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Updated: 2 years 22 weeks ago

Canada Ratifies International Convention, Takes Stand Against Child Labour and Exploitation

Wed, 2016-06-08 07:48

MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced today in Geneva the Government of Canada’s ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Minimum Age Convention, 1973.

The Convention requires ratifying member states to set a minimum age for employment of at least 15 years and to prohibit hazardous work for young workers under the age of 18, unless specific measures are put in place.

Ratifying Convention 138 (as it is also known) is part of the Government of Canada’s plan to strengthen Canada’s place in the world and rebuild our international influence. Last month, Minister Mihychuk attended a G7 meeting for ministers of education in Japan where she pursued opportunities for Canadian leadership in education, training, apprenticeships and skills development.

Ratifying Convention 138 is not expected to negatively impact Canadian businesses and operations such as family farms, or part-time work by Canadian teens working at babysitting, camp counselling or other similar jobs.

The Convention will come into force 12 months from today, in June 2017.


Quick Facts

  • Convention 138 is one of eight fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) that are considered core to promoting decent work.
  • Canada joins 168 countries around the world that have also ratified Convention 138.
  • The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that sets international labour standards, encourages decent employment opportunities, enhances social protection and strengthens dialogue on work-related issues. Canada is one of the 187 member states of the ILO.
  • International labour standards take the form of conventions and protocols, which are legally binding international treaties subject to ratification by member states, and recommendations, which provide non-binding guidance. They influence labour laws and practices in ILO member states and contribute to improved labour and employment conditions for workers globally.

Associated Links

Minimum Age Convention, 1973

Labour Program

International Labour Organization

Office of the Fairness Commissioner Launches Third Cycle of Assessments

Tue, 2016-06-07 14:56

Periodically, the OFC assesses each regulatory body’s registration practices, makes recommendations for improving practices as needed, and monitors the implementation of recommendations and action plans.

A full assessment will take place in 2016–2017. For each regulator, the assessment process will not exceed 120 business days from the day they receive the draft assessment report from the OFC.

Access the 2016-2017 assessment process steps.


In fall of 2015, the OFC launched a series of new resources for regulators that aims to help understand Ontario’s fair-access law. The entire series of four modules is now available on the OFC’s website in both English and French. Topics for these new modules include: applying fair-access law, applying fair-access law scenarios and implementing fair-access law.

Access the online learning module series.

Recorded Webinar on Refugees and Trauma – Tips for Supporting

Tue, 2016-06-07 14:25

Refugee individuals and families carry with them vulnerability, potential trauma as well as strengths and stories of resilience. This webinar explores trauma in relation to the refugee and migration experience. Core needs are explored alongside areas of both vulnerability and transformative growth. Tips applicable to a wide range of helpers are offered for supporting refugees and newcomers that enhance their capacities to be able to recover, adapt and flourish in the next phase of their lives.

Access the webinar recording.

Download Powerpoint Slides
Handouts: Download Exercises for Emotion Regulation

Webinar: Mindfulness as a Counselling Tool

Tue, 2016-06-07 14:13

Mindfulness practices contribute to individuals developing greater emotion regulation, ability to engage with life and overall better physical and mental health. Counselling professionals, as well as settlement professionals, can use mindfulness strategies to improve their own capacity to engage with and support others, as well as teach these strategies to those they support. This webinar gives an overview of considering how to apply mindfulness practices into the counseling setting. This webinar is a companion to the webinar entitled: Mindfulness – An Introduction – Part 1.

Access the webinar recording of Mindfulness as a Counselling Tool – Part 2.

New Instructions for Gathering and Disclosing Information for Refugee Appeal Division Proceedings

Tue, 2016-06-07 14:08

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has recently issued a new policy instrument: the Chairperson’s Instructions for Gathering and Disclosing Information for Refugee Appeal Division Proceedings. Effective May 30, 2016, the instructions describe how the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the IRB will gather and disclose information for its proceedings.

