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Prevention Council Meeting: June 13, 2013

  • Issued: June 2013
  • Content last reviewed: September 2013

Prevention council members:

  • Colin Grieve, Ontario Professional Firefighters Association
  • Graeme Norval, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto
  • Linda Vannuci, Health & Safety Legal Clinic
  • Nancy Hutchison, Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Roy Slack, Cementation Canada
  • Susanna Zagar, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board
  • Patrick Dillon, Provincial Building & Construction Trades Council of Ontario

Prevention council regrets:

  • Bryan Neath, United Food & Commercial Workers of Canada
  • Gloria Rajkumar, SIMAC
  • Mike Oxley, DuPont Canada Company


  • George Gritziotis, Ministry of Labour
  • Brian Lewis, Ministry of Labour
  • Cordelia Clarke Julien, Ministry of Labour
  • Ana Matos Clark, Ministry of Labour
  • Jessica Harper, Ministry of Labour
  • Melissa Kittmer, Ministry of Labour
  • Don Embuldeniya, Ministry of Labour
  • Laura Belfie, Ministry of Labour
  • Kerry Towndrow, Ministry of Labour
  • Richard Burton, Ministry of Labour

1. Opening remarks

The Chair, Alternate-Chair, and Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) welcomed the Prevention Council (PC) members to their fifth meeting.

2. Meeting notes

The April 11, 2013 meeting notes were approved.

3. PC member stakeholder engagement update - for discussion

The CPO provided an overview of the ministry’s development of a stakeholder engagement strategy. The ministry has planned external stakeholder engagement consultations with a variety of employers, as well as labour and worker groups on June 25, 2013.

The Chair discussed the role of PC members to engage their constituencies and outlined how his organization engages firefighters across the province, e.g., getting feedback on training e-modules from members of their organization/network.

A general discussion took place about how members connect with their networks. It was noted that networks are not as well defined across different areas, e.g., academia and employer community, thus making reaching and engaging stakeholders a challenge.

The CPO indicated that a Ministry of Labour (MOL) stakeholder engagement plan will be presented to the Council at a later date, which will identify opportunities for engagement outside the current traditional engagement mechanisms. MOL would provide support in these kind of efforts.

Action Item: Prevention Office to report findings of the external stakeholder engagement consultation session at the next Prevention Council meeting.

Action Item: Prevention Office to send members the previously-developed communication products, upcoming health and safety events and links to ministry occupational health and safety (OHS) newsletters to support Council Members in stakeholder engagement.

4. Review of recent OHS data and operational activities – for information and discussion

The Manager of Data and Performance Metrics Unit, MOL, provided members with a schematic outlining Occupational Health and Safety service delivery, as well as workplace injuries and fatalities in Ontario from 2009/10 to 2011/12.

PC members noted concerns around a recent two-percent decrease in total field visits conducted by MOL inspectors. It was also noted that the increase in reactive visits can affect the overall inspectorate’s capacity to conduct the same number of field visits compared to previous years. Members expressed interest in receiving information regarding the number or workplaces in Ontario as well as the actual number of inspectors in the field as opposed to Full-Time Equivalents. Members identified additional Ministry of Labour data elements of interest for future dashboards including trends on the number of complaints and the number of work refusals reported to the ministry.

Health and Safety Associations’ (HSA) data was also explored, and it was noted that a breakdown and comparison between the type of training delivered (including content and format such as e-courses and in-class training) as well as the unique number of workers and organizations trained would be helpful (e.g., how much of the training is repeat business?).

Members raised concerns on how injury information is reported, including critical injuries, Lost-Time injuries (LTIs), Non-Lost-Time injuries (NLTIs) and occupational disease claims. Members also noted interest in data that is more granular and that the ministry’s enforcement data could provide an opportunity to begin an in-depth exploration of OHS data trends. Lastly, the differences between harmonized fatality data and provincial MOL data were considered, including differences by jurisdiction.

Action Item: Prevention Office to follow-up on the availability of information regarding the number of MOL inspectors currently active in the field as well as the number of workplaces in Ontario.

Action Item: The Prevention Office is currently looking at data coding issues with respect to 2012 critical injury data and will provide a summary once the analysis is complete.

Action Item: PC members to provide feedback on OHS data, including data variables, measurement and analytics, to be considered and incorporated into future data capabilities at the Prevention Office.

5. Data management and performance metrics – for information and discussion

The Director, Strategy and Integration Branch, MOL provided members with an overview of the projects currently underway in Data Management and Performance Metrics Unit of the Prevention Office, including activities, strategy and anticipated outcomes, current versus future state of data management and performance metrics, next steps and a listing of various projects underway. Members took the opportunity to discuss availability of performance data and issues surrounding confidentiality and sharing of information. They also discussed concerns surrounding sharing information and potential linkages to issuance of orders, as well as, the current system of voluntary compliance with reporting requirements.

