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A Snapshot of Occupational Health and Safety in Ontario

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

2.1 Employment in Ontario

The share of Ontario employed workers engaged in nonstandard work, including temporary work, increased to 26.6 percent in 2015 from 23.1 percent in 1997. The average annual growth rate of nonstandard work over the period was 2.3 percent, nearly double the 1.2 percent rate of growth in standard work.[1][2]

From 2006 to 2015 health care and social assistance had the largest growth in employment (28.5 percent), while manufacturing saw the largest decrease (25.3 percent).[3]

  • 6.92 million employed workers in Ontario (6.35 million employed in workplaces under provincial jurisdiction).
  • 45,300 new jobs (up 0.7% from 2014).
  • Ontario accounted for 31.4 percent of Canada's net job growth.

Ontario Employment by Age 2015

  • 13.5% - Workers aged 15 to 24 (down from 14.9 percent in 2006).
  • 66.1% - Workers aged 25 to 54 (down from 70.7 in 2006).
  • 16.1% - Workers aged 55 to 64 (up from 12.3 percent in 2006).
  • 4.3% - Workers aged 65 and older (up from 2.0 percent in 2006).

Sources: Ministry of Finance, Office of Economic Policy, 2016, and CANSIM table 282-0008.

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

Ontario Employment by Sector under Provincial Jurisdiction 2015

  • 24% - Education
  • 16% - Trade
  • 13% - Other services
  • 12% - Manufacturing
  • 9% - Professional services
  • 8% - Construction
  • 8% - Health care and social assistance
  • 5% - Financial services
  • 3% - Public administration
  • 2% - Agriculture, mining, utilities and other primary industries

Source: Ministry of Labour, based on Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.

Note: Percentages rounded to nearest whole number.

2.2 Occupational Injuries, Illnesses and Fatalities

As part of its effort to improve workplace health and safety, Ontario collects and analyzes data on occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

In 2015:

  • Ontario had fewer occupational injury and illness claims.
  • Ontario had fewer critical injury events.
  • Ontario had fewer workplace fatalities.
  • 68 percent of allowed fatality claims were for fatalities from occupational diseases.
  • While the number of traumatic fatalities decreased, there was an increase in fatalities related to occupational diseases.

Occupational Injuries and Illnesses in 2015

  • 51,570 lost-time injury claims [4]
  • 122,133 no lost-time injury claims [5]
  • 476 claims per day
  • 873 critical injury events reported to the Ministry of Labour (or 13.75 for every 100,000 workers) [6]

Occupational Fatalities in 2015

  • 226 workplace-related fatalities.
  • 72 traumatic fatalities [7]
  • 154 occupational disease fatalities [8]

Decreases in Injury Rates, Injury Events, Claims and Fatalities

  Percentage Decrease Since 2006 [*] Percentage Decrease Since 2012 [**] Percentage Decrease Since 2014
Lost-time Injury Claims 5.1% 2.7% 3.9%
Lost-time Injury Rate
(Schedule 1 Employers)
(per hundred thousand workers)
6.8% 5.4% 7.6%
Lost-time Injury Rate
(Schedule 2 Employers)
(per hundred thousand workers)
3.8% 1.3% 5.3%
No Lost-time Claims 3.8% 1.3% 2.7%
No Lost-time Injury Rate
(Schedule 1 Employers)
(per hundred thousand workers)
5.0% 3.4% 5.2%
No Lost-time Injury Rate
(Schedule 2 Employers)
(per hundred thousand workers)
3.6% 2.0% 5.9%
Critical Injury Events Reported to the Ministry 2.4% 11.7% 20.3%
Critical Injury Rate
(per hundred thousand workers)
3.2% 12.5% 21.0%
Total Workplace Fatalities (including traumatic and occupational disease fatalities) 0.8% 3.6% 3.0%
Traumatic Fatalities 2.5% 15.8% 11.1%
Traumatic Fatality Rate
(per one million workers)
3.3% 16.6% 11.9%

[*][**] Average annual rate of change.

Sources:

  1. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board By the Numbers 2015, Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.
  2. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Day of Mourning Fatalities Report: 2006 to 2015.
  3. Ministry of Labour Data Systems 2006 to 2015.

Notes:

  1. The occupational injury and illness claims described in this chart represent occupational injury/illness claims (Schedule 1 and 2 employers) that have been allowed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
  2. Rates are calculated by the Ministry of Labour based on claims divided by the number of workers under provincial jurisdiction.

