In mid-November of 2013, the Ontario government filed a new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act
(OHSA) that requires employers to ensure that workers and supervisors receive mandatory safety awareness training. The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation
(O. Reg. 297/13), will come into effect on July 1, 2014, allowing workplace parties time to prepare. (Source: MOL
This blog will provide you with more information about this regulation, an overview of your new training obligations, and identify a number of resources that you can use to assist you in becoming compliant.
What Does This Mean for Employers?
According to this new regulation, employers are required to:
- Ensure that workers complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program as soon as reasonably possible and supervisors within one week of working as a supervisor
- Maintain a record of the training completed by workers and supervisors
- Provide a worker or supervisor with written proof of completion of the training, if requested by the worker or supervisor (up to six months after ceasing to work for the employer)
In addition to these new training requirements, employers must continue to carry out their pre-existing duties and obligations under the OHSA. These include the general duty to “provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety or the worker.” (Clause 25 (2)(a))
Overview of Training Obligations
According to the regulation, training for workers must also include instruction on:
- Common workplace hazards and occupational illnesses
- Information and instruction requirements set out in the WHMIS Regulation
According to the regulation, training for supervisors must also include instruction on:
- How to identify, assess and manage workplace hazards
- Sources of information on occupational health and safety
The Ministry of Labour is providing a number of resources and tools to help employers become compliant with this new regulation by July 2014. Employers are not required to use these specific ministry resources, as long as they training they provide covers all of the necessary content outlined above (Source: MOL
There are a number of workbooks available for employers that can be printed or ordered through Publications Ontario. In addition to this, there are two electronic training tools available online for free. These modules can be completed by workers and supervisors as one way to meet the minimum training required by the regulation:
Already conducted health and safety training at your workplace? Be sure to review the content of that training and determine whether it was sufficient to fulfill the requirements of this new legislation. When reviewing your existing training, be sure to also identify all parties who may fall within the definition of worker and supervisor, ensuring that they have been or will be provided with the necessary training. (Source: Hicks Morley
If your previous training meets the basic content requirements outlined by the OHSA, and there is written proof that the training was completed
, you will likely be exempt from the need to retrain workers and supervisors. If that is not the case, employers should seek to revise their training programs to be in compliance with this new regulation.
Although there are basic training materials available to employers (see resources above), there are benefits to providing more complete and in-depth health and safety training to new or existing workers and supervisors. Not only will it likely enhance worker and supervisor safety, it will also aid in the prevention of accidents and ultimately the reduction of WSIB costs on the employer’s NEER statement.
Need help putting together a complete health and safety training? Clear Path's Health and Safety team provides the training, policy development, and expertise you need to succeed in the area of Health and Safety. Contact us today!
Ashley Madison Dating Service
, the world’s leading website for married people seeking extramarital affairs
, recently made headlines when a former employee sued the Canadian-based organization for $20-million for injuries sustained while creating fake profiles of women for the site. Doriana Silva was hired by Ashley Madison to help launch a Brazilian version of the dating site. Shortly after she came on board, she was asked to create 1000 “fake female profiles” – in a period of three weeks – in order to lure men to sign up for the new service. According to Silva, creating these profiles “created an enormous amount of keyboarding” and she quickly developed severe pain in her wrists and forearms (Source: CBC News
Silva alleges that the company ignored her complaints and her request for a wrist rest. According to her claim, she became unable to do her job and “remains seriously disabled in many if not all aspects of her life” (Source: CBC News
). She also stated that the company refused to grant her workers’ compensation or insurance despite an earlier agreement that she would be covered.
Ashley Madison refuted this claim saying that Silva exaggerated her injury in order to support demands for compensation which escalated over time (Source: City News
). At the time of the injury, Ashley Madison claimed that they arranged to have Silva evaluated and that an independent insurance auditor refused her claim. The company also claimed that two separate medical professionals met with Silva and prescribed “nothing more than rest” – something that the Ashley Madison says it was willing to allow (Source: City News
). You can read Ashley Madison’s full statement to the press, which includes details of their attempts to accommodate, here
The real question is how Silva was able to sue Ashley Madison in the first place - shouldn't they have been covered by the WSIB in the event of a workplace injury?
What About WSIB Coverage?
One of the photos released of Silva
Most Ontario employers are required to be registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario
(WSIB) within 10 days of hiring their first worker. However, there are still a small number of employers that fall outside of these requirements. In these cases, the decision is left up to the individual employer – either they can choose to be covered with the WSIB voluntarily or they can decide to go it alone. Based on the information given in the news, it appears as though Ashley Madison falls into this category.
The purpose of the WSIB is to provide workplace insurance coverage for all of your workers. One of the benefits of registering is the no-fault insurance protection from lawsuits in the event of a work-related injury.
