Beginning July 1, 2014 businesses in Ontario must ensure that all their workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program.

The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (O. Reg. 297/13) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is the new regulation that requires employers to make sure workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. Ministry of Labour resources are available later in the note.

Regulatory Requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation

Employers must::

  • ensure that workers complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program as soon as reasonably possible;
  • ensure that supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program within one week of working as a supervisor;
  • maintain a record of the training completed by workers and supervisors; and
  • provide a worker or supervisor with written proof of completion of the training, if requested by the worker or supervisor (up to six months after ceasing to work for the employer).

Training for Workers

The training program for workers must include instruction on:

  • the duties and rights of workers under OHSA;
  • the duties of employers and supervisors under OHSA;
  • common workplace hazards and occupational illnesses;
  • the role of joint health and safety committees (JHSCs) and of health and safety representatives under OHSA;
  • roles of the ministry, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and Health and Safety Associations; and
  • information and instruction requirements set out in the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Regulation.

Training for Supervisors

The training program for supervisors must include instruction on:

  • the duties and rights of workers under OHSA;
  • the duties of employers and supervisors under OHSA;
  • how to identify, assess and manage workplace hazards, the role of joint health and safety committees (JHSCs), and of health and safety representatives under OHSA;
  • roles of the ministry, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), and Health and Safety Associations; and
  • sources of information on occupational health and safety.

Exemptions

  • Workers and supervisors who previously completed a worker or supervisor training program, either with their current or a former employer, do not have to take the training again if they can provide proof that they completed the training and their current employer is able to verify that the training program covered the content required by the regulation.
  • A supervisor who has completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program for supervisors, prior to the regulation coming into force, does not have to complete a worker training program in addition to the supervisor program.

Resources and Tools for Employers

The Ministry of Labour has a number of resources to help employers comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation.

Workbooks and accompanying employer guides that cover the basics of occupational health and safety are available free and provide workers and supervisors information in English and French:

In addition, electronic (e-learning) training tools are available in English and French online for free to help employers comply with the regulation requirements:

For more information contact the Ministry of Labour Awareness Training.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Gary Rygus at [email protected] or 416-467-3744.