Over 100,000 businesses in Ontario will be impacted by the approval of
Bill 160 on May 18, 2011.
TORONTO, May 20, 2011 /CNW/ - All employers and contractors in Ontario
with 6-19 employees are currently required to have a Health and Safety
Representative, but no formal training is mandated. Bill 160 now
introduces a training requirement for this Health and Safety
Following the publication of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational
Health & Safety in December 2010 - The Dean Report, Bill 160, Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011 was drafted to address its recommendations.
On May 18 Bill 160 received its third reading and was carried by 79
votes to 0. This is the last stage before it will be recommended for
Royal Assent, shortly after which it will be given a statute number and
"…..This bill is about moving forward to protect the health and safety
of working people in the province of Ontario. New amendments to the
Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and
Insurance Act, 1997, represent the largest overhaul of the province's
safety system in 30 years." Charles Sousa - Ontario Minister of Labour
What will this mean to small businesses in Ontario?
The answer depends to some degree on how many people are employed in the
If more than 6 but no more than 19 employees work at a location then the
employer is required to appoint a Health & Safety Representative. Bill
160 requires that they receive formal health and safety training.
Workplaces with 20 employees or more must have two employees that have
successfully completed Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification
Training, one representing the workers the other the employer. Bill
160 will require a newer, more prescriptive training program.
Mentioned in the Dean Report, but not specifically in Bill 160 is the
issue of mandatory health & safety training for young workers. However
the parliamentary debate on May 17th contained these words:
"Then there's young workers—secondary and post-secondary education. The
expert panel has recommended—and we will be moving forward with—new and
enhanced efforts to reach out to young workers. We will be developing
new materials and programs to help assure that teens entering the
workforce know their rights and their responsibilities under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act. We owe it to our young people, our
children, to give them the knowledge and the tools to keep themselves
safe as they enter the workforce."
Bill 160 also contains increased provisions against reprisals for
workers who report safety infractions to the MOL.
What is not especially clear is how the administrative changes to Health
and Safety enforcement will affect employers. Bill 160 will remove the
responsibility of prevention of workplace injury and illness from the
WSIB and place it in the Ministry of Labour (MOL) under a new Chief
Prevention Officer (CPO) who will be advised by a new Prevention
Council. The Prevention Council will be composed of representatives
from trade unions, provincial labour organizations, employers, the WSIB
and persons with health & safety expertise. These will be powerful
entities with the ability to regulate without further actions from
SOURCE Occupational Safety Group
For further information:
Submitted by Mark Lisburn, CEO - Occupational Safety Group Inc. www.osg.ca