The Ashley Madison case is an extreme example of the kinds of consequences you can face as an employer if you decide to go it alone for workplace insurance coverage. Not only have they found themselves in a lawsuit for over $20 million in compensation, they have also attracted an enormous amount of negative publicity as a result.
However, this is not to say that the company isn’t fighting back. The dating site has recently released pictures
of the woman playing on a jet ski and travelling after her alleged injury. They released a statement saying, “Throughout this lawsuit, Ms. Silva has continued to lead an active life and has shown no side effects from her so called injury, as evidence by her photo postings”
(Source: National Post
). You can read their full statement here
Changes to Construction Industry Coverage
As an organization, even when you are covered by WSIB, it is critical to keep up to date with changes happening in the industry. Right now, due to a major unfunded liability, the WSIB is making significant reforms (See Blog: WSIB Making Progress: The Hard Reality for Employers
).The number of companies that are not required to have coverage with the WSIB seems to be shrinking as the WSIB attempts to bring more and more employers under its umbrella. Big news earlier this year that impacted majority of the construction industry was the introduction of Bill 119 Mandatory Coverage. As of January 1, 2013, the previously exempt contractors are now required to register with the WSIB and to ensure that any employers have access to their Clearance Number. This also applies to nearly everyone else in the construction industry as well - not just workers, but business owners too.
The Ashley Madison case and the recent changes in the construction industry only serve to emphasize the importance of keeping up-to-date with what’s going on in the WSIB and the world of disability management. Not taking this seriously, as this case demonstrates, can result in astronomical costs and potentially extreme consequences.
Don’t know where to start? Let the Clear Path team help guide you through the bureaucratic maze, improve health outcomes for your workers, and reduce your claim costs. We also offer a complimentary NEER review to those who are new to Clear Path. Our experts will forecast your costs for 2014 and identify areas of potential savings for you. Click here for more information about this service: http://www.clearpathemployer.com/free-neer-review.html
| || |
Many may see the movie blockbusters "The Hunger Games" and its sequel "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (which just opened to a record breaking
box office) as "popcorn flicks" mostly aimed at the teen set. But the adventures of Katniss, Peeta, Gale and all of the other characters created by author Suzanne Collins
actually contain many valuable insights for HR professionals and business managers, particularly related to creating effective teams and helping your employees to achieve your business objectives.Spoiler Alert
: Please note that this article contains numerous spoilers from the movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," so stop reading if you haven't yet seen the movie and want to be surprised.
Tip #1. Sharing information with your team is great, but occasionally you need to "protect" them from the details in order to keep them focused on achieving a goal Some of the tributes in the Quarter Quell
Unbeknownst to our heroine, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence
) and her mockingjay pin had become important symbols for the growing rebellion against the Capitol and several of her rivals were actually working with the rebel forces to keep her alive in the latest Hunger Games competition (known as the Quarter Quell). Some were even willing to sacrifice themselves in order to keep her safe. The leaders of the rebellion decided to keep Katiniss in the dark about this plot until the very end of the film in order to keep her focused during the competition. Similarly, it is occasionally necessary to keep details that may cause a distraction away from your team members (or at least delay the release of that information). Absolute transparency about issues like a financial difficulty, a legal challenge, or an upcoming termination can be a paralyzing distraction for some employees and may cause others to bolt. This could actually transform the risk of a potential failure into a reality.
Of course, anyone who believes that their employees will not notice an increased level of anxiety from the executive suite is fooling themselves. If workers are distracted by a perceived "secret," it may be prudent to share some of the details with them. Scary news should be shared carefully and presented in a way that is motivating, not demotivating.
Tip #2. Build a team with a variety of skill sets and experience levels, but with common values New allies Finnick and Mags
The group of tributes that ultimately prevailed in the second Hunger Games film were not carbon copies of the teenaged Katniss and Peeta from District 12. In fact, some were not young at all. In addition to the physically strong Finnick and Joanna, the team included the elderly Mags (a mentor to the athletic Finnick), the technologically savvy Beetie, the intuitive (if "nutty") Wiress, and most definitely Haymitch Abernathy (played by Woody Harrelson) who helped engineer things behind the scenes.
Each of the team members brought skill sets that complemented (rather than mirrored) each other. And most importantly, they shared the common values of loyalty, innovation, creativity, and perseverance.
As any good hiring manager knows, it is critical to build a team that is dedicated to working towards the greater good and achieving your corporate objectives, rather than solely being focused on their own victories and achievements.
Tip #3. Don't let your personal biases and first impressions preclude you from learning from someone you may not enjoy working with Mischievous Haymitch Abernathy
One thing that Suzanne Collins does well is include a number of essentially unlikable characters in her books. Katniss Everdeen is not exactly the "rah rah" type and isn't afraid to appear prickly to others. Most of all, the character of Haymitch is crude, cynical and often drunk. But the wisdom he has gained from his experience as a past Hunger Games victor and more importantly, the relationships he has developed within the Capitol, make him an invaluable ally.
