Safety Task Force

See something unsafe on the job? Report it to the Ministry of Labour at 1-877-202-0008

(December 2019) Apply for WSIB Rebates

Led by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO), the Ontario government has recently launched a program called Supporting Safe Employers which will formally recognize employers who successfully implement health and safety programs in their workplace through WSIB rebates totaling $140million over 3 years.

To learn more about the Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers Program, please click here.

(December 2019) Automated WSIB Clearances

The WSIB has announced that rather than creating specific clearance numbers showing that your business is registered and up-to-date with WSIB for each business you work with, a single clearance will automatically be created for your business, as long as you are up to date on your WSIB payments and reporting. This clearance number is valid for all your contracts and uses the same compliance criteria.

Click here to learn more.

Click here to see FAQs on WSIB clearances.

(December 2019) Fast Tracking Development

As part of the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark, will aim to:

  • Make upfront development costs easier to predict;
  • Help build housing, including affordable housing, near transit;
  • Bring housing to market faster by speeding up local planning decisions and making the appeals process more efficient; and,
  • Give communities and developers more certainty on what they can build, and where they can build it

Click here to learn more about the More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan.

(November 2019) Fiscal Review Transforms Skilled Trades and Tackles Labour Shortage

On November 6th, 2019, the Ontario government put out its Fall Economic Statement, the first major fiscal update since last Spring. Of interest to our industry are several new and ongoing initiatives including the following:

Rebranding Skilled Trades and Restructuring Apprenticeships

Skilled Trades Consultations – The government will lead consultations with industry and stakeholders and provide recommendations on ways to modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in order to help fill any skills shortages.

Marketing Campaign for Skilled Trades – The government is promoting apprenticeship and skilled trades as a pathway of choice for young people. This will include a marketing campaign, targeting students and groups typically underrepresented in apprenticeship training, planned for early 2020. The campaign will promote the trades as exciting, productive and lucrative careers to a variety of audiences, including high school students, their parents and educators.

Apprenticeship Equipment – Ontario will be investing in more than $3 billion to renew postsecondary infrastructure in colleges and universities and for state‐of‐the‐art equipment for apprenticeship training.

Replacing College of Trades – The government is establishing a new streamlined and modernized ministry‐led delivery model to replace the Ontario College of Trades.

Encouraging Job Seekers and Immigrants to Fill Labour Gaps

Regional Immigration Pilot – The government is engaging with select rural and small community stakeholders to assess interest in the proposed Ontario Regional Immigration Pilot and to gather information about existing community immigrant attraction and retention efforts. The pilot is intended to launch in 2020, and over the term of the pilot the government will work closely with local stakeholders to fill labour gaps and to attract and retain skilled labour in rural and smaller communities.

Immigrant Nominee Program – The government introduced regulatory amendments to simplify program requirements for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and add greater clarity and consistency to stream criteria, including: Under the In-Demand Skills Stream, the work experience requirement has been reduced and three new National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes have been added to support changing labour market needs.

Training Support Programs – The government is making changes to Second Career and other skills training programs to ensure they are helping job seekers get the skills they need to find work.

(October 2019) Province Looking to Transform Building Code Services

Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is proposing the development of an administrative authority for building services in Ontario to address municipal challenges and strengthen enforcement tools to non-compliance with the Building Code.

Members are welcome to review the full proposal, attend regional information sessions, and submit their thoughts to the consultation before November 25th, 2019. Click here to learn more, participate in the public survey, or submit your comments.

(October 2019) Training and Skills Advisors Appointed

The Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities has just appointed Adam Melnick and Andrew Pariser as Ontario’s new “Training and Skills Advisors” (TSAs). The advisors will be responsible for engaging with industry and stakeholders and providing recommendations on how the provincial government can modernize the skilled trades and apprenticeship system in Ontario, specifically on issues of portable skills and risk-based restricted actives. Click here to learn more.

(October 2019) Province Looking to Transform Building Code Services

Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is proposing the development of an administrative authority for building services in Ontario to address municipal challenges and strengthen enforcement tools to non-compliance with the Building Code.

Members are welcome to review the full proposal, attend regional information sessions, and submit their thoughts to the consultation before November 25th, 2019. Click here to learn more, participate in the public survey, or submit your comments.

