Bill 61 Rewards Good Businesses and Fosters Innovation

April 30, 2013

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Jim McDonell introduced today Bill 61, the Technical Standards and Safety Amendment Act, 2013 that will address concerns expressed by numerous small Ontario businesses across the province regarding the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA).

MPP McDonell commented: “The TSSA plays a fundamental role in ensuring a safe environment for workers and consumers alike. To be effective, the agency must build on approved standards and best practices in Ontario and around this very competitive world.  Businesses are reporting of having to meet arbitrary and unpublished standards.  The installation of equipment that is used throughout the rest of Canada and by our American neighbours is road blocked with red tape and extreme delays.  Local contractors have recounted instances of local industries being frustrated and finally giving up, relocating the equipment out of the province and taking the jobs with them.  The current practices of the TSSA are driving up compliance costs without achieving any tangible improvement in worker and consumer safety and stifling innovation.  It’s no wonder why we are losing so many manufacturing jobs to our neighbours, when you add the unrealistic TSSA compliance costs to the high energy and WSIB rates and property taxes, you are no longer competitive.”

Bill 61 makes several provisions regarding technical standards and consumer safety, including:

•  A cap on hourly rates charged by TSSA inspectors, tied to compensation levels in the private sector for equivalently qualified technicians.

• Allowing the Minister to reward law-abiding businesses by enrolling them into a rigorous self-inspection program

• Making experience as a TSSA license holder a mandatory prerequisite for being an inspector

• Ordering the publication of all criteria for initial inspections, ensuring all license holders are inspected based on the same set of criteria.

• Ordering license holders to be made aware of all the pass and fail criteria for their upcoming TSSA inspections.

• Avoiding Ontario equipment being left in a legal vacuum if the certifying standard is withdrawn by the standard-setting body

• Allowing stakeholders to petition the TSSA for adopting or allowing the use of standards that are more appropriate for evaluating inventions and foreign equipment.

MPP McDonell stated: “Ontario’s businesses and tradespeople deserve a safety agency that has the interests of all players as their priority.  This Bill gives the TSSA the necessary flexibility to achieve a truly made-in-Ontario standard and safety framework while remaining a strict enforcer. Kick-starting job creation in this Province begins with allowing businesses to work, innovate, expand, diversify and serve consumers. I have listened to stakeholders and hope to see Bill 61 examined at Committee soon.”