Effective July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario will be required to
ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic
occupational health and safety awareness training program as soon
as practicable, pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the
Act). A supervisor must be trained within one week of performing
work as a supervisor. Failure to comply with this requirement is an
offence under the Act; upon conviction for an offence, a
corporation can be fined up to $500,000 and an individual can be
fined up to $25,000 and/or imprisoned for up to 12 months.
To assist you with your upcoming mandatory health and safety
training requirements, we have summarized our top six tips
Check to see if your current training program complies
with the Regulation. Employers are not required to provide
additional training to employees if they can prove that workers and
supervisors have already completed a health and safety training
program that meets the requirements set out in Regulation 297/13 (the Regulation). To rely
upon this exemption, employers should be able to provide sufficient
evidence (proof of completion certificates, training program
documents, etc.) upon inspection. For your reference, the mandatory
requirements for training programs are summarized in the chart at
the end of this article.
Access the free online training resources. The
Ministry of Labour has created training resources and booklets that
meet the minimum requirements of the Regulation; these are
available online. These resources allow employers to (a)
require workers and supervisors to complete online learning
modules, or (b) use the Ministry booklets to provide training
directly to workers and supervisors.
Be aware of the training requirements for
supervisors. There are additional training requirements
for supervisors. If a supervisor performs work as a supervisor and
receives the basic health and safety training for supervisors prior
to July 1, 2014, retraining is not required. However, employees who
become supervisors or receive training after July 1, 2014 must
receive the basic health and safety training for workers
and for supervisors.
Maintain training and exemption records.
Employers are required to maintain a record of basic occupational
health and safety awareness training completed by workers and
supervisors as well as a record of the workers and supervisors who
are exempt from the new training requirement. Employers must also
be prepared to provide written proof of the completion of training
or exemption upon request. If employees complete the Ministry's
online learning modules, your organization should retain copies of
the completed "Proof of Completion" certificates.
Continue to provide supplemental training.
Keep in mind that all other requirements under the Act continue to
apply, so the basic occupational health and safety awareness
training program should be supplemented with any existing health
and safety policies and procedures that are specific to your
organization. For example, employers are required to provide
information and instruction on workplace violence and workplace
harassment under the Act. Further, any training requirements under
the Act regarding any job or task will continue to apply.
Consider performing an occupational health and safety
audit. If your organization is currently reviewing its
health and safety training program, this may be a good opportunity
to perform a general occupational health and safety audit of your
organization, which could include the following items:
Are all of the necessary posters, policies and a copy of the
Act posted in the workplace?
Have all first aid training requirements been satisfied?
Has your organization developed and implemented its workplace
violence and harassment policies and programs?
Does your organization have the necessary health and safety
representative or joint health and safety committee, and has that
individual or committee carried out the prescribed duties?
If an inspector from the Ministry of Labour observes a violation
of any of these requirements during an inspection, the inspector
may issue an order for compliance and the organization and
individuals could be subject to prosecution for
In order to comply with the Regulation, training programs for
workers and supervisors must provide instruction on all of the
topics set out in the chart below.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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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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