Workplace Injuries Create Duplicity at WSIB

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26th, 2018

WORKPLACE INJURIES CREATE DUPLICITY AT WSIB


(QUEEN’S PARK) Today, MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington) demanded answers from the Minister of Labour as to why the WSIB was circumventing their mandate by claiming injured workers were both suffering from, and free of, pre-existing medical conditions, in order to avoid providing support to both employees and employers.

“I have two cases in front of me right now from constituents that have glaring examples of discrepancies by the WSIB, resulting in a denial of support,” explained Hillier. “Both stories involve workers applying for and being denied coverage by the WSIB because they have a pre-existing condition, while their employers were simultaneously denied Second Injury Enhancement Fund support because the WSIB claimed there was no pre-existing injury of their employees.”

The WSIB is mandated to protect and support injured workers, as well as to assist employers in the event that a workers injuries were the result of a pre-existing medical issue. These stories bring to light inconsistent rulings by the WSIB which give contradictory information to both the employer and employee, while also denying both parties support.

“It is obvious that this isn’t just an isolated bureaucratic mix-up. The WSIB is frustrating those they are meant to support by sending false information to either employees or employers as justification for denying claims,” said Hillier. “What I want to know now is who exactly is being duplicitous, the Minister or the Bureaucracy?”

You can watch MPP Hillier’s question to the Minister of Labour on this issue here.

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Contact: Perth Office 613-267-8239
Queen’s Park 416-325- 2244
[email protected]

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Letter to Mississippi Mills Council on Natural Heritage System Proposal

The following letter was sent to the municipal Council of Mississippi Mills regarding the proposed implementation of a Natural Heritage System in their official plan. In it I provide some brief clarification as to the extent such a system is imposed by the province, and outline some of the policy decisions left to the municipality.



Mississippi Mills Council
3131 Old Perth Rd
Almonte, ON
K0A1A0

December 7th, 2017

I have had the pleasure in speaking with many residents of Mississippi Mills recently regarding the proposed amendments to the Official Plan. In addition, Mayor McLaughlin and I have also spoken at length regarding the obligations to designate Natural Heritage Systems (NHS) in the Official Plan.

From these many discussions it became evident that there is a level of misunderstanding regarding what is mandated by the province and what is not mandated for the establishment of a Natural Heritage System in the municipality of Mississippi Mills.

The following is some relevant context and clarification to council and residents regarding the provincial obligations under the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) as they pertain to the establishment of a NHS. I believe this information is important to communicate to not only council, but to the general public as well, so that both can accurately understand what scope of the NHS plan is mandated by the province, and what is voluntarily implemented by the municipality.

First and foremost, it is important to remind municipal policy makers that the purpose of PPS is to establish guidelines for development and the promotion of development[1]. While the document covers a wide range of topics, development remains of central importance to the policies contained within it, and although environmental protection is one aspect of the PPS, it in no way infers an obligation to develop policy with an “environment first” focus above other considerations. Any decision to adopt such a focus would be a municipal decision and not a provincial obligation.

Furthermore, the 2014 PPS requires that a NHS only has to be identified in ecoregions E6 and E7 of the province[2]. The municipality sits on the border of ecoregion E5 and E6, which runs between the southeast to the northwest of the jurisdiction. A large portion of the property designated in the official plan as a NHS is not required to be designated as such under the PPS as it falls within the boundaries of ecoregion E5, and as such many of the policies put forward in the municipal plan are not provincially mandated for that area. I believe it is important to take these map boundaries and land classifications in to consideration when understanding what obligations actually exist for the municipality as a whole. I have attached a basic overlay of the ecoregion boundaries on top of your NHS proposal map to this letter for clarification.

While the PPS requires that an NHS must be identified in the section of the municipality within ecoregion E6, and development or site alteration in that NHS area cannot take place without an environmental assessment [3] indicating there is no negative impact on the core ecological function of the site, there is no obligation in the PPS that sets out limits on specific types of development or site use. Any establishment of specific “permitted uses” within a municipal plan is done at the municipality’s discretion and is not presented as a specific obligation by the province. Similar discretion is also provided for the identification of “adjacent lands” in relation to the NHS. Nowhere in the PPS does the government impose specific metrics regarding what constitutes adjacent lands, and any identification of specific measurements or criteria is the decision of the municipality alone. In addition, any EIS requirement in relation to the NHS on property that is not within the NHS or classified as “adjacent land” is a policy implemented by the municipality, and is outside the obligations required by the province.

I hope these points of clarification will be valuable in the development and communication of your municipal development plans. While I have not touched on every potential detail of an NHS plan, it is important to recognize that there is substantial leeway and discretion for municipalities to determine specific details of the plan that are not otherwise mandated by the province. This is particularly relevant in the situation of Mississippi mills, where a large portion of the municipality is exempt from any and all NHS obligations.

