Ontario Appoints First Chief Prevention Officer
In December 2010, an Expert Panel on Occupational Health and Safety released its final report after a comprehensive review of Ontario's workplace health and safety system.
On June 1, 2011, Bill 160, the Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011, received Royal Assent, establishing the legislative framework enabling the Ministry of Labour to implement many of the report's key recommendations.
One of the key priorities was to appoint a Chief Prevention Officer (CPO).
Chief Prevention Officer
The CPO is responsible for establishing a provincial occupational health and safety strategy. The CPO is required to provide an annual report on the performance of Ontario's occupational health and safety system to the Minister of Labour. The CPO is responsible for overseeing that prevention activities are aligned across all workplace health and safety system partners.
The CPO provides advice on the prevention of occupational injuries and illnesses, and on any proposed changes for the funding and delivery of prevention services. The CPO has the authority to set standards to enhance health and safety training. He is also responsible for working with Ontario's Health and Safety Associations to establish effective delivery of prevention programs and services, and to monitor their compliance with standards set by the minister.
Expert Advisory Panel
In January 2010, Tony Dean was appointed as chair of the expert advisory panel to lead a review of Ontario's occupational health and safety enforcement and prevention system. The panel included three members each from labour, employers and academia.
The panel's consensus report - released in December 2010 - highlighted the need for:
- enhanced training, including mandatory basic awareness training requirements for workers and frontline supervisors, training for high-hazard work, as well as training for health and safety representatives
- greater access to health and safety resources and support
- improved protections for workers against employer reprisals for raising health and safety concerns
- a new Occupational Health and Safety system structure to create more effective prevention programs that are aligned with enforcement efforts.
Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011
The panel recommendations led to the most significant changes to Ontario's workplace health and safety prevention system in 30 years. A series of new amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 allows government to:
- appoint a new CPO to coordinate and align the prevention system
- establish the Ministry of Labour as the lead for injury and illness prevention, transferring it from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
- create a new prevention council, with representatives from labour, employers and safety experts, to advise the CPO and the Minister of Labour
- give the minister oversight of the province's Health and Safety Associations, as well as the education, training and promotion of workplace safety
Ontario's Health and Safety System Partners
Ontario's occupational health and safety system is composed of the Ministry of Labour, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and six Health and Safety Associations.
- Workplace Safety & Prevention Services; Infrastructure Health & Safety Association; Public Services Health & Safety Association, and Workplace Safety North all offer sector-specific support to employers.
- Workers Health & Safety Centre is a designated occupational health and safety training centre for workplaces in Ontario.
- Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers provides comprehensive occupational health services and information.
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