(September 2019) Transitioning to the new WSIB premium rate-setting model

The new WSIB premium rate-setting model is almost here. To help businesses smoothly transition, any rate decreases will be applied immediately, while any initial rate increases will be phased in over three years. Click here to learn more.

(August 2019) Work Begins for Future Skills Centre

The Future Skills Centre is an initiative by the Canadian government to fund and evaluate new approaches to skills development in Canada and convene partners across the country in the process.

Recently the Centre announced the appointment of Executive Director as Pedro Barata and revealed that it will be investing $7.65 million into 10 new innovation projects to assist mid-career workers in adapting, retraining, and/or upskilling in the future economy.

The Future Skills Centre has also approved several projects including FUSION, or the “Future Skills Innovation Network”, which comprises of six Canadian universities and will aim to address how the postsecondary sector is equipping students for the future of work. Click here to learn more.

(August 2019) Investing in Pre-Apprenticeship Training

Ontario is investing an additional $5 million into the province’s pre-apprenticeship training which will allow colleges and other community organizations to offer 84 programs across the province that will introduce over 1,600 people to the trades.

Training is offered through colleges and community agencies and is open to youth or adults who have graduated high school, not completed high school, are underemployed or unemployed, and those who identify as Indigenous, newcomers to Canada, women, Francophone, or youth-at-risk. Click here to learn more.

(July 2019) MOL Seeking Input on Overtime Averaging

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has put out a call for input on whether to give unionized parties the ability to negotiate agreements that average an employee’s hours of work over periods greater than four weeks. Currently, unionized parties can agree to average an employee’s hours of work up to a 4-week period. These averaging calculations are done to determine entitlement to overtime pay under the Employment Standards Act. To submit your thoughts and/or learn more, please click here.

(July 2019) New Minister of Labour Appointed

The provincial government recently announced a cabinet shuffle which included the appointment of The Honourable Monte McNaughton as Ontario’s new Minister of Labour (pictured). Minister McNaughton hails from Lambton-Kent-Middlesex and previously held the position of Minister of Infrastructure. MPP Jane McKenna has also been announced as the new Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour. To view the complete list of new cabinet positions, please click here. To access the complete list of new Parliamentary Assistants, please click here.

(June 2019) WSIB Special Advisors Announced

An operational review of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has been initiated and has been tasked with the following:

  • Financial Oversight: sustainability of the WSIB insurance fund and controls over it
  • Administration: effectiveness of the current WSIB governance and executive management structure
  • Efficiency: the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of operations, including comparisons to competing jurisdictions and private sector insurers

Insurance and public policy experts Linda Regner Dykeman and Sean Speer have been appointed as special advisors and are expected to provide a report to the Ontario government by the end of 2019.

Click here to learn more.

(May 2019) Public Bodies Deemed “Non-Construction Employers”

The Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act (Bill 66) recently received Royal Assent and became law, meaning, among other changes, that the Labour Relations Act will be amended to deem public bodies, including municipalities, school boards, hospitals, colleges and universities, as “non-construction employers.” The Government expects that this change will increase competitiveness for broader public-sector construction projects. Click here to learn more.

(April 2019) Safe at Work Ontario: Slips, Trips, & Falls

MOL has launched Safe at Work Ontario: Slips, Trips, & Falls with the goal of raising awareness of hazards and increasing compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Phase 1: Compliance Assistance Campaign (March 18–July 12, 2019)
Aimed at working with health and safety associations to raise awareness and provide resources, training, and education to comply with regulations before the inspection campaign begins.

Phase 2: Inspection Campaign (April 15–July 12, 2019)
Inspectors will conduct field visits to check that employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, and to raise awareness about specific issues at the workplaces they are visiting.

Click here to learn more.

(March 2019) Working at Heights Training Prevents 111 Falls

Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) Ron Kelusky has just announced that the province’s mandatory working-at-heights (WAH) training has been effective. Since the program was launched in 2015, more than 550,000 Ontario workers, most of them in construction, have completed WAH training.

An independent study conducted by the Institute for Work & Health (WIH) found that training has resulted in a decrease of almost 20% in lost-time injury claims to the WSIB, or an estimated 111 falls from heights prevented. This represents nearly $5 million less in claims as well as savings for employers of between $27 and $36 million.

Click here to learn more.