If you have any further questions or need any further clarifications please feel free to reach out to my office. I would be pleased to provide council with a presentation and discussion on PPS requirements should you believe it would be beneficial.


Sincerely,

Randy Hillier

 
End notes:

  1. There is no provincial mandate regarding the exact metrics for establish criteria for adjacent lands. The proposed 120 meters setback can be implemented but there is no requirement for that specific distance.
  2. The schedule of defined permitted uses does not exempt these uses or developments from costly environmental assessments.
  3. Any development not identified in the schedule of permitted uses would be prohibited even when an environmental assessment indicates no detrimental effect or harm to the environment would be experienced.
  4. There is no requirement to include a schedule of permitted uses.
  5. “Environment First” approach is not required; can be removed, or altered such as “Balancing the need for development and growth with maintaining the environment” as an example.
  6. The present proposal permits and does not infringe upon most personal activities such as farming, forestry recreational uses etc. However, there are no guarantees that subsequent revisions or amendments to the PPS may impose greater restrictions on activities within lands designated as NHS.
  7. The present proposal identifies a substantial amount of land in the western half of the municipality (eco region 5E) as NHS designated lands. There is no statutory obligation or responsibility to do so.


[1] As indicated by the objective summary on the Provincial Policy Statement document directory at http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page215.aspx, as well as in ‘Part I : Preamble” of  “Provincial Policy Statement” (2014)

[2] Section 2.1.3 of “Provincial Policy Statement” (2014)

[3] Sections 2.1.5 and 2.1.8 of “Provincial Policy Statement” (2014)

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Unwelcome Report Sure To Make Government Employees Uncomfortable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6th 2017

(PERTH) Randy Hillier, (Lanark Frontenac Lennox & Addington) expressed his dismay and concern over the Auditor General’s Annual Report condemning the Wynne Government’s maladministration of the province’s finances and casual disregard of their obligations.

“I have significant concern that the Auditor General may have exposed herself to a workplace harassment complaint with this report,” remarked Hillier. “According to some, the Occupational Health and Safety Act defines harassment as ‘a course of conduct and comment that was known or ought to have reasonably been known to have been unwelcome’; I am confident this report is unwelcome.”

Hillier goes on to point out that contrary to a letter he received from Tay Valley Township which incorrectly defines harassment as simply ‘unwelcomed comment or conduct’,  the OHSA specifically refers tovexatious comment or conduct”, with the definition of vexatious being defined in the context of harassment as ‘unsupported’ or ‘lacking sufficient grounds’. Despite the misquote of the Act in their letter to Hillier, the Township later issued a press release with the correct definition. “I guess the Auditor General is off the hook,” joked Hillier, “Despite being unwelcome, her report is not vexatious as it clearly delineates the deficiencies of this Premier and her Cabinet, as it was her responsibility to do.”

Hillier noted that it is the obligation of public officials such as the Auditor General and elected representatives to stand up for the public interest, even when doing so may be unwelcome.

Among the concerns, the AG pointed out that 41% of PET scan time goes unused by patients because the Ministry of Health simply hasn’t updated the guidelines on the use of PET scans. Despite having closed numerous rural schools this year and next, the AG determined that there hasn’t been a review of the School Board Funding Formula since the Liberals took power in 2003. Taxpayers own 812 pieces of unused, surplus property that cost $19 million a year to maintain and that the government has been unwilling to sell. Business electricity customers paid 12.3 billion in Global Adjustment fees, of which almost 30% of it went to renewable energy producers, despite the fact that they only produced 6% of our electricity. This list goes on.

“What we see here is a blatant disregard for the public purse and the well-being of the people of Ontario; instead we have a government that puts their patrons ahead of patients, their friends ahead of Ontario families, and power ahead of responsibility and accountability,” Hillier concluded.

The full report can be found here

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Contact:
Perth 613-267-8239
Queen’s Park 416-325-2244
[email protected]

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The Law Is Not Meant To Prevent Accountability

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 19th 2017

(QUEENS PARK) - Randy Hillier (MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) is facing an allegation of workplace harassment initiated by the Council of the township of Tay Valley.

The allegation asserts that by bringing the concerns and complaints he’s received from his constituents to the attention of municipally elected representatives, he had violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Further, the allegation also asserts that his opinions on the proper application, interpretation, and enforcement of provincial laws were unwelcome by the complainants, and therefore constituted “workplace harassment.”

