• Issued: April 11, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: July 2014

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.

In 2010, the Minister of Labour appointed an Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety, chaired by Tony Dean, to conduct a review of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system. The Panel was asked to recommend structural, operational and policy improvements. Panel members included health and safety experts representing labour, employers and academics.

The establishment of mandatory requirements for basic occupational health and safety training programs for workers and supervisors fulfils two key recommendations of the Panel.

The regulatory requirements apply to all workplaces covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), regardless of sector. All employers must ensure workers and supervisors complete, or have completed, an awareness training program that meets the regulatory requirements. This is mandatory whether they work on a construction project, in a retail store or factory, hospital or long-term care facility, mine or mining plant, or farming operation, etc.

These awareness training programs will increase workers’ and supervisors’ knowledge of basic rights and responsibilities under the OHSA and heighten awareness of basic workplace health and safety issues. They will support the Internal Responsibility System, which is based on the principle that workplace parties themselves are in the best position to identify health and safety problems and develop solutions. Employers, supervisors and workers share in the responsibility for occupational health and safety – and their roles and responsibilities are an important component of these awareness training programs.

Basic awareness training also supports the health and safety of vulnerable workers – those who are considered to have “greater exposure than most workers to conditions hazardous to health or safety and who lack the power to alter those conditions”. This can include:

  • young workers
  • recent immigrants
  • older workers
  • workers new to their jobs or in new firms

However, the awareness training does not, in any way, replace other specific workplace health and safety training required under the OHSA and its regulations.

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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.