Recent Federal Court jurisprudence has had a significant impact on the work of the RAD and as a result, the RAD has expanded the scope of their review of appeals. As is currently the case with Refugee Protection Division (RPD) members, RAD members may now also identify other information needed for the adjudication of the appeal, in addition to the RPD record and the information that was provided by the parties.

Ontario Sets Gender Diversity Targets

Tue, 2016-06-07 14:04

Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced new gender diversity targets to ensure more women have the opportunity to reach top leadership positions at provincial agencies and other government organizations.

The Ontario government has set a target that, by 2019, women make up at least 40 per cent of all appointments to every provincial board and agency. Ontario is also encouraging businesses to, by the end of 2017, set a target of appointing 30 per cent women to their boards of directors. Once businesses set the target, they should aim to achieve it within three to five years.These actions build on the government’s long-standing support for broader gender diversity, and are informed by a report Ontario commissioned from Catalyst Canada. The new report, Gender Diversity on Boards in Canada: Recommendations for Accelerating Progress, provides advice on best practices in gender diversity on boards.

Ontario has accepted all 11 recommendations in the report, some of which are for businesses and some of which are for government, and is convening a steering committee to provide input on their implementation. The committee, co-chaired by Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, and Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, includes Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Victor Dodig, President and CEO of CIBC, among others.

Premier Wynne announced the targets and the committee at a special roundtable discussion at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. The Premier and members of the steering committee were joined by representatives from Catalyst Canada and UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Premier Wynne has accepted an invitation from UN Women to serve as a champion of Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value, a new global coalition that brings together leaders from government, the private sector and the women’s movement, among others, to take action and make progress on gender diversity and equal pay.

Quick Facts

  • Women make up half of Ontario’s workforce and more than half of postsecondary graduates, yet they continue to be under-represented in leadership positions — as of 2015, 51 per cent of businesses listed on the TSX had no women on their boards.
  • Since the introduction of the “comply or explain” disclosure requirements, which require TSX-listed companies to report publicly on the representation of women on their boards and in executive officer positions and related mechanisms, policies, considerations and targets, 15 per cent of companies have added one or more women to their boards.
  • Studies show that gender diversity in corporate leadership has measurable benefits for companies. Gender diversity is linked to strong financial performance, heightened innovation and enhanced client insight.

Background Information

Additional Resources

Report on How’s Life in Canada

Tue, 2016-06-07 13:46

The Initiative comprises a set of regularly updated well-being indicators and an in-depth analysis of specific topics, published in the How’s Life? report. It also includes an interactive web application, the Better Life Index, and a number of methodological and research projects to improve the information base towards a better understanding of well-being trends and their drivers.

The OECD Better Life Initiative:

  • Helps to inform policy making to improve quality of life.
  • Connects policies to people’s lives.
  • Generates support for needed policy measures.
  • Improves civic engagement by encouraging the public to create their own Better Life Index and share their preferences about what matters most for well-being.
  • Empowers the public by improving their understanding of policy-making.

This brochure presents selected findings for Canada from the OECD Better Life Index 2016 (page 3), the How’s Life? report (pages 4-6) and shows what Canadian users of the Better Life Index are telling us about their well-being priorities (page 7). A supporting Excel file with the data underlying the graphs shown in this note and further information is available here.

How’s Life? Report, published every two years, provides a comprehensive picture of well-being in OECD countries and other major economies by bringing together an internationally comparable set of well-being indicators that the OECD considers as essential to a good life.

It looks at people’s material conditions and quality of life across the population in eleven dimensions including: income and wealth; jobs and earnings; housing; health status; work-life balance; education and skills; social connections; civic engagement and governance; environmental quality; personal security; and subjective well-being.

Access the report.

