Ontario Expanding Safety Training and Resources to Keep Workers Safe
Investment Accompanied by Release of New Mandatory Working at Heights Training Standards
May 17, 2023
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing an additional $12.5 million in Ontario’s six health and safety associations, which provide safety training and resources to businesses and workers across the province. The investment will support organizations like Workplace Safety North, which helped rescue 39 miners trapped underground in Sudbury in September 2021, and strengthen worker safety in critical industries from manufacturing to forestry.
“Every worker in Ontario deserves to come home safely to their family at the end of their shift,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “In addition to recently raising fines for occupational health and safety violations to the highest level in the country, our government will continue to invest in education, prevention and enforcement to ensure every worker in Ontario has the protections they deserve.”
Ontario is also updating standards for mandatory working at heights training to address one of the leading causes of workplace deaths in industries like construction. These updates will help improve the quality of training and safety knowledge of participants when working in various settings including with ladders, skylights and damaged equipment. Over one million workers have completed this training since it began in 2015.
These changes follow the ground-breaking protections introduced by the government in the Working for Workers Act, 2023, which proposes new health and safety protections for workers, including fines for withholding passports, better protections for remote workers during mass terminations and cleaner and women’s-only washrooms on construction sites.
- Health and safety associations are independent, not-for-profit corporations that deliver workplace health and safety programs on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. They include:
- Together, the health and safety associations delivered over 64,000 training sessions last year.
- Over one million workers have successfully completed standardized working at heights training since the program’s inception.
- Working at heights training providers have until April 1, 2024, to update their programs and ensure they fulfill the requirements of the revised working at heights training program and training provider standards.
“We applaud Minister McNaughton’s continued efforts to improve education, prevention and enforcement with respect to health and safety in the workplace. Today’s announcement about mandatory working at heights training is a continuation of the government’s commitment to ensure every worker in Ontario is getting the protections they deserve.”
– Adam Melnick
Director of Canadian Affairs, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
“The government’s continued investment into the upkeep and advancement of preventative education and training ensures that workers are better informed and prepared on construction sites. Updating the standards for mandatory working at heights training will directly translate into saving workers from potential exposure to incidents and accidents. The OGCA applauds the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for this advancement.”
– Giovanni Cautillo
President, Ontario General Contactors Association
“The continuous process of reviewing the working at heights training standard helps ensure all workers are given the correct knowledge to work safely. With this knowledge, workers and employers can implement controls to ensure EVERYONE makes it home safe at the end of the day.”
– Blair Allin, NCSO
Canadian Health and Safety Representative, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
“Safety is the foundation the residential sector builds on and RESCON fully supports the investment in health and safety associations and updating the working at heights training. Industry best practices have and will continue to reduce the number of fatalities and critical injuries in Ontario. We owe it to all workers and their families to continuously improve our health and safety systems.”
– Andrew Pariser
Vice President, RESCON
“At the Carpenters’ Union, we know that investments in workplace health and safety are critical to ensuring all workers come home to their loved ones at the end of the day. Expanding our safety training and resources will offer better protections to workers, and we are fully supportive of the continued effort by this Government to keep those that are building the future of our province safe.”
– Adam Bridgman
Director of Training, Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario