On Monday, April 18, OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas met with the Standing Committee on Social Policy to outline our grave concerns with Bill 160. This Bill, having passed second reading, is now at the Committee which is the last chance to amend the serious flaws in a Bill that is supposed to pave the way for the implementation of the recommendations of the Tony Dean Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety.
Several other unions echoed their concerns with a Bill that is intended to improve the health and safety system in Ontario, especially for the most vulnerable of workers who live in fear of losing their jobs if they complain about health & safety at work. As currently written the Bill might make it harder for workers to prove they suffered from illegal reprisals. OPSEU is uniquely positioned to comment on potential impact of the Bill because the Ministry of Labour (MOL) enforcement officers, who enforce the Occupational Health and Safety Act every day, are our members. Representatives of the MOL MERC also gave the committee an insight into the challenges they will face every day if the Bill is not fixed.