Federal and Ontario News Round-up for Oct. 6

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Federal News Round-up

In the House, Wednesday, the Liberal government promised new pay-equity legislation that will put the onus on employers in federally regulated industries (representing roughly 15% of the workforce) to ensure men and women are paid equally for work of equal value.

But the government is being criticized by labour groups for a timeline that won’t see the legislation tabled until 2018.

The Liberals’ approach will reverse the radical overhaul of pay equity the previous Conservative government took with the Public Service Equitable Compensation Act, which critics argued effectively killed workers’ rights for equal pay for work of equal value.

Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk said Wednesday the legislation will take a “proactive” approach that’s aimed at helping employers comply with the law rather than forcing employees to lodge complaints about discriminatory wages.

Such complaints in the past have resulted in costly legal battles that are “burdensome, costly and unfair to workers,” she said.

The government intends to draw on the recommendations released in June of the special parliamentary committee on pay equity, as well as consultations it plans with experts and stakeholders for reforms that will force employers to review their compensation systems for gender-based wage disparities and fix them.

Ontario News Round-up

Ontario is undertaking a comprehensive review of how the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) operates and its role in the province’s land-use planning system.

According to the government, possible changes to the OMB may include:

  • Allowing for more meaningful and affordable public participation
  • Giving more weight to local and provincial decisions and support alternative ways to settle disputes
  • Bringing fewer municipal and provincial decisions to the OMB
  • Supporting clearer and more predictable decision making

In March, 40 municipalities passed motions calling for major changes to the land use tribunal.

At the announcement of the review, Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro said the government is considering giving more deference on decision-making to local councils.

That would make it harder for developers to go around municipal decisions and appeal to the OMB to intervene.

Ontarians wishing to participate in the consultation may submit comments online or in person at one of the town hall meetings being held across the province this fall. A consultation paper detailing the issues under review can be found here.

The deadline for providing online feedback is December 19, 2016.

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