Encouraging team members to see past the differences and be open to learning from all of their team mates is one of the best ways to grow your business. Help them understand that a healthy dose of skepticism and conflicting approaches can make your team better, not worse.
Tip #4. Pushing employees to work against their strengths is likely to lead to disappointing results Peeta and Katniss on their Victory Tour
In "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," President Snow requires Katniss and Peeta, the victors of the previous Hunger Games, to travel to each of the 12 Districts on a "Victory Tour." Threatening her safety and that of her loved ones, President Snow forces Katniss to put on a show that will help quell the growing discontent within the country. Of course, this only feeds the fire of rebellion and despite Katniss and Peeta's best efforts to comply with Snow's wishes, it does not work and only leads to more discontentment.
The old adage "making sure you have the right people on the bus" must be appended with "...and that everyone is sitting in the right seat." Ensure that you know the strengths of each team member if you truly want great results and don't hesitate to reassign a good employee into a different role within your organization where their strengths could be better utilized. We recommend utilizing the Gallup organization's Strengthsfinder
test as a standard practice.
Tip #5. Breaking your word or making "bad faith" agreements will not lead to success Katniss Everdeen
Historically, victors of the Hunger Games were free from ever having to participate in another competition (although they were expected to work as mentors). In order to eliminate the growing threat posed by Katniss, President Snow announced that the 75th edition of the Hunger Games would be a kind of "all star" edition where the participants were drawn exclusively from previous winners, knowing Katniss would be selected.
This also impacted the lives of all the other previous victors, some of which were elderly or not physically prepared for such a challenge. Ultimately, nearly half of the tributes forced to participate again were involved in a plot to keep Katniss alive and defy the power of the Capitol.
Nothing can demotivate even the best employee than management's decision not to live up to a promise made, particularly if that promise involved compensation such as a bonus, an increase in salary, a new position, or additional vacation days. The feeling of betrayal from an employee in this situation (whether or not their grievance is legitimate or only perceived), can lead to performance issues and ultimately the departure of that employee. In the unfortunate event that the company is no longer in the position to be able to live up to a promise made, it is best to address the issue directly with the impacted employee.
Tip #6. Encourage frank and honest conversations between all workers and senior management Katniss and President Snow
During an early scene in the film "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," President Snow (portrayed by Canadian Donald Sutherland
) pays an unscheduled visit to the home of Katniss Everdeen. During their ominous conversation he vehemently insists that they "not lie to each other." The ongoing relationship (more of a hate-hate one, not a love-hate thing) is one of the more interesting elements of the series.
But is it realistic to expect candid conversations between employees and those who can be responsible for them losing their jobs? Does disagreement with a corporate decision always mean insubordination? Wise business owners nurture a culture where honest feedback and constructive criticism is welcome to be shared by everyone in the organization. What medium that takes place in can vary - from one-on-one conversations with management, to a suggestions box, to a company "town hall" meeting. However...
Tip #7. Quash insubordination and employee defiance as quickly as possible [this tip is from the point of view of the villainous President Snow]
Capitol stylist Cinna
Cinna's defiant dress
Capitol stylist Cinna (portrayed by Lenny Kravitz
) is a good friend and ally for Katniss in both of the films. He helps her to first create her image as "the girl on fire" and ultimately creates a gown for her to wear just before the Quarter Quell that transforms from a wedding gown (a reference to her fictiticious wedding to Peeta) into a mockingjay (the symbol for the rebellion). Just prior to the start of the Quarter Quell, Snow's soldiers attack and likely kill Cinna right in front of Katniss.
Plutarch Heavensbee (portrayed by Philip Seymour Hoffman
) is introduced in the second film as the new Gamemaker (after the demise of the previous one). Seemingly aligned with President Snow and part of his inner circle, Plutarch is eventually revealed to be part of the rebel forces and helps rescue Katniss, Finnick and Beetie from the Quarter Quell.
It is important to allow team members to express contrary opinions to those of management, but when they become less about constructive comments and more about snide remarks it is necessary for management to take action. There's another old adage that states "what you allow, you encourage." Allowing negativity and possibly even defiant actions to undermine a decision within the organization will allow these feelings to fester and create an unproductive workforce. Other employees may replicate these actions and even those who disagree may lose respect for leaders who allow others to behave in such a manner.
| || |
So do you have any more HR lessons that you learned from "The Hunger Games" or "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire?" We'd love to hear about them in the comments section!
Facing a challenging HR situation? Want some advice from seasoned HR professionals? The experienced team at Clear Path Employer Services can help. Contact Anna at (519) 624-0800 for assistance.
