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The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation: Supporting healthy and safe workplaces

Safe At Work Ontario

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SEE FULL DISCLAIMER

Beginning July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario must ensure that all their workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. The content of the training must meet the new regulatory requirements.

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.

Besides these new requirements, employers continue to have on-going duties under the OHSA to inform workers about workplace-specific hazards. This includes the general duty to “provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker” [clause 25(2)(a)].

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 and other workplace parties

The Ministry of Labour provides a number of resources and tools to help employers and other workplace parties comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation. Please note that employers are not required to use these specific ministry products in order to comply with the regulation as long as the training they provide covers the necessary content.

Workbooks and accompanying employer guides that cover the basics of occupational health and safety are available free and provide workers and supervisors with the option of completing the training program in paper format, either by printing them from a personal computer (available in English, French, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Hindi, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish and Urdu) or by ordering printed copies (available in English and French only) from Publications Ontario:

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

A Guide to OHSA Requirements for Basic Awareness Training explains in plain language the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation. This guide is available free online in English and French.

To further help employers comply with the requirements of the regulation, the Ministry of Labour has developed the following awareness training guidance tools available online in English and French:

  • Training Program Assessment for Supervisors/Workers – employers may use these tools to assess whether their training programs contain the minimum content of the regulation
  • Knowledge Check for Supervisors/Workers – employers may use these tools to verify whether a supervisor/worker has previously completed occupational health and safety awareness training and that the training meets the requirements of the regulation
  • Record Keeping Template – employers may use this template to keep a record of employees who have completed occupational health and safety awareness training as required under the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation.

For more information: