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House Statement
By the Honourable Yasir Naqvi
Minister of Labour
On the 34th Anniversary of Proclamation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario

  • Issued: October 1, 2013
  • Content last reviewed: October 2013

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Speaker, I rise in the Legislature today to recognize October 1st as the 34th anniversary of the proclamation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1979.

This single piece of legislation changed the way workplaces manage health and safety.

The act extended three key rights to the vast majority of Ontario workers:

  • the right to know about workplace hazards
  • the right to participate in matters affecting their health and safety, and
  • the right to refuse unsafe work.

Everybody became accountable for workplace health and safety.

On this occasion, it is important to recognize and re-affirm that, in all workplaces across Ontario, people are our greatest asset – they must be properly trained and we must strengthen our efforts to protect workers and their families.

We must do whatever it takes to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses and support their families and loved ones.

We are making progress in our quest to make workplaces safer, working together with everyone who shares this goal.

Workplace injuries have been decreasing.

On construction sites, and in businesses, hospitals and schools, health and safety advocates are making workplaces safer.

Since 2003 we have significantly lowered the rate of workplace injury in this province.

The number of injuries in Ontario has gone down 30 per cent.

Ontario is now one of the safest places to work in Canada.

But we must do more.

Our government has taken significant steps to reduce and eliminate workplace injuries.

We are taking a strong proactive approach to workplace health and safety.

We have increased the number of enforcement officers to make sure employers follow the rules.

We’ve brought enforcement and prevention together under the purview of our new chief prevention officer — helping to make sure that injuries do not happen in the first place.

And we will soon launch the first ever province-wide occupational safety strategy — developed with advice from labour, employers, injured workers and community groups, to establish clear priorities and rules that will guide our work in the years ahead.

Together, as a society, all of us must work to build a strong safety culture, a culture of prevention, in our province’s workplaces.

Together we can prevent workplace deaths and injuries.

As Minister of Labour, I am committed to ensuring this goal becomes a reality, for everyone.

Thank you, Speaker.