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: Pursuing a Claim at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Tue, 2016-06-07 13:35

Survivors of sexual harassment and violence in the workplace and in other specific social settings (for example, in schools, at your doctor’s office, on campus) have the right to protection under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

This is in addition to participating in a criminal process, or, as an alternative to a civil lawsuit.

Claims of sexual harassment can be filed directly at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.

If you want to pursue a claim, you can obtain free legal services from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre.

Access the fact sheet for pursuing a claim of sexual harassment at Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC).

Employment Standards Claim Form Updates

Tue, 2016-06-07 08:07

A new version of the Ministry of Labour’s Employment Standards Claim Form (MOL-ES-002) will be published on June 13, 2016.  This will replace the current version of the form.

To facilitate the transition to the new ESA Claim Form the e-Form claim application on the ministry’s website will be unavailable on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12, 2015.

During this transition, the PDF version of the ESA Claim Form will continue to be available on the website.

Evaluation of the in-Canada Asylum System Reforms

Mon, 2016-06-06 13:46

The IRB commissioned an internal Evaluation of the Refugee Determination System of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) as part of its ongoing efforts to monitor and, where warranted, improve its delivery of the new system. The study period for this internal evaluation ran from December 15, 2012 through to March 31, 2015.

Access the IRB Executive Evaluation Report and associated IRB Management Response and Action Plan.

Province Targets Hazards in the Construction, Industrial and Mining Sectors

Fri, 2016-06-03 15:29

Falls are a leading cause of worker injuries and deaths in Ontario. Ministry of Labour inspectors will check that employers are properly assessing and addressing hazards that could cause workers to fall. They will visit a variety of workplaces in the construction, industrial and mining sectors. These include:

  • Low-rise and high-rise new build and renovation projects
  • Retail, restaurants and other industrial establishments
  • Mines and mining plants

In particular, inspectors will check that:

  • Employers have policies, programs and safe work practices in place to protect workers from falls
  • Employers have assessed ladders, mobile stands and platforms for hazards, maintained equipment and placed it on firm footing when in use
  • Safety barriers such as guardrails are installed when needed
  • Employers have trained workers on the use of appropriate fall protection systems, personal protective equipment and other safety devices when working at heights
  • Employers ensure that workers are working safely on truck beds, trailers or the top of loads

Protecting workers is part of the government’s continued commitment to prevent workplace injuries and illness through its Safe At Work Ontario enforcement initiative.

Quick Facts

  • Falls are the number one cause of critical injuries and deaths of construction workers in Ontario. In 2015, 10 workers died at construction projects from falls.
  • In 2015, there were eight work-related deaths from falls at industrial workplaces.
  • Between 1991 and 2015, 10 workers died in Ontario mines as a result of incidents involving falls.
  • Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 620,000 field visits, and 79 inspection blitzes.
  • Inspectors have issued more than 1 million compliance orders across all sectors in Ontario since June 2008.
  • Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the right to refuse unsafe work applies to all workers other than specified types of workers in specified circumstances ( i.e. police officers , firefighter and correctional officers). Workers can report unsafe work to the Ministry of Labour any time by calling the Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008. In an emergency, always call 911 immediately.
Background Information

Additional Resources

Update on LAO Refugee and Immigration Service Providers and Panel Standards

Fri, 2016-06-03 15:25

As of May 24, 2016, 419 lawyers had applied to the refugee panel, and of these, 413 applied to the general panel and 318 applied to the appellate panel. A total of 303 lawyers have been approved, some with conditions such as working with a mentor and taking courses. Go to the list of empanelled refugee and immigration lawyers, as of May 24, 2016 (subject to change).

LAO has been working with refugee agencies, the Refugee Lawyers’ Association and members of the private bar to develop these strengthened standards since 2014.

Implementation of the strengthened standards began in January 2015. All refugee panel lawyers were required to apply for the general and/or the appellate standards by completing a panel standards application and submitting samples of written legal work related to these practice areas.

