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Cutting Red Tape to Drive Prosperity in the Auto Sector and Other Manufacturing Sectors

Backgrounder

Cutting Red Tape to Drive Prosperity in the Auto Sector and Other Manufacturing Sectors

The Ontario government is making a series of regulatory changes to get out of the way of job creators in the auto sector and other manufacturing sectors. It is also preparing to launch later this summer a Job Site Challenge, which will identify internationally certified sites that would help attract a new auto assembly plant to the province.

The regulatory changes and proposed changes or reviews are:

Auto sector

Raises the threshold for notification of construction projects in auto manufacturing workplaces
Ministry of Labour
O. Reg. 213/91 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; comes into effect July 1, 2019

Companies are required to notify the Ministry of Labour of any construction project in the workplace costing at least $50,000 — a threshold set in 1991 and not updated since then. This amendment reduces the regulatory burden on the auto manufacturing sector by increasing the threshold that triggers the requirement to notify the ministry to $250,000.

Exempts auto assembly plants from being regulated as if they were gas stations
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Minister's exemption for the auto sector under the Liquid Fuels Handling Code; expected to come into effect in early 2020, following consultations with the auto sector

Automakers must put gas into vehicles fresh off the production line inside their assembly plant before they're delivered to auto dealers. This is known as "first fill." Currently, automakers must apply to the Technical Standards and Safety Authority for a variance from rules that would otherwise regulate an assembly plant as if it were a gas station. The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services is consulting on a proposal for a minister's exemption that would exempt all auto plants from unnecessary regulation of "first fill." All other requirements under the Liquid Fuels Handling Code related to storing and handling fuel on-site would remain in place. These requirements reduce safety risks related to ventilation, fuel storage and ignition source.


Allows auto assembly plants to include working at heights training in their in-house worker-safety training
Ministry of Labour
Amendments to O. Reg. 297/13 re Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; comes into effect July 1, 2019

This amendment will reduce the regulatory burden on the auto sector by creating a targeted exemption. Workers on construction projects who are employed directly by an auto manufacturing plant employer will no longer have to take mandatory safety training on working at heights approved by the government's Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). Auto assembly plants already include working at heights training as part of their in-house worker-safety training. This change means they'll no longer have to provide the additional level of training, which the CPO developed to meet the needs of the construction sector. 

Simplifies training requirements for drivers refueling propane vehicles
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Amendment to Fuel Industry Certificates (O. Reg. 215/01) under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, 2000; comes into effect July 1, 2019

This amendment simplifies training requirements for individuals who refuel propane-powered vehicles at two categories of facilities: private outlets and propane cardlock/keylock facilities. This helps reduce regulatory burden while maintaining appropriate safety requirements. These changes will help lower the cost of doing business in Ontario by saving industry up to an estimated $240,000 annually.

All manufacturing sectors

Reviews compliance practices related to low-impact noise and odour incidents
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Conducting a review of compliance practices and focusing resources on higher-risk incidents; review expected to be completed by end of 2019

Ontario is conducting a review to modernize its compliance practices related to low-impact noise and odour incidents, for example issues that can arise when areas beside existing industrial facilities are rezoned and developed for non-industrial uses. While the review is underway, the government is focusing its resources on higher-risk incidents with known or potential impacts on health or the environment. The review could lead to proposals to change regulations. It will be guided by the principle of ensuring that polluters are held accountable while reducing regulatory burden for responsible businesses.

Aligns Ontario with other jurisdictions on acetone reporting requirements
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposes to revoke O. Reg. 127/01 - Airborne Contaminant Discharge Monitoring and Reporting under the Environmental Protection Act, 1990; and to amend O. Reg. 455/09 - General under the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009; targeting Fall 2019 for changes to come into effect

These proposed changes would remove unnecessary administrative burdens to businesses by aligning Ontario with other Canadian jurisdictions that do not require any reporting. The government is proposing to revoke the regulation that requires facilities to report their annual release of acetone emissions, and to amend the regulation that requires them to submit reports on acetone used in products. A recent federal review has determined that acetone levels in the environment pose little to no risk to human health or the environment.

Reviews the scope of the definition of waste
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Review under the Environmental Protection Act (Part V)

The government will review requirements related to waste management to consider opportunities where they may restrict innovation or pose an obstacle to the recovery of materials. Changes in the definition of waste could, for example, make it easier for the auto sector to find valuable markets or beneficial uses for materials that would otherwise be treated as waste, with associated costs for disposal.

Develops a pilot project for simplified Environmental Compliance Approvals
Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
Proposed pilot project under the Environmental Protection Act

The government is working with an automaker to develop a single flexible environmental permit for the facility. The permit, known as an Environmental Compliance Approval, will consolidate multiple approvals for the facility into a single outcomes-based permit that will provide flexibility to the facility so it can make changes to its operations without having to seek amendments from the ministry. This will reduce delays in the permitting process, while ensuring that the facility complies with environmental regulations. The government will use lessons learned from this pilot project to develop modern, flexible and streamlined approvals for other auto manufacturers.

