• Revised: March 20, 2015
  • Content last reviewed: March 2015
  • Also available in Spanish [PDF, 729 Kb / 82 pages ]

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.


We all share the goal of making Ontario's workplaces safe and healthy.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act[ 1 ] provides us with the legal framework and the tools to achieve this goal. It sets out the rights and duties of all parties in the workplace. It establishes procedures for dealing with workplace hazards and it provides for enforcement of the law where compliance has not been achieved voluntarily by workplace parties.

The Act came into force in 1979. Changes to the Act in 1990 and subsequent years continued the evolution of occupational health and safety legislation since its original enactment. These changes have strengthened the requirements for occupational health and safety in Ontario workplaces and have reinforced the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) and the workplace structures, in particular the joint health and safety committees.

Employers should note that the Act makes it clear that the employers have the greatest responsibilities with respect to health and safety in the workplace. However all workplace parties have a role to play to ensure that health and safety requirements are met in the workplace. All workplace parties have a responsibility for promoting health and safety in the workplace and a role to play to help the workplace be in compliance with the statutory requirements set out under the Act. The respective roles and responsibilities for all workplace parties are detailed in the Act. This is the basis for the Internal Responsibility System.

Every improvement in occupational health and safety benefits all of us. Through cooperation and commitment, we can make Ontario a safer and healthier place in which to work.

It's worth working for.

[ 1 ]The Occupational Health and Safety Act is amended from time to time. A current version is available on e-Laws website.

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ISBN 978-1-4606-5308-1 (HTML)
ISBN 978-1-4606-5307-4 (Print)

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.