Starting July 1, 2014, all employers covered by the
Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) will be required
to give Basic
Awareness Training to all workers and supervisors. The
objective of this training is to enhance workers' and
supervisors' knowledge of both their rights and
responsibilities under the OHSA and highlight the OHSA's
overarching principle that workers, supervisors and employers are
jointly responsible for maintaining the health and safety of their
The training was mandated, in part, in order to address the
health and safety of particularly vulnerable workers such as new
hires and recent immigrants.
Employers may use ministry-approved training programs, external
programs or develop their own to comply with this new requirement.
This training must be completed during work time for existing
workers and supervisors, however, prospective employees may
complete the training on their own and employers may require
completion of such a program in advance of hiring.
The Basic Awareness Training for workers must cover:
The duties and rights of workers under the OHSA
The duties of employers and supervisors under the OHSA
The roles of health and safety representatives and Joint Health
and Safety Committees under the OHSA
The roles of the Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board and entities under OHSA Section 22.5
Common workplace hazards
Requirements regarding information and instruction on
Occupational illness, including latency periods
The Basic Awareness Training for supervisors must include
training on how to recognize, assess and control workplace hazards
and how to evaluate those controls as well as how and where to
access information on occupation health and safety. If a supervisor
has completed a similar training program before July 1, 2014 they
will not have to complete the training program for workers.
Otherwise, they must complete both the Basic Awareness Training
program for workers and for supervisors.
This training should be a supplement to any other specific
training required under the OHSA. It should be completed as soon as
reasonably possible, but it is recommended that it occur before
workers are exposed to workplace hazards.
Workers who have already completed training that covers the
required content must show proof of completion to their employer
and the employer must verify that the previous training covered the
required content. This means that employers are also required to
keep records of workers and supervisors who have completed the
training. These records must be kept for a period of six months
after a worker's employment is terminated and the employer must
respond to any request from former employees for proof of training
within that time period. The training does not have to be regularly
retaken – an employee must simply show proof of completion on
Employers in Ontario will need to make this a priority and
should take the opportunity to refresh employee awareness of best
practice in health and safety in the workplace and workplace
policies and procedures in these areas. It may also be a good time
to review these policies to ensure their compliance with legislated
and best practice standards.
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general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be
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