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12 Reasons to Update your Office Policy Manual Now

By December 15, 2017November 5th, 2019Employment Law

In Ontario, the law requires every employer to review or update their policy regarding workplace violence and workplace harassment.  Now that the year is coming to a close, this is a great time to do so – not just for those two policies, but all of your office policies.

This is a list of 12 different reasons you may want to review or update your office policy manual for the new year:

  1. You may want to update how employees request, select, and obtain vacation; vacation pay is changing. Any employee who has worked at least 5 years will obtain 3 weeks of paid vacation.  An employer has the right to select which weeks an employee may take vacation (not singular days).
  2. The calculation of holiday pay is changing as well.  You should ensure your employees know how their holiday pay is calculated.
  3. How your dental office deals with potential breaches of private health information has changed recently.  As of now, if any personal health information is stolen, lost, used, or disclosed without authority, the dentist must notify the individual whose information was stolen as the first reasonable opportunity; and the dentist must notify the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
  4. A dentist office will have additional mandatory reporting procedures regarding privacy breaches. Starting in 2019, dentists will have to provide the Information and Privacy Commissioner with an annual report (due March 1 starting in 2019) which sets out the number of times in the previous calendar year that any personal health information in the dentist’s custody and control was stolen, lost, used, or disclosed without authority.
  5. Do you have a policy regarding posting or saying negative things about the office?
  6. Does your office have a policy about recording anything in the workplace?
  7. Does your workplace harassment policy state that you will share the findings of an investigation to the alleged victim and harasser?
  8. Have you updated your policies with regards to the updated and new leaves of absence?
    • Critical illness leave
    • Pregnancy leave
    • Parental leave
    • Family medical leave
    • Child death leave
    • Crime-related child disappearance leave
    • Personal emergency leave
    • Domestic and sexual violence leave
  9. You should have a clear policy that employees may not work overtime without advance permission from the dentist or office manager.
  10. You may want to confirm your performance review policies. Ontario passed a new law, starting in April 2018, that employees may request a review of their salary once a year, and the employer must provide reasons for their decision.
  11. Your office policy manual should have a clear statement on how the employer will accommodate illnesses or disabilities, including when an employee must provide a doctor’s note, when an employee does not have to submit a doctor’s note.
  12. Does your office have a policy on legal marijuana? Ontario has just recently passed Bill 174 called the Cannabis Act, which provided more detail on how the government intends to sell recreational marijuana through 40 (and up to 150) retail outlets of the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (part of the LCBO) in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Ottawa, and other locations – and also online. The law also states that adults will be permitted to grow up to 4 cannabis plants for personal use.

If you have any questions about these types of policies, contact DMC. We are happy to help guide you on what is most appropriate for your office and what is in compliance with the law.

The Content of this post is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal, financial, tax, or other professional advice of any kind. You are advised to contact DMC (or other counsel) to seek specific legal advice concerning your individual situation.