OHS Canada Magazine

Ontario pumping $12.5 million into health and safety associations, updating working at heights standards

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May 18, 2023
By OHS Canada

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Ontario is providing an additional $12.5 million in funding to Ontario’s six health and safety associations.

The investment will support organizations like Workplace Safety North, which helped rescue 39 miners trapped underground in Sudbury in September 2021, and strengthen worker safety in critical industries from manufacturing to forestry, it said in a press release.

“Every worker in Ontario deserves to come home safely to their family at the end of their shift,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “In addition to recently introducing legislation to raise fines for occupational health and safety violations to the highest level in the country, our government will continue to invest in education, prevention and enforcement to ensure every worker in Ontario has the protections they deserve.”

Working at heights update

Ontario is also updating standards for mandatory working at heights training to address one of the leading causes of workplace deaths in industries like construction. These updates will help improve the quality of training and safety knowledge of participants when working in various settings including with ladders, skylights and damaged equipment. Over one million workers have completed this training since it began in 2015.

These changes follow the ground-breaking protections introduced by the government in the Working for Workers Act, 2023, which proposes new health and safety protections for workers, including fines for withholding passports, better protections for remote workers during mass terminations and cleaner and women’s-only washrooms on construction sites.


The six associations

The health and safety associations are independent, not-for-profit corporations that deliver workplace health and safety programs on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. They include:

  • Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA)
  • Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA)
  • Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)
  • Workplace Safety North (WSN)
  • Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
  • Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC)

Together, the health and safety associations delivered more than 64,000 training sessions last year. More than one million workers have successfully completed standardized working at heights training since the program’s inception, the province said.

Working at heights training providers have until April 1, 2024, to update their programs and ensure they fulfill the requirements of the revised working at heights training program and training provider standards, it said.


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