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New safety awareness training requirement in Ontario


A new safety awareness training requirement – the first of its kind in Canada – will help reduce injuries and illness at Ontario workplaces, says George Gritziotis, the province’s Chief Prevention Officer for workplace health and safety.

Beginning July 1, 2014, employers will need to ensure workers and supervisors across the province meet mandatory basic health and safety awareness training requirements, under a new regulation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“The training will lay the groundwork for making our province one of the safest places to work in the world,” Gritziotis says. “It will ensure supervisors and workers, including youth and recent immigrants, know their rights and responsibilities and understand how to prevent tragedy in the workplace.”

The training was recommended in 2010 by the 10-member Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. The panel’s report followed consultations with labour, business, workplace health and safety organizations, and specialist academics.

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The Ministry of Labour has developed a set of free, optional training materials to assist employers, especially small businesses, in complying with the regulation. Included are: workbooks and employer guides in multiple languages; an awareness poster entitled “Prevention Starts Here” available in multiple languages; e-learning modules for workers and supervisors in English and French.

“The materials will be available this Fall,” says Cordelia Clarke Julien, training and safety programs director in the ministry’s Prevention Office. “The training is about making sure workers go home safely at the end of each work day.”

The new awareness training will include information such as: workers’ duties and rights; employers’ and supervisors’ duties; roles of workplace health and safety representatives, and Joint Health and Safety Committees; and roles of the ministry, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and other health and safety organizations.

www.labour.gov.on.ca