5 Topics Your Supervisors Must Be Trained on in Ontario

Anyone who has ever had a supervisor knows how big an impact that person has on the workplace. Employee satisfaction, productivity, and safety all hinge on having competent supervisors. One study showed that a supervisor’s technical competence is the single strongest predictor of a worker’s wellbeing!

So, how do you ensure your supervisors are competent? Train them!

Certain training is legally required in Ontario. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers must appoint a competent person as a supervisor. Having competent supervisors is great for business, and employers that define and manage competencies send a powerful message regarding the importance of knowledge, skill, ability and the desire to perform.  In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Who is considered a supervisor by the Ministry of Labour
  • The 5 topics every supervisor needs to be trained on
  • What training only some of your supervisors need

Who is a supervisor?

A supervisor is a person appointed by an employer, who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker. A supervisor can be called a manager, team lead, director and so on. They may not have an official supervisory title, but if they have authority over a worker or workplace, they are considered a supervisor. For more about the definition of a supervisor, check out the Ministry of Labour’s guide to “Who is a Supervisor?”.

Required Training For All Supervisors

1. Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness Training

Recognizing the huge role supervisors play in preventing injuries and death, the Ontario government made supervisor-specific health and safety awareness training mandatory for all supervisors in Ontario. This course ensures supervisors understand their safety responsibilities. It also informs them of the rights of workers so they don’t violate their worker’s rights. 

Learn more about Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness Training


WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) training is mandatory for Canadian supervisors who work with or are exposed to hazardous substances. The term hazardous substances might make you think that only supervisors of chemical treatment plants need this training. But, even basic household cleaners that you would find in a typical office can contain hazardous substances. So, all supervisors (and workers) will need this training. 

Learn more about WHMIS Training 


In 2005, the Ontario government passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). This legislation made AODA training mandatory for all supervisors and workers in Ontario. Supervisors need to take AODA training so they understand their legal obligation to accommodate workers and customers with disabilities. 

Learn more about AODA Training

4. Workplace Violence and Harassment

Workplace harassment affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men. In Ontario, it’s the employer’s responsibility to develop and implement a workplace violence and harassment policy and program. Employers need to provide training to supervisors on the contents of the policy and program, especially on how to follow up on incidents and complaints. 

It’s important for supervisors to understand their organization’s workplace violence and harassment program; in many cases, they will be the individuals receiving reports or allegations of violence and harassment. They need to know what is unacceptable and what to do if an incident is reported to them. 

Employers or supervisors may be held liable under Ontario’s human rights system if harassment occurs in the workplace. They may also be liable for failing to take proper steps to prevent harassment, such as providing training.

Learn more about Workplace Violence and Harassment Training 

5. Job-Specific Training

Employers have a legal obligation to make sure that their supervisors are competent. Supervisors must be able to identify hazards and provide workers with instructions on how to work safely. If your supervisors don’t know how to work safely, how can they instruct their workers? 

If they supervise work being done using forklifts, they should be certified forklift operators. If they supervise workers who interact with customers, they must understand how to provide excellent customer service. Job-specific training can be provided formally through online or in-class training. Training may be informal and on-the-job. It will likely be a combination of both. 

Required Training for Some Supervisors

JHSC Training 

Workplaces with more than 20 workers are required to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC). The committee needs to have at least one worker and one individual representing the employer who is certified. This may include a supervisor. Regardless, JHSC Certification Training is a great way for supervisors to meet competency requirements. JHSC Certification Training is more in-depth than the basic health and safety training that all supervisors must complete.

Learn more about JHSC Training

First Aid Training

Employers covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act must have at least one employee on-site at all times that has a valid first aid certification. This employee does not necessarily have to be a supervisor. 

Learn more about First Aid Training

Improve Worker Wellbeing by Training Your Supervisors

Corporations can face fines of up to $1.5 million if a worker is injured or killed as a result of them not taking every precaution reasonable to protect their workers. So, if you want to operate in accordance with workplace laws, train your supervisors on the required courses covered in this article. But don’t just do it to follow the law, do it to keep everyone safe and well. After all, supervisor competence is the largest factor in a worker’s wellbeing. 

Download the Supervisor Training Checklist

Download our checklist so you know if your supervisors have completed all of the mandatory training.