Learn more

The Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board: An Option for Survivors of Violence

Fri, 2016-06-03 09:04

For women survivors of sexual violence, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) can be a legal option, with or without going to the police, or going through a criminal trial.

In this webinar recorded on May 27, 2016, learn about what the CICB does and how the process works in this webinar in the Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) series. METRAC’s Legal Director, Tamar Witelson, is joined by lawyer Cornelia Mazgarean, from the Community and Legal Aid Services Programme (CLASP).

Access the webinar recording.

Recorded Webinar: Supporting Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking

Fri, 2016-06-03 08:59

The presenters for this webinar are Rosalind Currie, the Director of British Columbia’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General; and Michèle Anderson, Covenant House, Toronto Human Trafficking Advocate.

The webinar is hosted by the Victim Justice Network, a national non-profit organization whose mission is to establish an online-based network to better serve and support victims of crime. It is presented in partnership with CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) through the Your Legal Rights website. This webinar is made possible through the funding support of Justice Canada’s Victims Fund and the Department of Justice Canada.

Access the webinar recording.

Ontario Introduces Legislation to Further Improve Patient Access and Experience

Fri, 2016-06-03 08:51

Ontario introduced new legislation that would, if passed, improve access to health care services by giving patients and their families faster and better access to care and putting them at the centre of a truly integrated health system.

The Patients First Act would give Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) an expanded role, including in primary care and home and community care. This would improve and integrate planning and delivery of front-line services and increase efficiency to direct more funding to patient care within the existing system.The system-level changes would mean easier access to care, better coordination and continuity of care, and a greater focus on culturally and linguistically appropriate services. They would support the Action Plan by:

  • Improving access to primary care for patients – such as a single number to call when they need to find a new family health care provider close to home.
  • Improving local connections and communication between primary health care, hospitals, and home and community care to ensure more equitable access and a smoother patient experience.
  • Ensuring that patients only have to tell their story once, by enabling health care providers to share and update their health care plans.
  • Making it easier for doctors, nurses, and other primary care providers to connect their patients to the health care they need.
  • Providing smoother patient transitions between acute, primary, home and community, mental health and addictions, and long-term care.
  • Improving consistency of home and community care across the province so that people know what to expect, and receive good care regardless of where they live in the province.
  • Strengthening health planning and accountability by monitoring performance.
  • Ensuring public health has a voice in health system planning by establishing a formal relationship between LHINs and local boards of health.
  • Facilitating local health care planning to ensure decisions are made by people who best understand the needs of their communities, and that LHIN boards reflect the communities they serve.

This new legislation would support the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care – Ontario’s blueprint for health care transformation, which includes expanding access to home and community care and ensuring that every Ontarian has access to a primary care provider.

Ontario will continue working with First Nations, Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous partners and health providers to ensure their voices are heard, in particular with respect to equitable access to services that meet their unique needs.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is planning for a net increase of 700 more doctors each year.
  • 94 per cent of Ontarians now have a primary health care provider. Through work of the Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, Ontario is committed to connecting a family doctor or nurse practitioner to everyone who wants one.
  • In 2015, there was a net gain of 205 Nurse Practitioners in Ontario.
  • Investments in home and community care are up 90 per cent over the past decade.
  • The ministry consulted and engaged extensively in English and French with more than 6,000 individuals and organizations across the province to help inform the proposed improvements to the health care system.
  • LHINs plan, integrate and fund local health care, improving access and patient experience.
  • If passed, the new legislation would amend the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006 and the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994, among other statutes.
  • If passed, Ontario will initiate a review of the Patients First Act, 2016 in three years.
Additional Resources

Province Passes Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act

Fri, 2016-06-03 08:46

The province has passed the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan Act (Strengthening Retirement Security for Ontarians), 2016. The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) will bring financial security and drive economic growth for generations to come, by providing Ontario workers with a predictable stream of income in retirement, paid for life. The ORPP will also offer a survivor benefit for all plan members.

