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Prevention Council Meeting: September 11, 2013

  • Issued: September 2013
  • Content last reviewed: January 2014

Prevention council members present:

  • Bryan Neath, United Food & Commercial Workers of Canada
  • Colin Grieve, Ontario Professional Firefighters Association
  • Graeme Norval, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto
  • Linda Vannucci, Health & Safety Legal Clinic
  • Nancy Hutchison, Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Mike Oxley, DuPont Canada Company
  • Patrick Dillon, Provincial Building & Construction Trades Council of Ontario
  • Roy Slack, Cementation Canada
  • Susanna Zagar, Workplace Safety & Insurance Board

Prevention council regrets:

  • Gloria Rajkumar, SIMAC


  • Cynthia Morton, Ministry of Labour
  • George Gritziotis, Ministry of Labour
  • John VanderDoelen, Ministry of Labour
  • Brian Lewis, Ministry of Labour
  • Cordelia Clarke Julien, Ministry of Labour
  • Ayumi Bailly, 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

1. Opening remarks

The new Director of the Stakeholder and Partner Relations Branch at the Prevention Office was introduced to members.

2. Meeting notes

The June 13, 2013 meeting notes were approved.

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

The Prevention Office provided members with an updated report regarding recent occupational health and safety (OHS) data. A goal going forward is to provide more up-to-date and more detailed data, which may be facilitated by the new information sharing agreement signed between the Prevention Office and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Prevention Council (PC) members reviewed the report, which included an overview of workplace and occupational disease fatalities, critical injuries and complaints reported to MOL, as well as injuries reported to WSIB. Further, members took the opportunity to explore the meaning behind trends in OHS complaints, where recent increases may be seen as an indicator of workplace parties’ increased awareness of workplace hazards, rights and responsibilities. In addition, members were also presented a summary of MOL enforcement data and training information from the health and safety associations.

Several members discussed additional ways of breaking down and analyzing the OHS data (e.g., by sector and type of injury), and were interested in examining injury rates vs. labour market fluctuations to determine whether there are any emerging trends. Members also discussed interest in looking at the influence of seasonal factors on fatalities and critical injuries. Moreover, members discussed the importance of detailed data to be scheduled on a semi-annual basis during PC meetings moving forward.

Council Members raised concerns regarding the recent number of fatalities, and recommended development of a public statement from the Minister and/or the CPO as soon as possible to communicate the urgency on this matter. The ministry’s Deputy Minister also joined the discussion and echoed the member’s concerns and the need to raise awareness through a public statement.

Action Item: Prevention Office to support the development of a public statement regarding recent workplace fatalities.

Action Item: Prevention Council members requested a notification when workplace fatalities occur.

It was noted that current information regarding reported workplace fatalities may be subject to change based on the development of the ministry’s investigation, nature of event, jurisdiction, other variables and verification thereof.

Action Item: Prevention Office to continue developing OHS data to be reported publicly in the Annual Report and to be shared with Prevention Council.

4. Integrated Occupational Health and Safety Strategy update – for discussion

Members were provided with an update on the OHS Annual Report and Ontario’s Integrated Occupational Health and Safety Strategy (IOHSS).

The Annual Report update confirmed the draft outline for the report and indicated that this was an OHS system-wide report. Discussion took place about the timelines for the release of the report, with fall 2013 being considered the appropriate timing from a best practices perspective.

The draft IOHSS framework was also discussed. Members were in support of the need to align IOHSS priorities with those identified in the Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) Report, and also indicated the need to look at opportunities beyond the EAP Report to help improve workplace health and safety in Ontario.

Members also discussed prioritizing system partner activities based on evidence from consultations, other jurisdictions and data. In addition, members were interested in further ministry work and reporting on occupational disease and hazardous substance exposures, as well as placing the appropriate amount of emphasis on occupational disease in the IOHSS framework.

Members were in agreement that one of the six IOHSS priorities proposed should be amended to be “Targeting the Highest Hazards that result in occupational injuries, illnesses or diseases.” Council Members engaged in discussions on what high hazards are, as well as best approaches for addressing those hazards. The Prevention Office also provided examples of work underway to address various workplace hazards. Members examined tools such as legislation and regulation, and noted value of enforcement and education as an appropriate approach of addressing some OHS issues.

Action Item: Prevention Office to share a jurisdictional scan of OHS strategies with PC Members.

5. Stakeholder engagement strategy development – for information and discussion

Members were provided with an overview of the June 25, 2013 external stakeholder consultation session on the development of a ministry-wide Stakeholder Engagement Strategy (SES). A follow-up session is planned for October 9, 2013, which will bring together labour, worker and employer stakeholders to further discuss enhanced stakeholder engagement. Members were interested in the nature of future engagement, and the need for alignment, and for continuing traditional ways of engaging stakeholders alongside new approaches.

Members were also provided with the presentation and a summary of stakeholder feedback from the June 25, 2013 consultation session. It was noted that members were in support of several approaches outlined, including increased use of web-based technologies (e.g., webinars), and enhanced involvement of stakeholders throughout the process of policy and program development.

6. Training and safety programs - for update

The Prevention Office provided an overview of various training and safety program initiatives underway. In addition to the existing workbooks for workers and supervisors, a number of supports will be made available for a mandatory awareness training regulation, including a corresponding mobile website and e-learning modules. Members were also thanked for their work in helping pilot the e-learning modules with their networks.

Action item:Prevention Office to provide members with supporting materials to prepare for an announcement regarding an awareness regulation.

Further, members were provided with an update on the formation of a new Mandatory Entry Level for Construction (MELC) development group, and were invited to submit nominations to the group if they have not yet had opportunity to do so.

Members were also briefed on plans to launch a fall 2013 consultation on the Working at Heights (WAH) Training Program Standard and the Training Provider (TP) Standard consultation. Consultations are planned for late October/early November 2013 and will include multiple streams of engagement such as leveraging existing HSA stakeholder networks, joint business/labour sessions, websites, etc.

Action item:Prevention Office to provide PC Members with an invitation to the JHSC Certification Training Provider Forum taking place on October 2, 2013, which will discuss new program administrative processes as a result of the transfer of the program from WSIB to MOL and provide highlights of the new JHSC training standard.

In addition, members were provided an update on the Prevention Program Review (PPR). Members were invited to provide feedback on a PPR framework paper that is being finalized in advance of the public posting. Moreover, members were updated that PPR consultations are currently targeted for November 2013.

Action item:Prevention Office to share PPR framework paper with PC members for review and feedback by September 30, 2013.

Action item:Prevention Office to arrange a teleconference with PC members in early/mid-October 2013 to discuss feedback regarding the PPR framework paper.

Action item:Prevention Office to provide members with information on the PPR consultation so that members can encourage participation through their networks.

7. Occupational Health and Safety Research Advisory Panel (OHSRAP) – for update

Members were provided with and update on the new interim OHS Research Advisory Panel (OHSRAP). OHSRAP membership had been finalized early in August 2013 with nine volunteers representing a broad range of perspectives. OHSRAP had met once mid-August with the initial focus being preparation for the upcoming call for research proposals, planned to be launched by the end of September 2013. Members took the opportunity to discuss the OHS research grant review and proposal recommendation process. This includes both an internal ministry review to determine which projects align with OHS system ministries’ strategic priorities, as well as independent review by third party experts to determine the scientific merit of the proposals.

8. Other business - for discussion

Members noted interest in opportunities to participate in variety of Ministry of Labour working engagement forums/opportunities.

Members were also provided with a brief update regarding the status of the employer representative member vacancy on Council.