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Stronger Protection For Workers

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Stronger Protection For Workers

McGuinty Government Updating Hazardous Chemical Substance Regulations

Ontario is strengthening worker protection by updating occupational exposure limits (OELS) for 36 hazardous chemical substances such as polyvinyl chloride and ethanol.

OELs restrict workers' exposure to hazardous biological and chemical substances on the job such as those used in manufacturing and repair operations.

The changes follow consultations in 2008 and 2009 with stakeholders, including with employer and worker groups. The Ministry of Labour is committed to reviewing and updating OELs on a regular basis.

In addition, the government is consolidating 11 designated substance regulations into one regulation while maintaining worker protections for exposure to these substances. The consolidation will make it easier for employers to access and comply with the regulations.

All of the changes will take effect on July 1, 2010.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario currently has OELs for more than 725 hazardous biological and chemical substances.
  • In 2004 the McGuinty government began annual reviews of Ontario's OELs. Under this review, more than 170 limits have been updated.
  • OELs were first adopted into regulation in Ontario in the 1980's.
  • Current limits are primarily based on standards recommended by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Our government is committed to preventing occupational disease by protecting workers from exposure to hazardous substances. These new and revised exposure limits for chemicals in the workplace will help improve these protections. The new consolidated regulation will also be easier to understand. This will enable employers to comply more readily.”

Peter Fonseca

Minister of Labour

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