February 2021

Welcome to COCA's monthly Newsletter. Unless noted otherwise, all articles written by COCA President, Ian Cunningham.

Ministry Consults on WAH Training Standards
The Ministry of Labour, Training, and Skills Development (MLTSD) is conducting a five-year review of the content of the Working at Heights Training Program Standard and the Working at Heights Training Provider Standard. 
Generally, workers who are required to use specific fall protection equipment on construction projects in Ontario must complete a Working at Heights Training Program approved by the CPO and delivered by a CPO-approved training provider.
Since 2015:
  • 224 training providers have been approved
  • 240 Working at Heights training programs have been approved
  • 805,000 learners have participated in approved WAH training
  • 152,000 learners have participated in the WAH refresher
The consultation paper seeks feedback from workers, employers, learners training providers and other interested parties that interact with the standard. It poses questions about the WAH Training Program Standard in the following areas:
  1. Use of e-learning
  2. Sequencing of the theory and practical modules
  3. Training durations
  4. Learner to instructor ratio
  5. Learner to equipment ratio
  6. New and out-dated equipment
  7. Learning outcomes
  8. Enhancing learner evaluation
  9. Modifications to the refresher
It also seeks feedback on the Training Provider Standard, looks for feedback on the use of the standards in other industries, the collection of data to measure the effectiveness of the standards and comparisons with working at heights requirements in other jurisdictions. 
The consultation paper is accessible at the following link:

WSIB COVID19 Claims Statistics – Update

As posted on the WSIB’s website on February 8, 2021, the provincial compensation agency has approved 14,823 COVID19 claims, not allowed 1,945 and there are 861 claims pending a decision. 5,511 exposure incident reports have been received.

Classes with the highest number of claims are:

  • Nursing and residential care facilities with 6,524 claims approved, 378 not approved and 273 pending
  • Hospitals with 2,256 claims approved, 381 not approved and 61 pending
  • Agriculture with 1,711 claims approved, 73 not approved and 100 pending
  • Schedule 2 employers with 1,332 claims approved, 423 not approved and 77 pending
  • Food, textiles and related manufacturing with 631 claims approved, 78 not approved and 72 pending

Construction claims are as follows:

  • Building equipment construction (G4) has 39 claims approved, 14 not approved and 5 pending
  • Foundation, structure and building exterior construction (G3) has 22 claims approved, less than 5 not approved and less than 5 pending
  • Infrastructure construction (G2) has 19 claims approved, none approved and none pending
  • Building construction (G1) has 15 claims approved, 6 not approved and none pending
  • Residential building construction (G1) has 15 claims approved, none approved and none pending

It appears from the WSIB data that there have been a total of 110 claims approved from all construction classes which is 0.74% of all approved claims. The quite remarkable performance given that there are estimated to be more than 500,000 people working in the industry.

It’s also important to note that only about 5.25% of Ontario’s total COVID19 case count is due to workplace transmission. 

First Aid Modernization Consultation

The Ministry of Labour, training and Skills Development is currently consulting with stakeholders on a proposal to transfer the responsibility of workplace first aid from the WSIB to the MLTSD. Workplace first aid is currently the responsibility of the WSIB under Regulation 1101 of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. The regulation was last updated in 1983 and it applies to only a subset of the 76% of Ontario’s employers that are covered by the WSIB. 

If approved, the transfer of responsibility would:

  • Expand oversight of first aid to virtually all Ontario workplaces and incorporate it with all other health and safety requirements under OHSA
  • Facilitate the possible harmonization of first aid regulations across all Canadian jurisdictions

The consultation paper provides a good background and asks the following questions:

  1. Would you have any concerns with the potential extension of workplace first aid requirements to your workplace, particularly if you are an employer that is not currently covered by existing first aid requirements?
  2. Do you have any concerns with including these CSA requirements in a new OHSA regulation?
  3. Do you have any concerns with incorporating the requirements of Regulation 1101 related to first aid stations and rooms into a new OHSA regulation?
  4. Are there any unique first aid requirements that should be considered for workplaces where remote work occurs?
  5. What concerns, if any, do you have about the content of the CSA Z1210-17 standard as the ministry determines whether to adopt or incorporate elements into an approved CPO standard?
  6. What barriers, if any, do you face with access to first aid training? (e.g. access to information, costs, geographic location, issues related to race, language, and culture, etc.)