(February 2019) New Online Health & Safety Training

The Ministry of Labour will soon be offering Part One of the Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) Certification Training Standard to be completed online. Part Two will continue to be delivered in a classroom setting, but the duration to complete the second part will be extended to one year after completing Part One.

This allows 50,000 Ontario workplaces to no longer require workers to complete the 5-day classroom course and is estimated to save businesses $5 million per year. These changes will come into effect after the updated Standard is posted later this year.

Click here to learn more.

(November 2018) Major Workplace Changes

The newly-elected provincial government has introduced the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (Bill 47) which will repeal the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148). If passed, this legislation would:

  • Phase out the Ontario College of Trades, instead proposing a one-to-one journeyperson-to-apprentice ratio for every trade for which ratios apply,
  • Cancel the scheduling provision which allowed employees to refuse work or be on-call when they are not scheduled to work with less than 96 hours’ notice
  • Freeze the minimum wage at $14 an hour until 2020
  • Re-allow employers to require medical notes from a qualified health practitioner
  • Repeal equal pay for equal work based on employment status (full-time, part-time, casual, temporary)
  • Cancel the two paid days of personal emergency leave and reduce unpaid personal emergency leave days from ten to eight: three for personal illness, two for bereavement, and three for family responsibilities

Click here to learn more.

(October 2018) Cannabis Impairment on the Job

On October 17th, the sale, possession, and distribution of recreational cannabis was legalized across the country. The Association is dedicated to ensuring that our members have the necessary tools to prevent impairment on the job and are equipped to develop hazard prevention programs to uphold health and safety.

Many questions are still unanswered in relation to the effects of cannabis and the lasting effects of impairment, making it difficult for employers who require workers to handle machinery, operate from tall heights, and have uninhibited decision-making skills.

Click here to learn more.

Working at Heights Training

Beginning April 1, 2015, employers in Ontario must ensure that workers on construction projects who may use certain methods of fall protection successfully complete ‘working at heights’ training that meets training program and provider standards established by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (Ontario Regulation 297/13) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), has been amended to include mandatory working at heights training requirements. The working at heights training is valid for three years from the date the worker completes an approved training program delivered by an approved training provider. In addition to these new requirements, employers continue to have a duty under Section 26.2 (1) of O. Reg. 213/91 (Construction Projects) to ensure that workers who may use a fall protection system are adequately trained on the use of the system, and are given adequate oral and written instructions by a competent person. Click here to find out more:

Prevent Falls on Construction Projects – Safety Tip Card

Visit the province’s page on preventing falls on construction projects here:

Ontario Increasing Maximum Fines for Workplace Health and Safety Violations

Ontario is enhancing protection for workers by increasing the maximum fines for individuals and businesses that don’t meet workplace health and safety standards.

The maximum fines for an offense under the Occupational Health and Safety has been increased from:

  • $25,000 to $100,000 for an individual or unincorporated business (which had not changed since 1979)
  • $500,000 to $1,500,000 for corporations (which had not changed since 1990)

Ontario also changed the time limit to allow for prosecution, from one year from the date of the offense, to one year from the date an inspector becomes aware of an alleged offense.

Keeping Workers Safe on Construction Sites

Ontario is helping to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities for workers on construction sites across the province through the implementation of its Construction Health and Safety Action Plan.

Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn announced the plan today at the construction site for the new courthouse in Toronto. Created with input from construction employers, workers and other industry stakeholders, Ontario’s plan contains 16 recommendations to strengthen the prevention of work-related injury and illness for construction workers on sites of all sizes across the province.

These recommendations include:

  • Developing a web tool and mobile app to help employers and workers understand their health and safety obligations and rights for specific construction projects
  • Building an online portal that allows building inspectors to report unsafe work practices to the government
  • Increasing awareness about working-at-heights training requirements

You can find out more about this initiative by clicking HERE.

Suspended Access Equipment on Construction Projects – Guidance Document Released

This guideline is intended to assist designers, engineers, fabricators, owners and suppliers of suspended access equipment (SAE) by clarifying the intent and meaning of certain technical aspects of sections 136.1 to 142.06 applicable to suspended work platform systems and boatswain’s chairs found in Ontario Regulation 213/91, Construction Projects (the Construction Regulation) that came into effect on January 1, 2017.

B&CRAO had been aggressively advocating for the development and release of this technical guideline since the new SAE regulations were announced. You can find a copy of this document HERE.