Further, members were provided with an overview of the Occupational Health and Safety Market Metrics Project underway at the Strategy and Integration Branch of the Prevention Office. Members discussed the different ways that this project may be perceived by various stakeholders and audiences involved in provision of health and safety services, noting both opportunities and challenges.

Action Item: Prevention Office to share list of Health and Safety Association participants in the Market Metrics Project with Prevention Council once the group is established.

6. Interim research plan – for information and discussion

The Director, Strategy and Integration Branch, MOL presented members with an overview of the 2013/14 Interim Research Plan, including the proposal for creating an interim research advisory body and an interim research program model. Members took the opportunity to discuss research principles and decision-making on funding based on these principles, and compared the proposed research advisory body with the former Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) Research Advisory Council (RAC). Discussion also took place about the value of the refreshed research program, the strategic role of a research advisory body in ensuring that OHS research meets key principles of partnership, collaboration and knowledge dissemination. Members also took the time to discuss what role the Council could play in guiding how research is funded, specifically input regarding the criteria to assess research proposals.

Members raised the potential of smaller organizations partnering with other government agencies or partnering with other similar organizations to apply jointly for research funding. Members also commented on the granting process and criteria, noting that some criteria may be misinterpreted or have undesired effects if not managed carefully. Members indicated interest in continuing discussions about OHS research in future meetings, as well as in nominating individuals for the OHS-Research Advisory Panel (OHS-RAP).

Action item: Prevention Council Members to submit nominations for the OHS-Research Advisory Panel to the Prevention Office by June 30, 2013.

7. Integrated occupational health and safety strategy development – for review and discussion

  1. Strategy Development
  2. Annual Report

The Director, Strategy and Integration Branch, MOL provided Members with preliminary findings regarding the integrated OHS strategy consultations. This included a progress report about the research, analysis and jurisdictional scans currently underway to support the development of the strategy. Members were provided with information on the consultation process, noting that there had been over 200 written submissions, many coming late in the process. Impressions from consultation sessions to date were discussed, noting some of the areas emerging where there seemed to be a consensus or divergence of views.

Members discussed draft OHS data identifying vulnerable workers, noting interest in additional variables about vulnerable workers, such as education attainment and income level. Members also noted the difficulty in defining vulnerable workers and, therefore, difficulty in obtaining additional data about vulnerable workers.

Members were also presented with an overview of the first Chief Prevention Officer’s Annual Report on occupational health and safety in Ontario. They took an opportunity to discuss timelines related to preparing an annual report, and whether it would be an annualised process. A regularized reporting schedule whereby the CPO’s annual report would be tabled each fall, following the wrap up of the preceding fiscal year, was accepted as a goal for annual reports.

Action Item: Prevention Office to organize a teleconference in July 2013 in order to provide a summary of consultation submissions and findings, including an overview of common themes and areas where there are divergent issues.

8. Memorandum of understanding (MOU) – for review and approval

The Chair of the Prevention Council presented the MOU and corresponding schedules and appendices to the members. Members raised concerns related to political activity of members and any potential for conflict of interest. Members also discussed the distinction and separation of their participation in events as affiliates of organizations participating in political activities versus participation in events as members of the Prevention Council. Members indicated interest in additional guidance and information from the Prevention Office regarding this provision in the MOU.

Action Item: Members to provide feedback on the MOU to the Prevention Office by June 30, 2013. Following feedback from all members, Prevention Office to revise MOU and distribute to members prior to the July 2013 teleconference with Council Members. Prevention Office to prepare additional guidance and information for members regarding the conflict of interest provision.

9. Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) standard developments: July 1st announcement – for information

The Director, Training and Safety Programs Branch, MOL, provided members with an update about developments concerning the JHSC Certification Training Program Standard, including updates concerning discussions with labour and employer groups and the forthcoming release of the standard, which is currently anticipated for late summer of 2013.

10. Training and safety programs update – for information and discussion

The Director, Training and Safety Programs Branch, MOL, provided members with an update on the priority Expert Advisory Panel recommendations related to workplace safety training and the related key initiatives of the Training and Safety Programs Branch of the Prevention Office. This included updates about the Awareness Training Program, Training Standards and other strategic initiatives.

Action Item: Prevention Office to bring forward an agenda item as an update about the Mandatory Entry Level Training for Construction training standard for the July 2013 Prevention Council teleconference.

11. Program review update - for information and discussion

The Manager, OHS Safety Programs, MOL, provided members with an update on the draft Prevention Programming model and an outline of the options paper currently in development. Due to time constraints, members were asked to review the material and were invited to provide comments via email. It was discussed that an options paper will be brought forward to Prevention Council members for feedback at a later date.

12. Other business - for discussion

Members took the opportunity to request additional information (e.g., industrial OHS exemptions, definition of supervisor guidance material) and follow up about supporting outreach materials.