Following the recommendations of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health & Safety published in December 2010, sometimes referred to a ‘The Tony Dean Report, Bill 160, Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011 was drafted to address those recommendations.
Lively debate occurred during the first and second readings but the draft Bill was passed by a total of 73 to 6 votes. The Standing Committee will meet to consider Bill 160 which they describe as “ An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with respect to occupational health and safety and other matters.” The Committee will hold public hearings in Toronto commencing on Monday April 11, 2011.
As drafted this new law will remove responsibility for workplace safety from the WSIB and place it in the Ministry of Labour. It will also change the rules regarding how those responsible for Health & Safety in Ontario are trained:
- Workplaces with 20 employees or more are already required to have two employees trained, one representing the workers the other the employer. A newer, more extensive training program is proposed.
- Employers with 6-19 employees will be required to appoint a Health & Safety Representative who will also require formal training.
- This training can only be conducted by an ‘Approved Provider’. Although there is no information on how this approval is to be obtained, OSG has been an approved provider under the existing regulations for 10 years. 16,000 of our trainees have passed the test set and adjudicated by the WSIB to qualify them to be members of their employers Joint Health & Safety Committee.
What would be our advice?
A transition period is defined in Bill 160 whereby anyone trained before the revised Act comes into force will be deemed certified under this section – in other words grandfathered. This change to the Act will generate huge demands on all approved training providers. In the past employers were given only 12 months before they are must comply to new regulations. It would seem wise to train employees before Bill 160 passes. All approved providers will find it difficult to meet the expected demand. We will struggle also, but as the preferred provider of JHSC training in Ontario, OSG is just finalizing the strategy to respond to this with the efficiency and availability that our clients have come to expect. If you have any questions or concerns regarding Bill 160, please do not hesitate to contact Todd Bond, Chief Operating Officer at 1.800.815.9980 ext. 228 or at firstname.lastname@example.org