or lockout
YearPercentage of settlements without work disruption
2008-200997,8
2009-201097,5
2010-201198,5
2011-201298,1
2012-201395,0
2013-201498,6
2014-201598,3
2015-201699,2
2016-201798,3
2017-201897,7
2018-201998,8
  • In the 2018-19 fiscal year there was a 36% decrease in the incidence of strikes and lock-outs, and a 39% decrease in person-days lost, compared to fiscal year 2017-18. There were 25 strikes and lock-outs in Ontario in 2018-19, resulting in 261,560 person-days lost. In 2017-18, 39 strikes and lock-outs occurred, resulting in 430,460 person-days lost.
  • Approximately 2,003 collective agreements were ratified in 2018-19, concentrated in the health and social services, transport, communications and utilities, other services and public administration. MOL's labour relations program facilitated notable settlements in the following sectors:

Education

  • Among Ontario universities, agreements were reached at York University, Ryerson University, Carleton University, University of Western Ontario, and University of Ottawa.
  • The Ontario government passed Back to Class Act (York University), 2018 (Bill 2) to end a work disruption by York University and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing graduate teaching/research assistants and contract faculty.

Health

  • Participating Hospitals and Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) reached two-year agreements.
  • A number of agreements were reached for Hospitals and Long-term Care Homes with several unions including CUPE, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), and ONA.

Municipal government

  • Several settlements were reached for the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters' Association (OPFFA) and various municipalities, including the Cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, Windsor, Markham, Kitchener, Burlington, and Barrie.
  • A number of settlements covering municipal inside/outside employees were reached with CUPE and various municipalities/cities including Durham, London, Barrie, and Cornwall.

Provincial government

  • The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario and OPSEU reached a four-year agreement.

Utilities

  • Ontario Power Generation Inc. reached a one-year agreement with the Society of United Professionals.
  • Hydro One Inc. and CUPE signed a two-year agreement; Toronto Hydro and Bruce Power Lp each signed four-year agreements with CUPE.

Communications

  • Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) reached a three-year agreement with the Directors Guild of Canada, a three-year agreement with Unifor, and a three-year agreement with Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists.

Construction

  • Non-Destructive Testing Companies and NDT Management Association reached a three-year agreement with the Quality Control Council of Canada (United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of The Plumbers and Pipe Fitter Industry of The United States and Canada/ International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers).

Manufacturing

  • Bombardier Aerospace and Unifor concluded a three-year agreement.

Trade

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and USWreached a two-year agreement
  • Metro Ontario Inc. and Unifor reached a four-year agreement.

Transportation

  • Toronto Transit Commission reached a three-year agreement with Amalgamated Transit Union (operators, collectors, maintenance, clerical/non-clerical) and reached two four-year agreements with CUPE (electrical division).

Other services

  • Garda Canada Security Corp., Securitas Canada Ltd., and Paladin Security Group Ltd. each negotiated two-year agreements with USW
  • Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) and Canadian Actors' Equity Association reached a one-year agreement.
  • Several agreements were reached for casinos including Windsor Casino Ltd., Casino Rama Services, Great BlueHeron Casino, Elements Casino Brantford, Casino Ajax, and Casino Woodbine, Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., and Elements Casino Mohawk, each negotiating three-year or four-year agreements with Unifor.
  • Municipal Property Assessment Corp concluded a four-year agreement with OPSEU.
  • Board of Governors of Exhibition Place and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) concluded a four-year agreement.

Services d'arbitrage

  • MOL provided assistance in response to more than 1,283 new requests for arbitration, while closing or completing more than 3,233 arbitration files.
  • The Ministry appointed 1,121 arbitrators to settle both grievance and interest arbitration disputes where the parties were unable to come to an agreement on their own.
  • 844 rights and interest arbitration decisions were filed with the Ministry.
  • MOL completed five grievance mediation appointments, including mediation of a single grievance as well as multiple grievances.

Labour relations information bureau / Collective bargaining information services

  • In 2018-19 MOL's Labour Relations Information Bureau (LRIB) continued to provide neutral labour relations research and analysis to numerous stakeholders, including unions, employers, academics, the broader public sector, other Ontario ministries, and the public, to inform decision-making. Its data and analysis have been a cornerstone for collective bargaining and are trusted by bargaining parties.
  • The Bureau has made steps towards digitally transforming the way it provides labour relations and collective bargaining data, research, and analysis, and has established itself as the centre of excellence for modernized labour relations information, analytics, and research in Ontario. A key component of this transformation is Collective Bargaining Ontario. See Modernization Through Digital Initiatives section below for more information.
  • This year MOL continued to provide neutral, reliable data to bargaining parties through specialized analysis and custom reporting. The Ministry's information is also used by Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) for analysis, planning and reporting purposes. In fact, the 2018 Fall Economic Statement introduced the TBS Broader Public Sector (BPS) Oversight Framework, in which all expiring BPS agreements require TBS approval for bargaining mandates, in addition to requiring TBS approval prior to ratification. MOL will provide data to support this framework and the government's oversight in managing compensation.