Along with regulations expected this summer, the legislation gives employers and employees the information they need to prepare for the launch of the ORPP. This is a crucial step forward in fulfilling the government’s commitment that every eligible employee is part of the ORPP or a comparable workplace pension plan by 2020.Strengthening the retirement income system is critical to the future prosperity of the province. Studies show that many of today’s workers are not saving enough to maintain their standard of living in retirement. Pension coverage is also low for many Ontarians, with only one in four younger workers — aged 25 to 34 — participating in a workplace pension plan.

Quick Facts

  • The ORPP will offer a predictable, reliable and inflation-indexed stream of income in retirement, paid for life, by providing a pension of up to 15 per cent of an individual’s pre-retirement income. Employees and employers would contribute an equal amount, capped at 1.9 per cent each on an employee’s annual earnings up to $90,000.
  • A cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Conference Board of Canada found that over the long-term, the ORPP will add billions to Ontario’s economy.
  • Since 2014, the government has consulted extensively on the design of the ORPP with the business community, labour, academia, non-profits and Ontario workers, including holding public consultations in more than 10 communities across the province. Over 1000 responses were also submitted online and by mail.
  • Ontario looks forward to participating in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Finance Ministers Meeting on June 20 in Vancouver. Ontario supports CPP enhancement. Ontario is open to exploring a range of potential CPP enhancements for a national solution to strengthening retirement security as long as it is targeted to those who need it most and provides substantial earnings replacement benefits in retirement.


Background Information

Additional Resources

77,000 Jobs Approved for Funding through Canada Summer Jobs

Fri, 2016-06-03 08:42

Today, the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, announced that more students than ever before will find work this year under the Canada Summer Jobs program (CSJ).

Over 77,000 jobs have been approved for funding under the CSJ program this year – more than double last year’s 34,000. Thanks to the unprecedented response from employers, particularly in small businesses, at this time we have approved 7,000 more jobs than we planned to create in 2016.

The Prime Minister made the announcement with the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour at the CHEO Research Institute – where he told students that the skills they will learn in their summer jobs will help get them ready for their future careers, save for their education, and help strengthen the middle class, all at the same time.

Quick Facts

  • In 2015, 300,000 students were unable to find jobs during the summer in Canada
  • In 2016, ESDC approved funding for 2,419 summer jobs in the Ottawa area.
  • The province of Ontario received a total of 12,425 applications compared to 8,623 in 2015, an increase of 44.1 percent
  • This year, Employment and Social Development Canada received 30 percent more applications from employers, which demonstrates the Government’s investment in the expanded Canada Summer Jobs program was a much needed initiative
  • In all, 36,833 applications were received from employers across the country, up from 28,352 last year
  • CSJ creates summer job opportunities and provides valuable work experience for youth aged 15 to 30 intending to return to their full-time studies in the next school year. The program also helps employers generate jobs that focus on priorities important to their local communities as well as on a number of national priorities that include, in 2016: the settlement of Syrian refugees, Indigenous people, small businesses and cultural and creative industries to support the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation
  • In 2016, 13,373  summer jobs have been approved in small businesses of 50 employees or less, an increase of 397%.
  • The annual budget for Canada Summer Jobs was increased by $113 million for each of the next three years, beginning in 2016–17 to double the number of students hired across the country this summer. This increase means more students will be getting much needed work experience
  • In 2016, the Canada Summer Jobs program has approved roughly 31,000 jobs through nearly 9,800 projects in Ontario, while helping students learn new skills, get work experience and save money for their education
  • CHEO Research Institute is expected to hire 20 students who will be testing new viruses, experimenting in molecular and cell biology, collecting data for research involving children with lung disease, children with heart disease, and working alongside clinicians in the cardiology, neurology, rheumatology and mental health departments.