“It is my legal obligation to uphold the laws of Ontario and my mandated responsibility to provide advocacy and assistance to my constituents who have cause to feel the law is being unjustly applied against them or incorrectly interpreted to their detriment,” said Hillier. “While many provincial laws are administered and enforced by municipal employees, they remain provincial laws nonetheless, and it is fully under my jurisdiction and responsibility as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to provide advice on their application when justifiable concerns are brought to my attention.”

The OHSA defines workplace harassment as “Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in the workplace that is known or ought to be reasonably known as unwelcome.

“To suggest that my role as a representative for my constituents is a vexatious activity is simply ridiculous and beyond the pale,” Hillier added. “Any, indeed all criticism could be construed as unwelcome; if I used that as the guide in my advocacy not only would nothing ever get resolved, but it would lead to empowering arbitrary decision-making and unreasonable and oppressive governments. I brought my constituent’s concerns forward professionally and respectfully, and in the manner and context they were conveyed to me.”

“I find these actions of Tay Valley Council extremely disappointing. I will not be intimidated from representing my constituents on matters of provincial jurisdiction, and I cannot allow injustice to prevail because opposing it may hurt someone’s feelings,” Hillier concluded.

XXX

Contact:
Queen’s Park 416-325-2244
Perth 613-267-8239
[email protected]

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Parks Canada Needs to Take Responsibility for Flooding

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Bill 77 Passes Second Reading

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30th, 2017

Hillier’s Bill 77 Passes Second Reading

(QUEENS PARK) Randy Hillier’s (MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) Bill 77, The Kickstarting Public Participation Act, passed Second Reading in the legislature on Thursday. The bill will now move on to committee hearings, followed by a Third Reading. Upon passage of a Third Reading, the bill will lead to the establishment of a province-wide online crowd sourcing platform for municipalities and community organizations to use to raise funds for community improvement projects.

“Municipalities struggle to balance the competing needs of their budgets, which means many community projects are not always a priority, leaving citizens feeling disenfranchised,” explained Hillier. “Even community not-for-profits are facing fundraising issues as a result of new OLG rules, so civic crowdfunding fills this void to help these groups get back to supporting their communities.”

Crowdfunding allows groups and individuals to solicit donations and investment for projects online by setting donation tiers, goals and in some cases rewards. While this method started as a tool to finance projects by artists and entrepreneurs, it has since expanded to become used by humanitarian groups and municipalities to fund projects such as parks and community spaces.

“Making crowdfunding accessible to non-profits, service clubs and municipalities in the province will enable local communities to secure finances and gauge interest in public projects, while simultaneously empowering citizens to be more involved in community affairs and development,” proclaimed Hillier. “Enabling the mobilization of citizen ideas will inevitably have a significant impact on bringing meaningful improvements to the communities that need them the most.”

You can watch MPP Hillier's debate on Bill 77 here.

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Contact: Perth Office 613-267-8239
Queen’s Park 416-325-2244
[email protected]

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Subprime Policies from a Subprime Premier

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6th, 2017

Subprime Policies from a Subprime Premier


(QUEENS PARK) In response to the government’s recent announcement of planned hydro cost decreases set for this summer, Randy Hillier (MPP for Lanark-Frontenac- Lennox & Addington) questioned the government on why they continue to replace existing low cost generating facilities with new, high cost replacements.

“The Kingston Generating Station, which employs 18 people and produces electricity for a low rate of 5.9 cents per kwh, is being forced to close while new facilities are being built just down the road in Bath and Amherst Island that will produce for 20 cents a kwh,” exclaimed Hillier. “The Premier can claim all she wants that they are doing what they can to reduce hydro costs, but the fact of the matter is they continue to build expensive and unneeded generating stations will closing down low cost stations that already exist.”

The latest announcement from the Liberal government promises a 25 percent cut off the average residential hydro bill, which will come from a subprime “remortgaging” deal that will extend costs years beyond the life cycle of these assets.

“The Premier has said publicly that this plan is going to cost the people of Ontario more, and take longer to pay off,” explained Hillier. “The government is doing nothing to prevent expected future cost increases, and is now not only dumping the costs of their reckless policies on to future generations; they are continuing to perpetuate cost increases by signing more expensive contracts.”

A full recording of MPP Hillier’s question to the government can be found here.

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Contact: Perth Office 613-267- 8239
Queen’s Park 416-325- 2244
[email protected]

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Lessons for Rural School Boards

I have called upon the Limestone District School Board to follow in the footsteps of their peers at the UCDSB in order to avoid the closure of schools within their board. I would like to thank all those who spoke out and demonstrated the need to keep these schools open. While your voices were an integral part of keeping these community hubs intact, we must continue to advocate for the schools that remain on the chopping block within the LDSB. Below you will find a press release sent out today by my office regarding the Upper Canada District School Board's announcement that schools in the Lanark area will remain open.


