CCI Toronto News
Recent Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act
The Ontario government recently made changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to address the issue of delivery workers lacking reliable access to a washroom while working. The new section 29.1 of the OHSA provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the owner of a workplace is required to provide access to a washroom upon request to any person who is present at the workplace to deliver anything to the workplace, or to collect anything from the workplace for delivery elsewhere. In a condominium context, this means that the condominium corporation is responsible for providing washroom access to any delivery person who is at the building to deliver anything or to pick up anything for delivery elsewhere.
The only exceptions to this requirement are where:
- providing access would not be “reasonable or practical for reasons relating to the health or safety of any person at the workplace”;
- providing access would not be “reasonable or practical having regard to all the circumstances” of the workplace; or
- if the washroom is in a dwelling, or can only be accessed through a dwelling.
The legislation does not provide any guidance as to in what circumstances providing access will not be “reasonable or practical”. However, given the nature of the OHSA as worker-protection legislation, it is fair to expect that these restrictions would likely be interpreted narrowly.
For condominium corporations with common element areas that include washrooms, there are numerous practical considerations that will need to be addressed, including:
- whether there are one or more washrooms on the common elements that can practically be made available to delivery workers upon request;
- whether these washrooms are in an access-controlled part of the common elements, or whether the washrooms themselves are access-controlled; and
- whether there are staff (e.g., concierge) available to escort delivery workers to and from the washroom.
As always, any condominium corporation that has any questions about its particular legal obligations should seek advice from its lawyer.
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