Ontario Ministry of Labour announces updated safety standards

At workplaces across Ontario, employers and workers are meeting on factory floors and in construction trailers, underground mines, conference rooms and office kitchens for a common goal: ensuring everyone goes home safe and sound at day’s end.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has updated safety regulations for workers. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has updated safety regulations for workers. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo via Unsplash.

These groups of worker and employer representatives – known as Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSCs) – meet regularly to make workplaces safer. Generally, they are mandatory at workplaces in Ontario with more than 20 workers and require at least two certified members.

Minister of Labour Laurie Scott announced this week that Ontario is bringing health and safety training into the 21st century, saving employers and workers time and money.

These changes mean about 50,000 Ontario workplaces no longer need to send workers for a 5-day course. By cutting red tape, Minister Scott shortened the course to 3 days by making online courses fully available to Ontario businesses.

Sending workers to training for up to 5 days was a major cost to Ontario job creators. Spending that much time away from family was also unfair to Ontario workers. Minister Scott is reducing red tape, helping workers and moving Ontario training standards into the 21st century. These changes will save Ontario businesses and other organizations an estimated $5 million per year.

The changes include:

  • promoting flexibility by allowing training to take part solely online for the first part of learning, in addition to classroom, blended, and distance learning
  • extending the time to complete the second part of training to within a year of completing the first part, providing more time for employers to schedule training

“I am committed to creating fair and competitive processes for business, dynamic labour markets and safe workplaces for every worker in Ontario,” Scott said. “Our government is making Ontario the best jurisdiction in North America to recruit, retain and reward the workers of today and tomorrow.”

“Joint Health and Safety Committees are a cornerstone of a strong health and safety culture at work,” said Ron Kelusky, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer. “By modernizing our training standards and providing more options for training, we’re meeting the needs of both employers and workers.”

More information about the new training standards for JHSCs and other important workplace health and safety information can be found via the Ministry of Labour website, linked here.  

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