The Ontario Government has introduced a regulation to the Occupational Health
and Safety Act (OHSA) that would mandate that employers
provide health and safety awareness training to all workers
and supervisors effective July 1, 2014.
Specific Requirements of the Regulation
The health and safety awarness training for
workers must deal with the following:
the duties and rights of workers under OHSA
the duties of employers and supervisors under OHSA
the roles of health and safety representatives, and joint
health and safety committees, under OHSA
the roles of the Ministry of Labour (MOL), the Workplace Safety
and Insurance Board and other designated entities with respect
to occupational health and safety
common workplace hazards
the requirements in the WHMIS regulation with respect to
information and instruction on controlled products
occupational illness, including latency
Workers must perform this training "as soon as
The required training for supervisors is
similar, but must also deal with the following additional
how to recognize, assess and control workplace hazards, and
evaluate those controls
sources of information on occupational health and safety
Supervisors must perform this training "within one week of
performing work as a supervisor".
The training does not have to be completed if the
worker or supervisor already received training that dealt with
the required topics noted above. Employers are to keep records
of the completed training and provide written proof to
the worker/supervisor of the completion of the
training if requested. Employers must also keep records
of those exempt from completing the training.
While the MOL's training modules are helpful, employers
should not rely on workers/supervisors undertaking the training on
their own time. Instead, employers should be
proactive and create their own training or, at the very least,
provide time during the paid work day to complete the MOL training
modules. Employees should sign off upon completion of the
training and records should be kept.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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