ArticleBin Safety Guidline (Open-Top Containers) see more
This Best Management Practices Guideline outlines safety requirements for the manufacture, installation, use, and operation of Auto tarping equipment installed on roll-off hoist equipment. To download this document, click here.
ArticleThe OWMA supports reasonable reforms that support workers and protect our economy. see moreThe OWMA supports efforts to improve the workplace for employees, but strongly believes that any actions taken must protect Ontario’s economy while encouraging investment and job creation. The association's submission on the Changing Workplaces Review Special Advisors' Interim Report expresses the Ontario waste management sector's broad-based concerns with several recommendations that could negatively affect our economy. To read the OWMA's submission, click here.
ArticleMTO doesn't see the need to update Ontario's traffic laws to protect waste collection workers. see more
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation responded this month to the OWMA’s call to require drivers to slow down and move over for waste collection vehicles with their flashing lights on, telling a local newspaper in Hamilton that the government isn’t considering updating the province’s traffic laws to protect frontline workers in Ontario’s waste management sector.
Transportation Ministry spokesperson, Bob Nichols, told the Stoney Creek News that Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act “reflects the need of emergency vehicles and tow truck drivers to work in dangerous, high speed and uncontrolled road side situations that are generally not representative of those faced by other users of flashing lights.”
As anyone in the sector can see, the comments from the Ministry demonstrate a serious lack of understanding about the challenges waste collection workers face on a daily basis, including working on rural highways.
The OWMA has followed up with the Ministry to seek clarification on the comments and will continue to highlight the importance of strengthening protections for waste collection workers, following two successful news conferences recently held by the association.
The first news conference was on the National Day of Mourning, Friday, April 28, at Emterra Group’s office in Elmira. It gave the OWMA the opportunity to speak with the media about the growing trend across North America to pass slow down, move over laws while highlighting the association’s support for Harris’s private member’s bill, which would require drivers to slow down and move over for waste collection vehicles and snow plows with their flashing lights on.
The second news conference was on Friday, May 5, at Waste Connections of Canada’s transfer station in Hamilton. There, the association and Waste Connections’ representative, Dominic Evangelista, stressed the importance of providing the safest possible working environment for waste collection workers.
The news coverage from the two events is below:
Ontario MPP wants to broaden ‘slow down, move over’ law
Ontario’s waste management association gets behind "Slow down, Move over" bill by Tory MPP
Harris proposes Slow Down, Move Over to protect waste management and construction workers on roads
ArticleOntario is set to make major labour reforms following the release of the Changing Workplaces Review. see more
The Ontario government is planning to make a series of sweeping labour reforms after the release of the final Changing Workplaces Review, which is expected to made public next week.
News reports in the Toronto Star and CBC News last weekend pointed to several major changes that Labour Minister Kevin Flynn is prepared to make to address the issue of so-called “precarious employment.”
These reforms will likely include boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour, increasing vacation pay to a minimum of three weeks, requiring employers to provide more sick days, allowing workers to refuse shifts scheduled on short notice, extending full-time benefits to contract and part-time workers, and making it easier for workers to unionize in certain industries.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has already responded to the leaked details about the Changing Workplaces Review by writing an open letter to the Premier and making comments to the media to voice the business community’s concerns about the impact that significant changes to labour law could have on investment in Ontario and the broader economy.
The government’s planned actions follow last year’s release and consultation on the Changing Workplaces Review, Special Advisors’ Interim Report, which presented numerous options for reforming Ontario’s Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act. The report was authored by Michael Mitchell, an arbitrator and lawyer, and former Superior Court Justice John Murray, who were both appointed by the Ontario government in February 2015.
Card-based certification versus secret-ballot vote
The CBC reported that the government will remove barriers to unionization in “low-paid, precarious employment.” Moving in this direction could include, as the Toronto Star suggests, introducing card-based certification for certain sectors of the economy. The NDP has also tabled a private member’s bill to expand card-based certification in the province, which has been endorsed by Unifor.
Card-based certification, as opposed to a secret-ballot vote, allows union organizers to sign up employees using union “cards,” or authorization forms, and file an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board to certify a company or an organization without a vote.
The OWMA expressed its concerns about card-based certification last October in our submission to the government on the Changing Workplaces Review, Special Advisors’ Interim Report.
Ontario PCs’ position on secret-ballot vote shifts
Several other industry groups, including Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, reiterated their support for the secret-ballot vote last year, but only one political party has traditionally supported the practice. However, that may be changing.
The Official Opposition has consistently shown reluctance to engage the government on labour issues, which was clearly demonstrated in a major, but quiet, policy reversal on May 10.
In Question Period on May 9, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn accused Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown of being weak on labour issues and attacked MPP Jim McDonnell’s private member’s bill to restore the secret-ballot vote for the construction industry and eliminate card-based certification.
A day later, during Orders of the Day on May 10, McDonnell sought and received unanimous consent to remove his bill from the order paper despite the long-standing history of the Ontario PCs supporting and defending the secret-ballot vote.
With this context in mind, OWMA members should be aware that there will likely be little to no opposition to the Changing Workplaces Review, or to any subsequent labour bills, at Queen’s Park.