Provides discretion for licence renewal for electricians facing hardships
Ministry of Government and Consumer Services
Introducing a Hardship Clause to the Licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians regulation (O. Reg. 570/05) under the Electricity Act, 1998; comes into effect January 1, 2020

The government is reducing regulatory burden by offering flexibility to individuals and businesses. The introduction of a Hardship Clause will give the Electrical Safety Authority the discretion to allow individuals more time to meet the Master Electrician licence renewal requirements if they are unable to meet them due to extenuating circumstances. This clause will save individuals and businesses at least $165 — the cost of writing the Master Electrician exam. On average, the savings could be $630 per individual or business for exam preparation, and another $105 in lost wages.

Harmonizes energy and water efficiency regulations
Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines
Amendments to O. Reg. 509/18 re energy and water efficiency appliances and products under the Electricity Act, 1998; comes into effect July 1, 2019

These amendments will update Ontario's energy and water efficiency standards to better harmonize them with other leading jurisdictions while maintaining existing efficiency standards. The changes will reduce barriers to market access for manufacturers and help give consumers access to a broader range of efficient products. For example, Ontario businesses will now have the opportunity to supply consumers with innovative new products such as 8K ultra-high-definition televisions. The amendments will also provide flexibility in labelling methods for battery chargers and external power supplies, and harmonize efficiency standards and test methods for residential water heaters.

Updates safety equipment requirements for industrial establishments and offshore oil and gas rigs
Ministry of Labour
Amendments to Regulation 851 re industrial establishments under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and amendments to Regulation 855 re offshore oil and gas rigs under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; come into effect July 1, 2019

Industrial establishments: The amendments help modernize workplace health and safety requirements that apply to establishments such as offices, factories, arenas and shops. They will increase flexibility by:

  • Allowing the use of alternative procedures if worker health and safety is at least as well-protected
  • Allowing workers to wear personal flotation devices instead of lifejackets when appropriate
  • Allowing the use of antidotes, flushing fluids or washes instead of eyewash fountains or emergency showers, when appropriate, to prevent permanent injury to the eyes or skin.
Offshore oil and gas rigs: These amendments will modernize regulatory requirements for life jackets and specific electrical equipment installed and used on offshore oil and gas rigs.

Streamlines and modernizes occupational health regulation
Ministry of Labour
Amendments to Regulation 833 re the control of exposure to biological or chemical agents under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; and amendments to Regulation 490/09 re designated substances under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; come into effect January 1, 2020

These amendments will streamline and modernize the occupational health regulatory scheme under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. They will:

  • Replace the nine separate Medical Surveillance Codes with a single consolidated and updated Medical Surveillance Code
  • Replace the 16 separate Codes for Respiratory Equipment and Measuring Airborne Substances with new, updated and consolidated respiratory protection and measuring provisions
  • Permit businesses to use the "Quebec model" for calculating exposures to hazardous substances for irregular work shifts
  • Add "substitution," or substituting hazardous substances with those that are less hazardous, to the hierarchy of controls.

Allows eLearning options and streamlines timelines for Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) training
Ministry of Labour
Amendments to JHSC Training standards; to be rolled out in Fall 2019

These amendments will:

  • Complement existing learning methods with additional opportunities for eLearning for Part One JHSC training
  • Adjust the minimum duration for eLearning to reflect self-paced learning and the use of technology
  • Extend the allowable time to complete Part Two training from six months to within one year
  • Simplify the process to be certified.

Allows training providers to submit records electronically
Ministry of Labour
Introduction of a Certification Management System (CMS); launched April 1, 2019

The newly introduced CMS provides employers with free and instant access to employee training verification. This eliminates delays, red tape, possible inspection orders and lost production time, making it easier to run and grow a business anywhere in Ontario. The new system eliminates the need to send in paper records, instead allowing training providers to use a much simpler and cost-effective electronic submission process.

Recognizes "good actors" that have an accredited occupational health and safety management system
Ministry of Labour
Introduction of the Supporting Ontario's Safe Employers (SOSE) program; employers can start to apply for the program later this summer

SOSE is a voluntary program that recognizes employers for successfully implementing an accredited occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) in their workplace. Employers across Ontario will benefit from the program. It was developed by Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer to promote and recognize excellence in occupational health and safety in workplaces.

Mining sector

Updates mining regulations to remove duplication and allow alternative options
Ministry of Labour
Amendments to Regulation 854 re mines and mining plants under the Occupational Health and Safety Act; comes into effect July 1, 2019

The amendments help modernize mining regulations. They will:

  • Harmonize the definition of a non-destructive test with the Construction Projects regulation and amend related requirements
  • Reduce regulatory burden by revoking several redundant or duplicative provisions
  • Update various references to recognized industry standards
  • Increase flexibility by amending requirements relating to the maximum height of working faces at surface mines and the transportation of oxygen and acetylene containers underground
  • Amend miscellaneous requirements to update terminology and/or clarify certain requirements.

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