Associated Link

Budget 2016

Update on Financial Eligibility for Legal Aid Certificate Processes

Thu, 2016-06-02 10:50

In June 2015, LAO implemented the most significant expansion of legal eligibility (ELE) in more than 25 years. They recognized that accurately forecasting the demand for these expanded legal eligibility categories would be challenging. This was due to the complex and unpredictable nature of legal service needs in rapidly changing areas of law, and the shortage of justice system data.

They also recognized that their vulnerable clients have significant needs above and beyond those now served by their financial eligibility expansion. LAO has monitored growth within these new categories.

LAO has learned that:

  • some of the criteria for these categories—which had been developed to be inclusive and flexible—were too vague
  • the demand for these services was higher than anticipated.

What LAO is doing

  • LAO has clarified its expanded legal eligibility (ELE) criteria [as announced June 2015] to align ELE expenditures with provincial funding and to ensure continuation of access to the certificate program for vulnerable clients with complex matters.
  • As a result of the clarification, some people with an expanded legal eligibility matter may now be referred to duty counsel for service and to determine whether the particular circumstances of the client meet the expanded criteria for certificate services. Clients who qualify under LAO’s clarified criteria will continue to be referred to the certificate program.

What has NOT changed

  • LAO will continue to issue certificates in appropriate circumstances, including to the clients for whom we developed ELE.
  • LAO will continue to provide high quality staff services to clients who do not qualify for a certificate.
  • LAO’s policies in criminal matters for first offenders and secondary consequences continue to apply.
  • LAO will continue to meet its commitments for financial eligibility expansion—to issue more certificates annually and provide high quality legal services to more low-income Ontarians in 2016/17.
  • Processes for directing clients to the most appropriate services, at the earliest time, based on their circumstances and needs, have not changed.
  • Frontline staff and duty counsel will continue to triage cases to provide clients with the services they need.
  • Duty counsel will continue to provide high-quality services to more low-income Ontarians.


More Support for Communities to Prevent and Reduce Homelessness

Thu, 2016-06-02 10:41

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, today provided further details regarding the increase in funding to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) that was announced as part of Budget 2016 support for social infrastructure. The additional investment will provide communities across Canada with the flexibility and support they need to help prevent and reduce homelessness.

One of the Government of Canada’s priorities is to empower all Canadians to build better lives for themselves and to enable them to contribute to and share in the prosperity of our society. In order to meet this commitment, the Government recognizes that it must respond to the pressing and unmet needs of communities across the country with regards to homelessness.

As a result, Budget 2016 will invest an additional $111.8 million to enhance services to address homelessness through the Homelessness Partnering Strategy over two years, starting in 2016–17. More than $12.5 million of that new funding will be invested towards the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness (ISH) stream. That important increase will allow a wide range of organizations and stakeholders to develop and test innovative approaches to prevent and reduce homelessness — particularly among specific homeless populations such as Indigenous Canadians, youth, women fleeing violence and veterans.

Furthermore, this investment will provide increased funding for the 61 Designated Communities and will ensure that more communities across Canada have access to HPS funding by creating more flexibility under the Rural and Remote Homelessness stream. Details regarding funding allocations will be provided to Designated Communities in the coming weeks.

Budget 2016 also announced a broad engagement process with provinces and territories, Indigenous and other communities and key stakeholders in the coming year to develop a National Housing Strategy. In this context, the Government of Canada will engage in a consultation process as we move forward on the design and implementation of future investments in housing and homelessness.

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2016 $111.8 million investment to address homelessness is the first increase since the creation of the National Homelessness Initiative in 1999.
  • Since its launch, nearly 35,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 34,000 have received help to find work; more than 6,000 new shelter beds have been created; and have helped place over 82,000 people in more stable housing.

Associated Links

Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Budget 2016

Updated Spanish Family Law Resource Series Now Available

Thu, 2016-06-02 10:37

Access the updated Family Law Series resources here.

These titles are also available in English, French, and Chinese.