Elizabeth Witmer, who has held the position of WSIB chair for over a year now, recently reported that the WSIB has made significant progress in the quality of service it provides to Ontario workers and employers. Looking back four years earlier, the future and sustainability of the WSIB system seemed bleak as finances continued to worsen and the unfunded liability reached unbelievable levels – in 2012 the number was reported to be upwards of 13 billion. Something needed to change. Witmer exclaims that the WSIB has now begun to pull away from that “tipping point” and focusing on the “longer-term viability of workers’ compensation in Ontario.” (Source: WSIB Chair Message
So what progress has been made exactly? According to Witmer:
- Premiums now covering costs - no longer need to borrow from Investment Fund to maintain benefits
- Unfunded liability has fallen by one billion dollars since last year
- On track to achieve the legislated target of 60% funding by 2017
- Able to freeze employer premium rates for 2014
The Hard Reality for Employers
Witmer paints quite the happy picture in her message - but the bigger picture, especially where employers are concerned, leaves much to be desired. How has the WSIB been able to improve their financial situation? What has taken place in order for other costs to be reduced? The truth is, employers have been hit quite hard as a result of this “progress”.
Here are some of the most prominent changes that have occurred as a result:
- Reserve Factor Table Changes
- Reduced Expected Costs
- Addition of a Fourth Year for the NEER Window
- Difficulty in Obtaining SIEF Cost Relief for Claim Costs
Reserve Factor Table Changes
As some of you may already be aware, the WSIB announced changes to the NEER Reserve Factor Tables
in August 2013, resulting in increases in projected future costs and overall limited claim costs. Because of these increases, many employers received quite the unpleasant surprise when they saw their September 2013 NEER statement results.
“This change had a significant impact on surcharge and rebate numbers on the September statement,” Kelly Auld
, Claims Manager at Clear Path, explains. “For employers that reviewed their 2013 NEER statements in June and forecasted for September 2013, some have seen their estimated rebate cut in half or have even moved from a rebate to a surcharge position."
, another Claims Manager at Clear Path, adds to this saying that, “Depending on the size of the company and the number of claims they have, we have been able to estimate that the cost for the employer can range from $5,000 - $400,000 or more”.
Interestingly enough, for the first time ever, the WSIB noted on page 2 of the September 2013 NEER statement that the reserve factors are preliminary and subject to change again. This, in essence, is giving the WSIB room to change the reserve factors at any given time. In the past, the Reserve Factor Tables were never changed past March in the current review year. With this significant change to continue to update reserve factors as late as August, employers must closely monitor the WSIB website as these changes are likely to result in increased costs for the employer.
Reduced Expected Costs
In addition to changing the reserve factors in August, the WSIB also reduced expected costs (See Page 5 of the NEER User Guide
). An employer’s refund or surcharge is determined based on a proportion of the difference between their NEER costs and expected costs. Because expected costs have been reduced, more and more employers are surpassing these numbers and are finding themselves in a surcharge position or are receiving less of a rebate than they would have otherwise.
The WSIB has also extended the NEER Review Window
to four years, starting with the 2008 accident year. Instead of a claim’s cost impacting the employer for three years, it now impacts them for four – resulting in an overall increase in costs.
Difficulty Obtaining SIEF Cost Relief
Under WSIB Policy 14-05-03
, if a prior disability caused or contributed to the worker’s injury, or if the recovery period becomes prolonged or enhanced due to a pre-existing condition, all or part of the compensation and health care costs may be transferred from the employer’s experience rating or NEER statement to the Second Injury and Enhancement Fund (SIEF).
In the past, the WSIB case manager was more likely to grant cost relief in situations where it was requested. Now however, the WSIB has a specialized SIEF team in place who scrutinize each request and are much more reluctant to allow SIEF on claims.
In order to obtain cost relief, we see the WSIB more and more relying on the employer to provide the WSIB with objective medical documentation to support that the pre-existing condition is directly linked
to the prolonged recovery. In the past, the pre-existing condition in itself combined with an obviously prolonged recovery would have been enough to warrant cost relief.
Behind the Progress
The truth is, as positive as Witmer’s comments about the WSIB’s financial progress reads on paper, many employers have been suffering financial consequences as a result. It is now significantly more difficult for employers to be successful in reducing their WSIB costs through NEER forecasting and acquiring SIEF cost relief—even when they appear to be doing everything right.
Looking for more assistance in understanding the WSIB or reducing your costs? Our team of experts are trained in how to deal effectively with the WSIB and achieve the highest reduction in claim costs
for employers. Contact us today for a consultation.
Remember your first job? Whether you were cleaning bathroom floors or serving up fries at your local fast food joint, its likely that your first job played an important role in shaping your work ethic and influencing your overall career journey.