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
14 February 2017 

LESSONS FOR RURAL SCHOOL BOARDS

 (PERTH) – Randy Hillier (MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) calls upon the Limestone District School Board to carefully consider the Upper Canada District School Board's (UCDSB) Final Staff Report regarding school closures in Lanark County.

"My only disappointment is that the lessons learned and recommendations in Lanark were not adopted throughout all areas of the UCDSB," remarked Hillier. "The province has placed great pressures and challenges onto our school boards, and the Limestone District School Board and indeed all rural school boards, ought to consider and implement my recommendations."

"Many Lanark County schools were facing potential closure with serious and negative consequences to our communities," Hillier continued. "I was pleased to see so many speak up, rally, and demonstrate against the uninspired and trite proposed school closures."

"I am pleased that my recommendations have been adopted such as the sharing of space and resources with the Separate board, as well as improvements to curriculum, in order to mitigate the enrollment pressures for schools in Lanark County," commented Hillier. "I remain firm in my view, however, that the pupil accommodation process itself was misguided, and contained within it some fundamental flaws. As an example, nowhere in the process did I see any examination of administrative costs at the Board itself, adjustment of school hours to allow for shared transportation costs with the Separate school board, or an undertaking to reach out with other community associations for lease sharing, which truly can make our schools true community hubs."

"However, there remain a great number of rural school closures which will have serious and enduring negative consequences for our rural communities; it's time all school boards learn these lessons and become champions for our rural and small town schools," Hillier concluded.

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 Contact:
Perth Constituency Office 613-267-8239
Queen's Park Office 416-325-2244
[email protected]

 

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School Closures a Symptom of Rural Neglect

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 21st, 2016

 School Closures a Symptom of Rural Neglect

(QUEENSPARK) Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) challenged the Premier to take ownership of yet another one her “mistakes”, the decline of small town rural Ontario. Hillier argued that the Liberal Government’s legacy of failure and indifference to small town rural Ontario has devastated these communities and that school closures are the unsettling result of their failure.

“School closures are not the cause but a symptom of communities in decline,” Hillier stated “And that is the true Liberal legacy, the decline of small town and rural Ontario.” remarked Hillier. “Now in my riding alone 40 community schools are on the chopping block.”

Hillier laid the blame on a number of government actions which have led to the decline of rural communities across Ontario. “The Premier’s policies, The Premier’s economic actions, the Premier’s restrictive land regulations and skyrocketing hydro rates have suffocated growth and prosperity in rural Ontario,” Hillier explained.

Additionally, Hillier believes that parents should have a seat at the table in the discussions on school closures and consolidations. “School boards should allow parents of the affected children an opportunity to voice their concerns and provide their insights into these decisions via deputations to the board,’ Hillier proposed. “Instead the school boards are choosing to dictate its actions to these communities they have long been a part of and shut out the voices of those they service.” concluded Hillier

MPP Hillier's petition to the Upper Canada District School Board on the Pupil Accommodation Review process can be found here.


A full recording of MPP Hillier’s questions to the Premier can be found here.

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Contact:

Perth Office 613-267-8239

Queen’s Park 416-325-2244

[email protected]

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Collaboration Brings Success to CPDMH

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2016

Collaboration Brings Success to CPDMH

(CARLETON PLACE) Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) announced the investment of $8.7 million towards the revitalization of the Carleton Place District Memorial Hospital's emergency room plus an additional 9000 square feet of additional ER space today, alongside the Minister of Health and Long Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins, Carleton Place Mayor Louis Antonakos, and Beckwith Township Reeve Richard Kidd.

"This improvement to our hospital has been a long time coming; in fact the idea pre-dates my time in public office," remarked Hillier. "This investment will contribute to the revitalization of our emergency room and will enable our doctors and nurses to build upon the excellent service the hospital already provides." 

MPP Hillier highlighted this investment in the community's hospital as an example of how elected representatives from all levels and political stripes can come together to implement changes that are in the best interest of their community. Despite CPDMH having various development proposals for many years in the Ministry, MPP Hillier referenced an initial meeting earlier this year that triggered moving the project forward.

"We saw a significant change of direction on this project, starting back in February of this year, when Carleton Place Mayor Antonakos and I sat down with the Minister at ROMA, and had a thoughtful and frank discussion about the need for investment in CPDMH," recalled Hillier.  "Continued meetings,  discussions and timelines overcame historical challenges with strong collaboration and only 9 months later, the Ministry has made the significant investment we discussed in February." 

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Contact:
Perth Office 613-267-8239
Queen's Park 416-325-2244
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