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Introduction: Building on a Strong Foundation

  • Issued: March 2017
  • Content last reviewed: March 2017

In 2011, Ontario embarked on a transformation of the occupational health and safety system. Since then, the system has taken targeted steps to improve workplace health and safety, including:

  • developing an integrated strategy to guide the system’s work
  • fostering a broader and more collaborative network of partners and projects
  • establishing mandatory training standards
  • developing new regulations and amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • making health and safety knowledge more available
  • providing more innovative supports for workplace parties.

In 2015-16, the occupational health and safety system built on that solid foundation. It continued to focus on the goals and priorities of the integrated strategy, Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces: A Strategy for Transforming Occupational Health and Safety, targeting the areas of greatest need – such as vulnerable workers, small businesses and high hazards – and enhancing service delivery.

At the same time, the system responded to challenges of increasing importance, such as workplace harassment, violence in the health care sector and post-traumatic stress disorder among Ontario’s first responders.

Key Accomplishments

In 2015-16, Ontario’s occupational health and safety system:

  • Trained over 106,000 workers to work safely at heights based on the new Working at Heights training program standard.[1]
  • Opened a new Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers in eastern Ontario to improve access to occupational health and safety services.
  • Began implementing the Construction Health and Safety Action Plan and developed amendments to key regulations to strengthen injury and illness prevention in the construction sector.
  • Introduced the Supporting Ontario's First Responders Act (Bill 163) and implemented a prevention strategy to recognize the importance of psychological health in the workplace and make it easier for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder to get Workplace Safety and Insurance Board workers’ compensation benefits and other support.
  • Developed an all-sector noise regulation, made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to protect Ontario’s workers from noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Created the Health and Safety Checklist to help businesses – particularly small businesses – assess their compliance with health and safety requirements and make improvements.
  • Developed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 132), establishing the legislative framework requiring employers to address workplace harassment.
  • Conducted 74,795 field visits to 34,284 workplaces and issued 127,088 orders to improve compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.[2]
  • Established a Health Care Leadership Table to develop practices to address workplace violence in the health care sector and protect health care workers on the job.
  • Established new standards to improve the quality and consistency of training for Joint Health and Safety Committee members and strengthen workplace Internal Responsibility Systems.
  • Implemented key recommendations of the 2015 Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review, including launching an Internal Responsibility System Climate Assessment and Audit Tool (IRS CAAT) to help employers identify and control workplace hazards in the mining sector.

Vision: Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces

Goal: Target the Areas of Greatest Need


  • Assist the most vulnerable workers
  • Support occupational health and safety improvements in small business
  • Address the highest hazards that result in workplace injuries, illnesses or fatalities

Goal: Enhance Service Delivery


  • Integrate service delivery and planning
  • Build collaborative partnerships
  • Promote a culture of health and safety


Legislation and Regulation, Enforcement and Monitoring, Education and Training Advisory Services Programs and Motivators, Awareness, Research and Data Management


Occupational Health and Safety in all Workplaces (workers and employers)

About this Report

This report highlights 2015-16 activities that support the goals of the integrated strategy. It incorporates all available performance data to measure progress in achieving the vision of healthy and safe workplaces. For the first time, this annual report includes statistics for both proactive and reactive enforcement initiatives. See Appendix A for statistical charts. See Appendix B for a glossary of terms.

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[1] Ministry of Labour Working at Heights database. Accessed September 2016.

[2] Ministry of Labour Data Systems. Accessed September 2016.