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On Christmas Eve 2009 an unfortunate workplace accident took the life of four workers and sparked the Ontario government into action. The Province undertook a review of the existing workplace health and safety training programs. The result has been the implementation of new, mandatory H&S awareness training. This could be good news or bad news for your business depending on your current training curriculum. Siskinds Labour & Employment lawyer Beth Traynor explains what is new in 2014 and how it may, or may not, impact you.

As is often the case, there’s good news and bad news on the occupational health and safety front. Employers who are already doing a thorough job of training workers and supervisors in a broad spectrum of health and safety principles probably don’t have to worry much about Ontario’s new Regulation 297/13. But for the rest of you … change is coming.

In the aftermath of a Christmas Eve scaffolding failure which killed four workers in 2009, the Ontario government conducted a general review of the province’s health and safety regime. One result of that review is the implementation of mandatory health and safety awareness training for workers and supervisors in the province. 

As of July 14, 2014, it will be mandatory for every employer in Ontario to be able to prove that all their workers have been trained in:

  • Workers’ duties and rights under the OHSA
  • Employers’ and supervisors’ duties and rights under the OHSA
  • The role of health and safety reps, Joint Health & Safety Committees, the Ministry of Labour, WSIB, and other stakeholders in the process
  • Identifying workplace hazards and understanding WHMIS regulations

Supervisors will require further training in the recognition, assessment and control of hazards, as well as knowing the sources of information about occupational health and safety. Employers will also have more onerous obligations with respect to record-keeping about all of their OHSA training and awareness efforts.

Where employers can prove that their workers have already had comparable training, they will be exempted from the obligation to repeat it.

To see the type of training the Ministry of Labour expects, you can review the generic training materials which are provided by the Ministry of Labour, either in hard copy format or online in PDF format.

Ontario’s New Health and Safety Awareness Training

And of course, you are also welcome to contact Siskinds’ Labour & Employment Group to discuss how we can provide a personalized training program for your specific workplace to meet this requirement.

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