The deadline for submissions is March 11, 2021. More details are available by clicking on the following link: https://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?language=en&postingId=35867

Digital Advertising Campaign Warns Homeowners of Dangers of Paying Cash for Roofing

In 2015, the Behavioural Insights Unit at Treasury Board and the Ministry of Labour together with academics at The Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) and The Smith School of Business (Queen’s University), conducted a study to compare the effectiveness of 16 different advertisements alerting homeowners to the dangers of paying cash for roofing work. 

The ads were part of an awareness campaign advising homeowners about the risks of participating in the underground economy for roof repairs and replacement. They were placed on various digital platforms where homeowners typically search for roofers and were directed homeowners to the MLTSD’s Buying a Roof webpage. 

Paying cash to avoid paying HST deprives our governments of tax revenue and places homeowners and workers at risk. The study states, “The more homeowners that avoid the underground economy when reroofing their homes, the more protected from scams, unnecessary legal liability and expensive damage to their most valuable investment.”

According to the report, $40.9 billion goes unreported annually and construction accounts for 28% of the underground economic value. It also states that the Canada Revenue Agency estimates that as much as one-fifth of home renovations in Canada takes place in the underground economy.

The best performing ads, which performed equally well, carried the following messages:

  • WARNING: Beware of roofing scams! Don’t be the next victim. Get helpful info & advice here
  • WARNING: Beware of roofing scams! Don’t be the next victim. Get helpful & advice here from the Ontario government

The awareness campaign in total increased traffic to the MoL’s website significantly. Further, the study estimates if in the future the MoL deploys only the most effective ads, web traffic will increase by approximately 180%.

NDP Shuffle Shadow Cabinet Before Legislature Resumes

The Ontario Legislature is scheduled to resume sitting after its winter break on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. In preparation for the upcoming Spring session, NDP leader Andrea Horwath decided to shuffle her critic positions. Here they are as follows:

  •  Jill Andrew becomes critic for Heritage and retains responsibilities for Culture and Women's Issues 
  • Teresa Armstrong becomes critic for Children and Youth.
  • Ian Arthur becomes critic for Small Business Recovery and Reopening Main Street. 
  • Doly Begum becomes critic for Foreign Credentials and Immigration Services
  • Jessica Bell becomes critic for Housing, Tenant Rights and Urban Planning.
  • Gilles Bisson becomes critic for Community Safety and Correctional Services but will no longer serve as Opposition House Leader, a position in which he has served for the NDP since October 2011, with a couple of stints as Deputy House Leader before that 
  • Catherine Fife becomes critic for Finance and Treasury Board and will also be the caucus chair
  • Faisal Hassan will be the critic for Youth Opportunities
  • Bhutila Karpoche becomes critic for Early Learning and Childcare.
  • Laura Mae Lindo becomes critic for Colleges and Universities and retains critic responsibilities for Anti-Racism 
  • Michael Mantha becomes a Co-deputy Whip
  • Taras Natyshak becomes critic for Job Creation and Economic Recovery and retains responsibility for Ethics  
  • Tom Rakocevic becomes critic for Transit
  • Peggy Sattler becomes critic for Labour and retains responsibility for Democratic Reform and also becomes Opposition House Leader
  • Sandy Shaw becomes the critic for the Environment 
  • Gurratan Singh becomes Deputy House Leader
  • Sara Singh becomes critic for Seniors, Long-term Care and Home Care and continues her responsibilities as Deputy leader
  • Monique Taylor becomes critic for Mental Health and Addictions and also becomes a Co-deputy Whip
  • John Vanthof becomes the NDP’s Chief Whip 
  • Jamie West becomes the critic for Northern Infrastructure, Transportation and Roads
  • Kevin Yarde becomes critic for Auto Insurance 

COCA is the voice of our membership at Queen's Park.

We want to hear from you. All questions, ideas and comments are more than welcome.

Council of Ontario Construction Associations
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Toronto, ON   M5G 1Z8
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Ian Cunningham x224
Operations & Communications Manager
Martin Benson x222
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