Similar to our recent blog “How I Hire
”, this blog will dive into the new feature series by LinkedIn Today
entitled “My First Job
” which takes a look at the career grassroots of some of the top influencers in the business world. Over 90 influencers have participated in this discussion by posting stories about their very first money-making enterprise and how it impacted who they are as a professional. As Francesca, Senior Editor at LinkedIn, put it: “These compelling, funny, humiliating and heartening tales show the breadth of ways successful people can start working, and offer insight into the earliest experiences of some of the working world’s top minds.” Here are some of the articles that have received the most attention online:
My First Job: Fired and Rehired on Day 1
Steve Blank, Lecturer at UCSF
, had quite the interesting experience with his first job in Silicon Valley. After accepting the job opportunity, he quit his job, packed up everything he owned, and moved across the country to California… only to find out that he was hired without authorization and the job no longer existed. So what did he do? He persisted and, in that same day, he managed to get himself hired for a completely different position. He continued to “show up” for different opportunities that arose, always putting himself out there and accepting challenges. It was this determined spirit which he developed in this first role that set the precedent for the professional he is today. Read the full article here
My First Job: Breeding Budgies (The Business, and Birds, Took Off)
Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group
, started his own small business at the age of 11 – breeding budgies. Being unable to sell them as quickly as they were multiplying, his mother set all of the birds free. Next he tried getting into the Christmas tree business. Turns out rabbits love to eat the tiny ones… It wasn’t until he started his next venture, Student Magazine, that he saw success. Eventually this became the Virgin Group – a venture with over 100 companies and 60,000 employees in over 50 countries. Looks like all that persistence paid off. Read the full article here.
My First Job: From Pizza Delivery Boy to CEO
Paul Metselaar, CEO of Ovation Travel Group
, started off working as a pizza delivery boy in his mid-teens. He quickly discovered that, the faster he delivered, the more tips he received. He then began taking orders himself to speed up the process – doing everything he could to keep those tips coming in steadily. Since then, that small pizza shop has become a well-known and established restaurant in town. Paul’s journey from pizza boy to CEO can be summarized in three rules: 1) Don’t just do what you’re told – instead, step up to the plate and take initiative. 2) Dress the part, and 3) Become vested in your workplace – by seeing the larger picture of how your job affects the bottom line, you can motivate yourself to achieve greatness. Read the full article here
My First Job: What Unloading Beer Taught Me About Leadership
John Donahoe, CEO and President at eBay
, claims that his summer job unloading beer at a distribution company gave him extremely valuable insights about what it means to be a leader. The first was the importance of getting along with many different types of people. He learned quickly that their diversity, approaches to their job, and different ways they interacted were things to be appreciated and learned from, rather than trying to conform them. He also learned the value of trust – in taking responsibility and communicating your belief in others. While the job title wasn’t the most glamorous, John’s first job helped to shape him into the leader and visionary he is today. Read the full article here.
My First Job: Everyone Should Learn to Mop A Floor
Dennis Berman, Business Editor of the Wall Street Journal
, says that there is one thing that every 15 year old should learn… how to mop a floor. Why? His thought is that, “once you mop a floor long enough, you develop a reflexive respect for all the work underfoot and the people who do it.” Quite the valuable lesson to learn at a young age – and one that could deeply impact how you view work and organizational structure moving forward in your career. Read the full article here.
The first work experiences of these top influencers and visionaries hint at a much larger picture – the idea that every work experience contributes something in the shaping of who we are as business professionals.
As an HR professional in particular, it is important to recognize what these different experiences can bring to the table when it comes to making a hiring decision or dealing with employees within your company. These stories say a lot about work ethic, how it is developed, and what kind of values you want to be looking for when bringing someone on board.
What was your first job experience like? Share in the comments section below!
November 1st, 2013 marked a momentous milestone for Clear Path Employer Services. It was on this day, exactly 10 years ago, that the business came into fruition. From it's humble beginnings in Anna's living room to a thriving and growing company with over 100 clients and a team of over 20 dedicated team members, there is no denying that Clear Path has come a long way over these past ten years.
In celebration of this achievement, we decided to host a big Client Appreciation Event on the date of our anniversary. The purpose of this event was to recognize and appreciate all of those who have helped us get to where we are today. With over 60 people in attendance - valued clients, partners, and employees - we were really able to ring in this occasion in style!
One of the highlights of the event were our three incredible speakers:
Matthew Mihailovich from Hicks Morley kicked it off with a talk on "Human Resources Management in an Increasingly Complex World." His seminar covered a wide variety of issues including managing the aging workforce, mental illness at work, and dealing with workplace violence and harassment. I think it's safe to say that all of you in attendance were impressed with his killer acting skills!
Anna Aceto-Guerin from Clear Path Employer Services followed Matthew's seminar with a brief overview of some of the recent updates and changes in the WSIB. Her seminar touched on the new eStatement capabilities and the modernization of the appeals process.
