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Seek Out Most Qualified Relocation Partners

Q: How have recent corporate financial scandals and government rulings changed the face of relocation?

David Croft
Canada, Weichert
In light of the recent Sarbanes-Oxley ruling and the proposed Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) draft regulations, many companies have been scrambling to find alternatives to traditional tax and accounting firms. In the post-Enron world, companies need the
ability to separate the audit function from such typical relocation functions as issuing expense reimbursements, calculating cost of living adjustments, and making payments to suppliers. Relocation companies that possess the capability to track and audit relocation expenses and
perform conversions and exchange rate updates represent a viable alternative, but finding such a company can be a formidable task. However, those companies that do their homework and seek out the most qualified relocation partners -- partners with the expertise to reduce costly reporting or processing errors and ensure financial integrity -- will be taking a giant step toward improving their corporate governance.

Contract Workers and the Law

Q: As a Human Resources professional, I see that organizations are using more and more temporary workers hired through a third party. Are there laws or regulations that I should be familiar with, to ensure that our company is being duly diligent?

A: The quick answer is yes, and here’s why.

In Ontario, The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as other pieces of legislation. The Ministry has identified temporary/contract workers as a vulnerable group of employees. Contract workers are hired by all sectors of the economy from manufacturing facilities to public institutions.

There are four pieces of legislation that the human resources departments should be familiar with or understand, namely:

1) The Occupational Health and Safety Act

2) The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act

3) The Trades Qualification and Apprenticeship Act and the Apprenticeship and Certification Act

4) The Employment Standards Act

A contract for services is the purchase of short or long term temporary help. The workers may be hired directly or through a temporary help agency or union shop. Once hired, the temporary worker is the responsibility of the assigned workplace supervisor, just like the regular employee.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act provide definitions of “employer”, “worker”, “owner”, and “constructor”. Each of these terms is extremely important to understand when we discuss the issue of being “duly diligent”. The definitions emphasize the overlapping responsibilities between owner, employer, manager and contractor. Under current legislation an “owner” (your company) may be deemed to be the employer of workers (even contract employees) as a result of actions or decisions made by a manager, as an agent of the employer.

An owner/employer or agent who contracts for the services of temporary workers is jointly accountable, along with the contract employer, for the safety of those workers. Contracted services may include, but are not limited to, food services, cleaning, maintenance, security, grounds keeping, building modifications and construction. The workplace employer (your organization) can reduce liability associated with contracted worker safety by ensuring:

  • Contractor competence by pre-qualification
  • Proof of accident frequency and severity
  • Proof that safety training is provided
  • Competent and sufficient supervisors are provided by the contractor
  • Proof of regular maintenance of equipment is provided, where applicable
  • Regular reports regarding progress of the contract, accidents/incidents and safety are provided
  • New or replacement workers are reported promptly to the workplace authorized representative or HR department
  • Records of site-specific training for new or replacement workers are provided.

    Taking the above steps will start your organization in providing a foundation of due diligence, when dealing with temporary or contracted services.

    Submitted by: Derek Zulesky, CRSP from The Education Safety Association of Ontario- can be reached at (416)-250-8005

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