Keeping Track of Legislated Requirements for Public Libraries

Employers in Ontario have specific legislated obligations relating to the workplace and its employees. For example, under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are obligated to “instruct, inform and supervise their workers to protect their health and safety”. But what exactly does that entail? And how can public library CEOs and supervisors keep track of these types of obligations and requirements?

The COVID-19 pandemic also brought about many changes, including new legislation, new workplace requirements, and high rates of staff turnover. Are any of those pandemic-related requirements still in place? Have all new staff members been properly onboarded?

To this end, the Ontario Library Service created a checklist to help libraries keep track of the most common legislated training and documentation requirements within provincial legislation that impact public libraries and public library employees.

The checklist covers 22 unique policy, documentation, or training requirements under eight different pieces of legislation:

  • Employment Standards Act, including the Ontario Working for Workers Act
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Act
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • Municipal Act
  • Municipal Elections Act

Public library CEOs and supervisory staff can use this checklist to ensure that they are indeed meeting the obligations set out by these pieces of provincial legislation, or to identify areas where obligations are not currently being met.

The checklist may also help identify upcoming training obligations. For example, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), all library employees and volunteers, including board members, have to be trained on accessible customer service. With the library board’s four-year term coming to an end this year, and board appointments on the horizon, CEOs will need to ensure that any new board members appointed to the board are trained on accessible customer service.

The checklist will continue to be updated as new policy, training and documentation requirements are introduced at the provincial level, and it is our hope that public libraries will make use of this tool on an ongoing basis to audit current practices.

Link: Key Workplace Legislation and Training Requirements for Public Libraries – Checklist

Note: The checklist is not intended to be exhaustive, and does not cover requirements set out by the Public Libraries Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or the Pay Equity Act, nor does it cover federal legislation such as the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL), the Income Tax Act, the Copyright Act, or the Canadian Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

The Reopening Ontario Act has not been included in the checklist, as all pandemic-related policy, documentation and training requirements, such as the requirement to have a safety plan in place, have been revoked.

For questions or assistance with the legislated requirements covered in the checklist, or for general questions related to library operations and governance, we invite you to get in touch with the Ontario Library Service Consulting team ( We are always here to help!