Last to close off our seminar series was Joan Binetti with a session entitled "Take a Giant Leap in Leadership Performance." This interactive and engaging session was a hit with everyone! From the mini dishcloth folding competition to the red clown nose on Anna, Joan's creative delivery really helped instill the importance of positive leadership performance in the workplace.
We would also like to thank all of those who donated prizes for our event:
Thank you so much to all of those who were able to join us at our Customer Appreciation Event! We are so grateful for the continued support of our clients and can think of no better way to celebrate our tenth year anniversary as a company. We hope that you thoroughly enjoyed your time!
Here is what some of our clients have to say about their overall experience:
“Loved the speakers! Very relevant topics, very dynamic! Great food, great prizes. Time for networking.”
"By far Matthew and Joan were the best speakers I've heard in any seminar/conference I've attended this year. Absolutely phenomenal. So interactive, engaging, and knowledgeable!"
“I loved the topics the speakers covered and the opportunity to ask questions and network. Food was great!"
“All speakers were very informative, the food was great and it was just a lot of fun!”
“It was good to see faces so I can relate them to the emails and voices on the phone. It's interesting to hear how Clear Path got started "in the living room"...kind of like Steve Jobs and his garage. Lunch was very good. Overall a great way to start the day and end the week.”
“Very nice event - great way to celebrate your success and have your clients together for networking too!”
Have you received this letter yet? Companies all across Ontario are getting a big wake-up call from the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment when it comes to AODA compliance. The realization that this isn't something that can just be dismissed is beginning to sink in.
receiving this letter from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario, companies must file their accessibility report within 20 business days. Failure to do so may result in enforcement action being taken against your organization, which can include inspections, Director's Orders, and administrative monetary policies. Before filing your report, it's important that you fully understand the purpose of AODA and what it means to comply with the requirements of the Accessibility Standard for Customer Service.
What is the AODA?
AODA legislation aims to make the province of Ontario fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. Passed in 2005, the AODA is being implemented in five pieces known as standards. Each standard has different time frames and requirements for business owners:
- Customer Service Standard
- Transportation Standard
- Employment Standard
- Communication & Information Standard
- Built Environment Standard
Customer Service Standard
The Customer Service Standard is the first of the five standards - and perhaps the least onerous for business. It requires that Ontario businesses provide their goods and services in a way that is accessible to all Ontarians. There are 11 specific requirements
employers must fulfill.
Have You Met the Standards?
It's Time to File That Report!
The purpose of the Accessibility Compliance Report is to demonstrate that you have met the requirements
of the Customer Service Standard. These include establishing policies, practices, and procedures on providing goods or services to people with disabilities and training your staff on providing accessible customer service.
Clear Path Employer Services offers an AODA DIY Package
designed to make compliance as easy as possible for your company. In this package you will receive:
- Workplace Accessibility Tool
- Employee Feedback Survey
- Customizable Policy Statement
- PowerPoint Presentation for Training Employees
- Employee Training Sign-Off Template
- Feedback Process Samples
- One Hour of Telephone or Email Support
For more information, or to place your order, please visit: www.clearpathemployer.com/aoda-diy-package
recently launched a new series called “How I Hire
” which enlists top influencers to share insights into hiring the right people. With almost 100 different articles (and counting), this series provides HR professionals with an insider look into the minds of some of the most influential people in business today and how they make decisions around hiring. This blog will highlight the top 10 articles that have generated the most buzz online.
How I Hire: Focus On Personality
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
, suggests that the first thing you should look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture. “Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner.” Read the full article here
How I Hire: The Must-Haves, the Definitely-Should-Haves and the Game-Changer
This next idea was posed by Jack Welch, Founder of Jack Welch Management Institute
at Strayer University. He argues that hiring is a discipline that improves with time and practice – but only if you deploy a very specific (and unbending) qualifications check-list. “It contains two flat-out must-haves (high integrity and IQ),
five qualities that are definitely-should-haves (energy, ability to energize, edge, execution, and passion),
and one very special quality that, while not exactly commonplace, is a total game-changer (the generosity gene).” Read the full article here
How I Hire: There Is No Lone Genius; Hire a Team with These Four Types
Next up is Beth Comstock, CMO at GE
. She takes the romanticism out of the idea of the lone genius and pushes the idea that lasting success is built by teams that drive each other through collaboration, different skill sets and tension. There are four different types of people she looks for when hiring: 1) The fish out of water, 2) Someone who can FIO (Figure It Out), 3) Candidates with design training, and 4) The well-balanced player. Read the full article here.
