January 2023

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

Naloxone: MLITSD January Update

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) was amended in April 2022 to require an employer that becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that there may be a risk of a worker opioid overdose at a workplace where that worker performs work for the employer to provide and maintain a naloxone kit in that workplace.

The employer must also ensure that at any time there are workers in the workplace, the naloxone kit is in charge of a worker who works in the vicinity of the kit and who is trained to recognize an opioid overdose, to administer naloxone and in the hazards related to the administration of naloxone.

A new associated OHSA regulation, Naloxone Kits (O. Reg. 559/22), prescribes the contents of a naloxone kit and sets out additional requirements related to the provision and maintenance of naloxone kits, including: 

  • Every naloxone kit shall be used, stored and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.  
  • The contents of each naloxone kit must be kept in a hard case, be for single use and promptly replaced after such use and must not have expired.  
  • The names and workplace locations of the workers who are in charge of the naloxone kit in the workplace and who have received the required training must be posted in a conspicuous place in the vicinity of the kit where their names and workplace locations are most likely to come to the attention of other workers. 
The amendments and regulation will come into force on June 1, 2023. 
Guidance outlining how employers can comply with the naloxone provisions has been posted to Ontario.ca. 

On December 14th, the ministry announced the Workplace Naloxone Program, which gives eligible employers access to free training for up to two (2) workers and one (1) free nasal spray naloxone kit per workplace. 
This time-limited program will provide more than 22,000 free nasal spray naloxone kits to businesses at risk of opioid overdoses. Through our funded program, providers eligible businesses will have access to free training to equip workers to respond to an opioid overdose. 
The Ministry of Health’s take-home naloxone programs: the Ontario Naloxone Program and Ontario Naloxone Program for Pharmacies, remain targeted to individuals and their families and friends. These programs will not provide naloxone to employers or for occupational safety purposes. 

For more information on how to obtain free kits and/or free training,
including guidance material and links to program providers, please visit:

Can WSIB Increase Benefits and Employer Hold Premiums? 

Our provincial government has proposed to increase loss of earnings (LOE) benefits paid to injured and sick workers by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) from the current level of 85% of net pre-injury earnings to 90% of net. To pass this increase into law, the government will have to introduce a Bill to amend the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act section that prescribes LOE benefits. We expect such an amendment will be made in an upcoming omnibus Bill or, more likely, in the 2023 Budget Bill. 
At a high level, the employer premium rate is made up of two components, the cost of new injuries (CNI) and administrative costs. LOE benefits paid make up a very significant portion of the CNI, around $1 billion, while total administrative costs are less than $600 million.   
Prompt Payment and Adjudication rules took effect on Oct. 1, 2019, and apply to all construction projects, with few exceptions. COCA has developed resources for COCA’s members to share with their members.

The Prompt Payment and Adjudication webpage can be found on the COCA website at: https://lnkd.in/gUCB8Uib OR https://lnkd.in/g9xEivtj (getpaidontime.ca)

COCA has developed eight facts sheets to help you navigate Prompt Payment and Adjudication.

  • Prompt Payment and Adjudication for Owners
  • Prompt Payment for Contractors
  • Prompt Payment for Sub-Contractors
  • Prompt Payment and Adjudication 101
  • Prompt Payment for Holdbacks
  • How Does the Basic Holdback Work
  • What is a Proper Invoice
  • Adjudication Basics
Province’s Apprenticeship CEO Updates COCA Board on Year’s Progress

After spinning its wheels on this file for three years, in January 2022, our Ontario government finally launched the new organization to oversee the promotion of skilled trades careers and the delivery of the province’s apprenticeship program, a Crown Agency called Skilled Trades Ontario (STO). STO’s mandate is significantly trimmer and far less controversial than that of its predecessor, the Ontario College of Trades. STO is not responsible for the highly contentious issues of prescribing and deprescribing trades, determining the status of trades as either voluntary or compulsory, determining the scopes of practice for trades, determining journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios for trades, and compliance and enforcement. 

Those matters are now under the purview of the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. STO is principally responsible for overseeing the promotion of skilled trades careers and developing and managing learning standards and overseeing the delivery of apprenticeship curricula for the trades.   

Michael Sherrard, founding partner of the labour and employment law firm Sherrard-Kuzz LLP was appointed Chair of STO’s Board of Directors. Filling out the Board are James Barry (IBEW), John Breslin (Unifor), Lindsay Engel (Sheridan College), Mike Gallardo (Merit Ontario), Lee Greenberg (Policy Concepts), Ron Kelusky (retired, former Chief Prevention Officer), Jason Ottey (LiUNA), Kenneth Scott Player (former corporate finance executive and former corporate director), Karen Renkema-Millar (Progressive Contractors), Christine Wellenreiter (Canada Life)

Sanitary Conditions on Construction Sites

Workers may have to deal with unsanitary toilets and clean-up facilities on construction sites. Maintaining proper hygiene procedures and facilities on a worksite is an important way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It is also required under Ontario health and safety law.
The advisory, developed by IHSA in collaboration with the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council and COCA, reviews the risks of having poor sanitary conditions, suggests ways to prevent or control those risks, and outlines the legal requirements and workplace responsibilities for having proper hygiene practices and clean-up facilities on a construction site.