Increases in the Average Annual Rates of Change for Occupational Disease Fatality Claims and Rates

  Percentage Increase Since 2006 [+] Percentage Increase Since 2012 [++] Percentage Increase Since 2014
Occupational Disease Fatality Claims 1.1% 4.6% 1.3%
Occupational Disease Fatality Rate
(per one million workers)
0.3% 3.6% 0.4%

[+][++] Average annual rate of change.

Sources:

  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board By the Numbers 2015, Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Day of Mourning Fatalities Report: 2006 to 2015.
  • Ministry of Labour Data Systems 2006 to 2015.

Notes:

  • The occupational injury and illness claims described in this chart represent occupational injury/illness claims (Schedule 1 and 2 employers) that have been allowed by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
  • Rates are calculated by the Ministry of Labour based on claims divided by the number of workers under provincial jurisdiction.

2.3 Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety System

Ontario’s workers and employers require a robust system to support them in creating healthy and safe workplaces. Ontario’s occupational health and safety system consists of a network of key partners – each with a unique role. The partners work together to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities with support from other important players in the occupational health and safety system including:

  • A multi-stakeholder Prevention Council that advises the Minister of Labour and the Chief Prevention Officer on system planning and initiatives.
  • Section 21 Committees that advise the Minister of Labour on occupational health and safety matters.
  • Private health and safety trainers and consultants.
  • Four specialized occupational health and safety research centres.
  • The Offices of the Worker Adviser and the Employer Adviser.
  • Health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees in workplaces.
  • Unions, worker and employer organizations and associations.

In 2015-16, the network continued its collaborative work in fostering a culture of occupational health and safety in more workplaces.

The integrated strategy focuses on collaboration and the need for the occupational health and safety system to engage new partner organizations. By expanding partnerships – such as those with universities and colleges, non-profit organizations, First Nations, community organizations, other ministries and levels of government, occupational health and safety training programs – the system’s services and messages can reach a broader audience and increase awareness of the importance of workplace health and safety.

Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety System

Infrastructure Health & Safety Association

Serving sectors:

  • Construction
  • Electrical
  • Utilities
  • Aggregates
  • Transportation
  • Ready-mix concrete
  • Natural gas

Ministry of Labour

Responsibilities:

  • Legislation
  • Regulations
  • Enforcement
  • Prevention

Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers

Provides workers with work-related health conditions:

  • Medical diagnotics
  • Preventive information and services

Public Services Health & Safety Association

Serving sectors:

  • Health and community care
  • Education and culture
  • Municipal/provincial government
  • Public safety

Workers Health & Safety Centre

Provides training in all sectors to:

  • Workers
  • Joint Health and Safety Committee Members
  • Supervisors
  • Employers

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services

Serving sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Industrial
  • Manufacturing
  • Service

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Responsibilities:

  • Compensation
  • Return-to-work support
  • Enforcement
  • Funds health and safety system
  • Promote health and safety

Workplace Safety North

Serving sectors:

  • Forestry
  • Mining
  • Pulp and paper
  • Printing

Other Partners

Including:

  • Research centres
  • Private health and safety consultants
  • Section 21 committees

Members of the Prevention Council

Labour representatives:

  • Patrick Dillon, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
  • Nancy Hutchison, United Steelworkers
  • Derek Johnstone, United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada
  • Colin Grieve, Hamilton and Ontario Professional Firefighters

Non-union worker representative:

  • Linda Vannucci, Toronto Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic

Employer representatives

  • Michael Oxley, DuPont Canada (vacated the Prevention Council position in 2016)
  • Dawn Tattle, Anchor Shoring and Caissons Ltd.
  • Roy Slack, Cementation Canada Inc. (vacated the Prevention Council position in 2015)
  • Camille Quenneville, Canadian Mental Health Association, Ontario Division

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Representative:

  • Susanna Zagar

Occupational health and safety expert:

  • Graeme Norval, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Toronto

2.4 Training, Clinical Services, Enforcement and Prosecution

To protect workers and make workplaces healthier and safer, the occupational health and safety system and its partners are working to train more workplace parties and provide clinical services for workers who have been injured or become ill. The Ministry of Labour enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

Training and Clinical Services in 2015-16

  • Health and Safety Associations provided 34,006 training sessions (up 1.7 percent from 2014).
  • 1,058 workers received clinical services (up 3.9 percent since 2014).
  • 25,363 Joint Health and Safety Part 1 learner records were processed (up 18.4 percent since 2014).
  • 17,209 Joint Health and Safety Part 2 learner records were processed (up 21.4 percent since 2014).