How I Hire: Pay Attention to the Person Not the Resume
Lex Fenwick, CEO of Dow Jones
, challenges the notion that it’s all about the resume and instead looks to shift the focus to the person behind that piece of paper. He claims that the “good on paper” candidate is rarely the right fit for the job, company, or management style. His advice? “Start with the person. Find great talent first, hire them, and then put them into a job where you think they’ll thrive.” Read the full article here
How I Hire: Sell Me a Pen. Now
In the mind of Paul Sagoo, CEO of Lemon Group International
, life experience trumps formal qualifications. To cut above the lies in the interview process, Sagoo suggests creating real world scenarios and asking the candidate to respond to you as if it were a live situation. If they respond positively, you have a potential positive hire. “For example, if you are interviewing a sales person, pick up a pen and ask them to sell it to you. The point here is not about them selling a pen, but about seeing how they react to pressure, the questions they ask you in return, and more importantly how they can increase the value of such a simple object.” Read the full article here
How I Hire: Nail the Interview in 5 Minutes and 2 Questions
Mark Hull, Director of Product Management at LinkedIn
, says he can usually tell how an interview will turn out within the first five minutes. He opens with two questions: “Tell me about your dream job” and “Describe an amazing user experience”. The idea is that these questions give the candidates a chance to demonstrate their motivation and personality – answers that require more than the canned “tell me about yourself” response. Read the full article here
How I Hire: Three Questions, No Resumes
J.T. O’Donnell, Founder and CEO of CAREEREALISM.com
, stopped asking for resumes a long time ago. Instead, she poses three questions
and has people submit their answers along with a link to their LinkedIn profile. The idea behind this is that the application process becomes a form of “pre-interview” and provides valuable hiring information within the first interaction with a potential hire. Read the full article here
How I Hire: Look Into an Applicant’s Soul
Say goodbye to traditional interview questions. Deepak Chopra, Founder of the Chopra Foundation
, has put together a set of questions to create a “Soul Profile” for potential candidates. Questions include: What is your life purpose? What are the qualities you look for in a good friendship? What makes you joyful? By asking questions like these, you avoid the problem of focusing only on professional skills – something that can lead to problems when it comes to organizational and cultural fit. Read the full article here
How I Hire: 6 Ways I Find and Hire Hardworking Millennials
Lesley Seymour, Editor in Chief of More Magazine
, urges employers not to dismiss the generation of millennials – just take some hiring and management precautions. She recommends 6 steps to help weed out the duds and find the eager hard-chargers who will stick around, build your business, and make you look good: 1) Be brutally honest in the interview, 2) Don’t hire them if you sense even a whiff of entitlement, 3) Do a hunger check. 4) Remember, everyone announces themselves in the interview, 5) Shake ‘em up a bit, and 6) When you find the good ones, help them move up – even if that means losing them. Read the full article here
How I Hire: The 5 People You Should Never Hire
Sam Shank, CEO and Co-Founder at HotelTonigh
t, and his team have developed a list of clear dealbreakers to help streamline the hiring process. Stay away from hiring the following people: the one who hasn’t used your product the one with the typo, the one with the out-of-date LinkedIn profile, the one who’s inappropriate on Twitter, and the one who isn’t motivated to do great things. Read the full article here
How I Hire: Create Obstacles to Weed Out the Undetermined
Anna Aceto-Guerin, Founder of Clear Path Employer Services
, believes it’s time to go beyond the traditional application process of submitting a resume. By introducing obstacles in the early stages of the hiring process, it quickly becomes apparent which applicants are willing to go the extra mile. For example, in addition to sending in a cover letter and resume, get applicants to answer a set of questions by phoning into the company and leaving a voice-mail message. It’s amazing how this one extra step will deter many from applying to the position! Not only does this obstacle act as a filter for incoming candidates, it also provides you with valuable hiring information – especially if the role requires a high level of interaction over the phone.
It’s clear that many companies are looking outside of the box when it comes to the hiring process – asking more unusual questions, focusing in on different aspects of the candidate, and placing a stronger emphasis on cultural fit. There are almost 100 different articles in the “How I Hire” series that seek to break down these hiring barriers and share insight from years of experience with the wider HR community. Click here for a full listing of the “How I Hire” series. Looking for practical recruiting tips and strategies? Clear Path Employer Services offers a full-day workshop that provides you with a proactive approach to recruiting, valuable insight into best practices for effective onboarding and hiring the right people, and strategies for handling terminations in a way that is best for your company and employee. Our next workshop is November 6th in Cambridge. Register here.
Yet another social media “oops” has surfaced in the news – and this time, it happened in Canada. This past Monday, three Toronto firefighters were terminated based on comments they made on social media. This recent decision was met with heavy criticism and sparked anger from their union, which insists that the firings do nothing to promote a culture of respect in the city’s fire hall (Source: City News).
What makes this case a little different from some of the other “social media blunders” we’ve seen in the past, is that their terminations resulted from a month-long investigation into the firefighter’s tweets and other social media posts. Toronto Fire Chief Jim Sales said that the investigation was launched after a media report in August said two firefighters had posted several posts on Twitter that were seen as
degrading to women (Source: City News). Many of the posts in question were direct quotes from television shows like The Office and South Park.
