"Training Day": The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation 

publication 

November 2013

Employment and Labour Bulletin
Dave J.G. McKechnie, Ciaron Burke, Student at Law

On July 1, 2014, the Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation1 ("Regulation"), will come into force. Pursuant to the Ontario Occupation Health and Safety Act2 (the "Act"), the Regulation will require that every worker and supervisor covered by the Act be provided with health and safety awareness training.

Mandatory Training

The Regulation will require employers to ensure that every worker and supervisor, as defined by the Act, complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program. Workers must complete the training program as soon as practicable, whereas supervisors are required to complete the training program within one week of performing work as a supervisor.

It is important for employers to keep in mind that under the Act, "supervisor" is defined as someone who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker. This definition has been broadly interpreted to include positions like lead hands, who typically do not have any authority to discipline or set the terms and conditions of employment for employees.3

Worker Training Requirements

The Regulation mandates that the worker training program include instruction on:

  • the duties and rights of workers under the Act;

  • the duties of employers and supervisors under the Act;

  • the roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act;

  • the roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and entities designated by section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupation health and safety;

  • common workplace hazards;

  • the requirements outlined in the Regulation 860 (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System Regulation)4 with respect to information and instruction on controlled products; and

  • occupational illness, including latency.5

Supervisor Training Requirements

The Regulation mandates that the supervisor training program include instruction on:

  • the duties and rights of workers under the Act;

  • the duties of employers and supervisors under the Act;

  • the roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the Act;

  • the roles of the Ministry, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and entities designated by section 22.5 of the Act with respect to occupational health and safety;

  • how to recognize, assess and control workplace hazards, and evaluate those controls; and

  • sources of information on occupational health and safety.6

Implications for Employers

This Regulation places an additional onus on employers to ensure that its workers and supervisors receive a minimum standard of occupational health and safety training. Employers should be cognizant of this Regulation and prepare appropriate training programs and schedules to ensure compliance.

1 O Reg 297/13.

2 RSO 1990, c O.1.

3 See R v Walters [2004] O.J. No. 5032 (S.C.J.)

4 RRO 1990, Reg 860.

5 Supra note 1, s. 1(3).

6 Ibid, s. 2(3).
 
a cautionary note

The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.

© McMillan LLP 2013