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Small Business and Vulnerable Worker Task Groups' Reports

  • Content last reviewed: March 2016

In December 2012 Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis named two task groups to consult and provide advice on how to better reach vulnerable workers and small business.

The creation of the task groups was part of the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety.

Each task group had 12 members: six worker representatives and six employer representatives. Over the course of their 30 month mandates, the task groups provided advice on a number of priority initiatives including the Integrated Occupational Health and Safety Strategy and the Working at Heights Training Standards, among others.

The task groups studied issues, gathered information and provided the ministry with recommendations to better reach and increase occupational health and safety awareness for small business, vulnerable workers and their employers.

To obtain a copy of either report, please send your request to preventionfeedback@ontario.ca and the report(s) will be emailed to you.

Small Business Task Group Report

The Small Business Task Group provided advice on how to improve small business outreach to help create healthy and safe workplaces. Emphasizing outreach and awareness, their report focuses on small businesses that lack the necessary knowledge to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

In a complex regulatory environment, and facing fierce commercial competition, small business owners need accessible, low cost and easy-to-understand resources in order to create healthy and safe workplaces. Task Group members identified four priority recommendations:

  1. Create sector-specific orientation guides for small business owners in the agriculture, construction, transportation, health care and service sectors to help educate workers new to their jobs about their occupational health and safety rights and responsibilities.

    To reach small businesses that employ new workers, it is important that guides be provided to those that employ temporary, seasonal and part-time workers. Partnerships with employment and human resource agencies and organizations will be critical to reaching these small businesses.
  2. Create sector-specific fact sheets to help small businesses with five or fewer workers in the agriculture, construction, transportation, health care and service sectors identify health and safety hazards in their workplaces.
  3. Create a compliance tool to enable small businesses of all types to quickly and easily understand their occupational health and safety requirements.
  4. Review and/or create recognition and reward programs to better encourage small businesses to move towards excellence in health and safety and share successful and innovative workplace practices among their peers.

Vulnerable Worker Task Group Report

The Vulnerable Worker Task Group provided advice on how to improve outreach to increase awareness of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations among vulnerable workers and their employers. Their report focuses on workers who are the most vulnerable and employers who lack the necessary knowledge to comply with the Act. While all workers are vulnerable to injury, illness and fatality, some workers are at greater risk than others. Those who are at greatest risk may experience a combination of individual, workplace and work activity vulnerability characteristics.

Task Group members identified four priority recommendations:

  1. Create an orientation guide to educate workers employed in precarious work and newcomers to Canada on their occupational health and safety and employment standards rights and responsibilities, as well as Ontario workplace norms and expectations.
  2. Create targeted awareness campaigns for specific service areas to raise awareness among workers, employers and consumers of the risks associated with the underground economy.
  3. Create an information package for employers to raise awareness about the challenges of, and preventive mechanisms for, age-related gradual loss of work ability.
  4. Create a deeper understanding of vulnerability through collection of robust data on the factors that contribute to a worker’s overall risk of injuries, illnesses and fatalities.