Standing Committee Convenes Pre-Budget Hearings Around Ontario 
The Ontario Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is already on the road convening pre-budget hearings around the Province. Here’s its schedule:   
  • 12:00 p.m. (CST) on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 for Kenora and Red Lake; 
  • 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, January 17, 2023 for Windsor; 
  • 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 for Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Timmins; 
  • 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, January 31, 2023 for Ottawa and Kingston; 
  • 12:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, February 7, 2023 for Barrie and Toronto. 
Hearings will be live-streamed from the legislature’s website. 
Written submissions should be sent to the following email address https://www.ola.org/en/apply-committees not later than 7:00 pm on February 14, 2023  
Statistics Canada’s December Jobs Report 

Here are the highlights copied from the Statistics Canada Labour Market Report for December 2022 and published on January 6, 2023: 
For all of Canada: 
  • Employment rose by 104,000 (+0.5%) in December, and the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 5.0%, just above the record low of 4.9% reached in June and July. 
  • Employment growth was led by an increase among youth aged 15 to 24, which recouped cumulative losses observed for this group from July to September. 
  • The number of employees increased in the private sector, while it held steady in the public sector. There were broad-based employment gains across several industries, including construction, as well as transportation and warehousing. 
  • Employment increased in Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan in December. There was little change in the other provinces. 
  • In December, 8.1% of employees were absent due to illness or disability, up from 6.8% in November. This was higher than the pre-pandemic average of 6.9% recorded in the month of December from 2017 to 2019 (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • Year-over-year growth in the average hourly wages of employees remained above 5% for a seventh consecutive month in December, up 5.1% (+$1.57 to $32.06) compared with December 2021 (not seasonally adjusted). 
  • Total hours worked were little changed on a monthly basis in December, and up 1.4% compared with 12 months earlier. 
  • As part of a Statistics Canada data collection initiative on new forms of employment, new data for December show that about 250,000 Canadians had provided ride or delivery services through an application or digital platform in the previous 12 months (population aged 16 to 69; not seasonally adjusted).  

For Ontario: 
  • Employment in Ontario in December 2022 totalled 7,743,700 an increase of 42,100 or 0.5% from the previous month and an increase of 104,500 or 1.4% from December 2021 
For Construction in Ontario: 
  • Total employment in the construction industry in Ontario in December 2022 stood at 589,500 an increase of 15,600 or 2.7% from November 2022 and an increase of 45,000 or 8.3% from December 2021 
For the complete details, click on the following link:  
Some Thoughts About What Lies Ahead at Queen’s Park in 2023 

Marit Stiles will be officially confirmed as leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario and as the Leader of the Official Opposition in the provincial legislature on February 4th. It’s no secret that all roads to forming government run through the 905 ridings that form a ring around the City of Toronto. So, is forming a government after the next general election (June 4, 2026) in Stiles' plans, and if so, how will she attempt to make inroads into these Toronto suburbs, which is new territory for her Party? 
The Ontario Liberal Party will select a new leader sometime later this year. (The Party will determine the rules for the leadership election and the timeline in March.) How will the OLP, which placed second in terms of the popular vote but won only 8 seats in the legislature in the June 2022 general election, learn from its horrible election result, redefine itself on the political spectrum and policy-wise, perform effective opposition in the legislature and position itself in the minds of Ontarians as a viable alternative to the Tories and the NDP? 
The government’s fiscal year runs on a calendar that starts on April 1st and ends on March 31st. So, the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is currently convening public hearings in selected locations across the Province and will also be considering the written submissions it receives from Ontarians. 

At the same time, the Ministry of Finance is working in parallel with the Standing Committee, consulting with economists, meeting with key stakeholders and considering written submissions. The Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, is expected to present the government’s financial blueprint for 2023-24 sometime in late March. Generally, governments are best advised to make all of their big transformational-type changes that are likely to attract significant opposition and controversy very early in their mandates. 

The Tories are now into the first full year of their new mandate following the general election in June 2022. What big transformational changes might the Tories have in store for Ontarians in their Spring 2023 budget? Or are they reluctant to add to the current big change and level of controversy swirling around them as a result of their stripping out a significant portion of the province’s protected Greenbelt to make way for new housing by developers alleged to be friends of the government? 
COCA Corporate Partners
Sherrard Kuzz Logo
Sherrard Kuzz LLP is one of Canada’s leading employment and labour law firms exclusively representing the interests of management. 

Recognized as a leading provider of strategic advice and effective employment and labour relations representation within the construction industry, our team is consistently named among Canada’s Top 10 Employment and Labour Boutiques

Visit us at https://www.sherrardkuzz.com/ to learn more
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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
926 - 123 Edward Street
Toronto ON M5G 1E2
COCA Staff
Ian Cunningham
Operations Manager
Martin Benson
COCA Website        WSIB          Ministry of Labour        
926 - 123 Edward Street
Toronto ON M5G 1E2
Phone: (416) 968-7200