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Message from the Chief Prevention Officer

  • Issued: December 16, 2013
  • Content last reviewed: December 2013

Since becoming Chief Prevention Officer, I have spent many hours listening to, and learning from, parents, workers, employers, health and safety practitioners, and industry and government leaders. I have heard about their beliefs, experiences and expectations for workplace health and safety in Ontario. The common message that comes out loud and clear is that workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses are unnecessary, unacceptable and preventable.

This inaugural province- wide strategy is our blueprint for realizing the vision of healthy and safe Ontario workplaces over the next five years. To realize that vision, the strategy establishes two goals for Ontario’s occupational health and safety system. It targets the areas of greatest need and enhances service delivery. It also sets strategic priorities to guide system partners, the workplace parties (employers, supervisors and workers) and all other relevant occupational health and safety organizations as they work together to achieve the goals.

The strategy builds on the recommendations of the 2010 report of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. We have been moving forward with implementing the panel’s 46 recommendations, including structural changes, mandatory safety training and improvements targeted at specific occupational health and safety issues. These recommendations provide a strong foundation for the implementation of the strategy.

Most importantly, the strategy recognizes that, to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses, all the players in the system need to urgently move forward with an unprecedented degree of determination. The strategy will be the basis for the system partners to work in an integrated and collaborative fashion. It will guide the planning, coordination and delivery of integrated activities, programs and services over the next five years to achieve common goals. In an environment where the workforce and workplaces will continue to change, this strategy will guide us in addressing the areas of greatest need in a flexible and adaptable manner.

This first-of-its-kind province-wide strategy is an important step forward in transforming the diverse occupational health and safety institutions into a cohesive, integrated system focused on clearly articulated goals and priorities, and driven by evidence of impact where possible. It is essential to emphasize that this is not just the Ministry of Labour’s strategy. It is a strategy for all organizations involved in occupational health and safety, including those providing enforcement, training, awareness, advisory, insurance, clinical, outreach and research services. Leadership at all levels will be fundamental to achieving this vision. We are all in this together.

The development of a provincial strategy is a significant accomplishment for the ministry and the system. It reflects ongoing advice from the Prevention Council, as well as extensive consultation with our partners, worker and employer representatives, individual members of the public and community organizations.

This strategy fulfils my obligation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Section 22.3(3) to develop a provincial occupational health and safety strategy. However, our intent is not only to meet the legislative requirement, it is to bring together the expertise, knowledge and passion of the system to prevent workplace illnesses and injuries in Ontario. We will be reviewing our progress and strategic priorities in forthcoming annual reports on the system, as recommended in the panel’s report and reflected in legislation.

I want to thank everyone for their contributions to this strategy and ask for their continued engagement in implementing initiatives to achieve the vision of healthy and safe Ontario workplaces.

George Gritziotis
Chief Prevention Officer,
Ontario Ministry of Labour

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