Modernization through digital initiatives

  • Collective Bargaining Ontario, was launched in November 2018. This is a new website that provides the labour relations community and the public access to interactive charts and graphs on Ontario labour relations data and trends. As of March 22, 2019, data from 2016 to 2018 is available. The website also features a links to other resources and summaries of recent collective bargaining publications and reports. As of March 22, 2019, 4,340 users have accessed the site, and there have been a total of 15,208 page-views.
  • MOL also introduced e-Requests, a new web-based application service which makes it easier for the labour relations community to access services by allowing bargaining parties to apply for conciliation and grievance arbitration online, instead of through outdated and less accessible methods such as mail and fax. This new service is resulting in faster processing for applicants, greater efficiency, and more modern, streamlined services. As of March 22, 2019, 99 e Requests have been submitted.
  • A new regulation was filed in November 2018, which provides that copies of grievance arbitration awards be published online. Development of a new, public website is in progress. The regulation comes into force on July 1, 2019.
  • The ministry is also increasingly using email as the primary mode of interacting with bargaining parties when sending notices or communications from the Director of Dispute Resolution Services. This complies with amendments to section 122 of the Labour Relations Act (which received Royal Assent on November 21, 2018), and provides Ontarians with more efficient service delivery.
  • In 2018-19 MOL has also continued to support the collective bargaining process through its Collective Agreements e-Library, a searchable, self-serve portal that is available online 24/7. From April 1, 2018 to March 22, 2019, 24,301 users accessed the site, there were 218,432 page-views, and 4,197 new collective agreements and interest arbitration awards were uploaded. It has been accessed from all over the world – from 130 countries to date, including the United States, United Kingdom, China, and Switzerland– and is growing continually. The initiative establishes Ontario as a leader of collective bargaining information, in addition to providing modernized service to bargaining parties.
  • The Ministry has been a leader in supporting the Open Government initiative. The information and analysis provided by the Bureau contribute to the Ministry's Open Information, Open Data, and Open Dialoguecommitments. The launch of the e Library was one of the largest Open Information endeavors in the government by providing free public access to over 54,000 documents. MOL also supported Open Data through the "Inventory of Employer and Union Relationships", which is available on the Open Data Portal for public access. MOL proactively engaged in open dialoguewith its stakeholders by surveying user experience feedback to garner input on effective ways of providing relevant information. Its other digital initiatives also provide Open Data and Open Information through full access to its underlying raw data, thereby enhancing the ministry's transparency and sharing of collective bargaining information.
  • The Bureau continues to build on opportunities to modernize access to collective bargaining information for the labour-management community through the innovative use of digital tools and analytics.

Training in labour relations best practices

  • The ministry promoted and fostered labour relations best practices through customized in-house workplace programs to help the labour relations community improve their collective bargaining and dispute resolution skills and build more productive and stable labour-management relationships.
  • The ministry offered innovative and effective training and workshops to employers and unions focused on areas such as preparing for collective bargaining, committee effectiveness, joint steward-supervisor interaction, interest-based bargaining, joint workplace problem-solving, effective union-management grievance administration, and repairing, restoring and improving union-management, manager-employee, and employee-employee relationships. During the 2018 calendar year, MOL provided support to employers and unions through consultations with 17 employers and 17 trade unions, the design and delivery of customized programs to 16 employers and 12 trade unions, follow-up consultations to 2 employers and 2 trade unions, and on 3 occasions delivered workshops to an employer-labour organization at its regional conferences.

In the LR program, there were also a number of policy achievements, including the following:

  • MOL led the development and implementation of the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 (Bill 47) which received Royal Assent on November 21, 2018. It amended the Labour Relations Act, 1995(LRA) by making changes to rules on union certification, first contract arbitration, bargaining unit consolidation, and other key elements.
  • MOL tabled the Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2019 – in force April 3, 2019, which makes further changes to provisions in the LRA (non-construction employer).
  • MOL also led major changes to Part IX of the Fire Protections & Prevention Act dealing with interest arbitration and "double-hatter" firefighters.
Ministry interim actual expenditures 2018-19
Departmental resourcesMinistry interim actual expenditures ($M) 2018-19 footnote 5
Operating$317.6 M
Capital$1.7 M
Staff strength footnote 6
(as of March 31, 2019)
1,547