Source: Ministry of Labour. Health and Safety Association Year-end Reports.

Enforcement and Prosecutions in 2015-16

  • 74,795 field visits (up 5.9 percent from 2014).
  • 34,284 workplaces (up 5.0 percent from 2014).
  • 127,088 orders for non-compliance (down 3.1 percent from 2014).
  • The ministry responded to 13,674 health and safety complaints (up 17.2 percent from 2014).
  • 1,045 convictions (up 27.9 percent from 2014).
  • $9.6 million laid in fines (up 3.1 percent from 2014).

Source: Ministry of Labour Data Systems. Accessed September 2016.

Notes:

  • Prosecution statistics are based on fiscal year 2015-2016 and include convictions relating to Part III, Part I Summons and Part I Contested Tickets prosecutions.
  • Fine amounts do not include the victim fine surcharge of 25 per cent.
  • Prosecution statistics may be subject to minor variation following disposition of outstanding appeals.

Private Health and Safety Training Providers

Private health and safety training providers play an important role in occupational health and safety. They deliver mandatory training to many businesses across Ontario – particularly the growing number of small businesses. In 2015-16, private training providers trained over 43 percent of the workers who completed the approved Working at Heights training program.[9]

2.5 Online Workplace Supports

Over the past year, the occupational health and safety system continued to increase the use of online platforms to provide occupational health and safety resources to workplace parties. Online resources allow the system to reach more workers and employers, and they give workplaces fast convenient access to up-to-date health and safety information.

Website Traffic

  Health and Safety Associations Ministry of Labour Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
Unique Website Visits 779,316 2,326,033 1,397,810
Product Downloads 1,090,453 90,041 36,760

Source: Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Health and Safety Associations Analytical Reports, 2015-16.

2.6 Research and Innovation

As the economy grows and shifts, new challenges emerge and the occupational health and safety system needs new solutions to improve worker health and safety. Research and innovation are critical to helping the system find those solutions.

To encourage research and innovation, the ministry funds specialized research centres: the Institute for Work and Health, the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease, the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders and the Occupational Cancer Research Centre. These centres conduct strategy-driven research to enhance occupational health and safety initiatives. Their expertise, research findings and partnerships are helping to develop cutting edge knowledge and approaches to Ontario’s most pressing occupational health and safety issues.

The system also invests in the Research Opportunities Program, which funds research and knowledge dissemination projects that focus on occupational health and safety system priorities, and the Occupational Health and Safety Prevention and Innovation Program, which supports workplace-focused innovation projects and collaborative partnerships that lead to improvements in occupational health and safety in Ontario.

In 2015-16:

  • 13 research projects were funded to inform prevention efforts, including research on occupational disease exposures, the effectiveness of the Internal Responsibility System, supports for vulnerable workers and other areas of concern.[10]
  • 15 innovation projects were funded to provide dedicated support in areas of greatest need, including public safety events that foster a culture of occupational health and safety in different communities – such as a youth-focused radio series broadcast in Toronto’s Regent Park and a health and safety initiative with the six member First Nations communities in the Robinson Superior Treaty area – and customized initiatives to meet the needs of particular industries or worker groups.[11]

Early outputs from the 2015-16 programs include:

  • Close to 1000 teachers and principals provided with occupational health and safety supports for youth.
  • Youth-focused campaigns in hard-to-reach neighborhoods.
  • A culture of occupational health and safety in indigenous communities in the Robinson Superior Treaty area.
  • More support for families affected by a workplace tragedy.

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[1] Ministry of Finance. Office of Economic Policy. Ontario Job Performance 2015. Unpublished internal document, 2016.

[2] [3] Statistics Canada. Table 282-008 - Labour force survey estimates (LFS), by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), sex and age group, annual (persons unless otherwise noted). CANSIM (database). Accessed January 2016.

[4] [5] Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. By the Numbers: 2015 Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Statistical Report, Schedules 1 and 2. Accessed June 2016.

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

[7] Traumatic fatalities are based on combined Ministry of Labour and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board reported traumatic fatalities. Source: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Day of Mourning Fatalities Report: 2006 to 2015. Toronto: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, 2016.

[8] Occupational disease fatalities are based on Workplace Safety and Insurance Board allowed fatality claims (Year of death). Source: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Day of Mourning Fatalities Report: 2006 to 2015. Toronto: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, 2016.

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

[10] Ministry of Labour Research Opportunities internal records, provided September 2016.

[11] Ministry of Labour Occupational Health and Safety Prevention and Innovation internal records, provided September 2016.