Here are some of the tweets under fire from firefighter Matt Bowman (@Hero_Matt):
Line from a 2006 episode of The Office
Line from a 1997 episode of South Park
A few months later, firefighter Lawaun Edwards posted the following response to a friend’s tweet:
Photo Credit: National Post
Upon learning of these tweets last month, Bowman and Edwards were both suspended with pay (Source: The Star
). However, Sales has said that they have now been let go along with a third firefighter who has not yet been identified. The investigation discovered a “pattern” of inappropriate social media use and public comments that were in violation of the city policies (Source: City News
As employees of the City of Toronto
, firefighters are required to follow the city’s social media guidelines. These guidelines state that:
"Employees should not engage in harassment, personal attacks, or abuse toward individuals or organizations,” and “not use language that is discriminatory, hateful, or violent towards identifiable groups or that incites others to discriminate, practice hate or violence.”
It remains to be seen if these tweets were posted while on the job or during personal time. This is a question that has also surfaced in many other cases surrounding employee terminations due to inappropriate or discriminatory social media posts or actions (see Big Brother Blog and NFL Blog): Does behaviour displayed outside of the workplace hold the same weight as behaviour displayed within the workplace when it comes to terminations?
“The Toronto public service fosters a corporate culture that sets the highest standard of integrity, professionalism, and ethical behaviour. It is our expectation all employees demonstrate and uphold these core values... Members of the Toronto Fire Service are in positions of public trust. This trust is paramount to the division’s ability to carry out its work and deliver critical services to all Toronto residents”.
“The association is outraged by these terminations and will make every effort to have these members reinstated. These terminations neither address the specific issues that have been raised nor do they promote the alleged objectives of the fire service.”
So what do you think about these recent terminations? Are you siding with Toronto Fire Services on this one or the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association? Leave your comments below.
Ever had a worker appeal a decision from the WSIB? Did you decide to participate? What are the implications of not participating?
We have conducted an interview with Senior Disability Management expert Jennifer Wright-Tahiraj
to help us answer some of these common questions and gain insight into the importance of always participating in a worker appeal.
What reasons would a worker have to appeal a WSIB decision?In many cases, the worker
appeals a decision because it was not favourable for them. For example, if loss or earnings or entitlement were denied for the worker, they would typically appeal the decision because they didn’t get the benefits they were looking for from the WSIB.
What are some reasons why an employer might decide not to participate in a worker appeal?
There are really only two reasons why an employer wouldn’t participate in a worker appeal – if the worker’s claim is outside of the NEER window and if the worker is no longer employed with the company. If they are an employee and the claim is in the NEER window, the employer should participate. How can an employer participate?
Once you receive notification that a worker is appealing a decision, it’s time to get legal representation. Clear Path has disability management consultants and a paralegal representative available to assist you with this entire process. Simply send us the information you received from the WSIB regarding the worker appeal and all of the paperwork will be completed and submitted by one of our consultants. Is there a difference in being physically present versus providing a written submission?
There is. In most cases, the worker appeal will be an oral hearing – typically because this is what the worker tends to ask for. In a written hearing, a Clear Path consultant will prepare a written submission on behalf of the employer so that they do not have to be present at the hearing. So which should you provide? It varies based on each individual case and depends on what the appeal is for and who is initiating it. Can you give some examples of appeals where previous decisions have been reversed?
I can recall one case where the worker appealed because they were denied a recurrence and loss of earnings for a surgery that had to take place. The employer chose not to participate and, in the end, the worker’s appeal was granted.
In this particular case, the recurrence wasn’t allowed but a new claim was established in its place. The end result? The original 2008 claim became a new 2011 claim where loss of earnings and benefits were allowed for his surgery that was to occur in 2012. Now the employer has an active claim on their NEER for this year’s September NEER review and they will have a significant surcharge as a result. If they had participated in the appeal with proper representation, it is possible that things may have unfolded differently.
Is there any recourse for an employer if a decision has been reversed?
If the WSIB’s decision was reversed at the ARO
(Appeals Resolution Officer) level, the employer can then appeal the decision at the WSIAT level. However, if the decision was made at the WSIAT
(Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal) level there is nothing that can be done because this is the last step of the appeal process. It is important to remember that you must appeal within the 6 month deadline.
Want to Learn More? Attend Our Workshop!
Clear Path offers a Preparing for a WSIB Appeal
workshop that provides you with practical tips on how the WSIB Appeal process works and how to best represent your company’s interests. This half-day workshop will teach you specific strategies from an expert on how to manage your case file so you are appeal ready. Click here for a course outline and a list of upcoming workshops: http://www.clearpathemployer.com/prep-for-wsib-appeal.html