Ontario announces workplace health and safety campaigns for 2024-2025

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Prepare for upcoming Ministry inspection initiatives

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (Ministry) has revealed its plan for workplace safety campaigns in 2024-2025. These initiatives include inspections that aim to improve safety and reduce hazards in various industries across the province.

Cindy Schiewek, the Director of Health and Safety Services at Workplace Safety North (WSN), highlighted joint webinars with the Ministry as a crucial part of the initiative. 

Webinars to help Ontario forest products and mining companies prepare for inspections

“We’re offering webinars to help businesses prepare for upcoming workplace inspections in Ontario," Schiewek said. “These sessions will provide insights into what to expect when Ministry representatives visit their workplaces.”

The campaigns target specific sectors to raise awareness of workplace health and safety hazards and promote compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. 

“Webinars for the mining sector are on May 23 and June 27, and for the forest products sector on June 12. Ontario businesses can register by clicking on ‘upcoming events’ on the  WSN website. We encourage businesses to register so they can learn how to prepare for an inspector’s visit,” adds Schiewek.            

Safety campaigns for Ontario forest products and mining sectors

  1. Industrial sector – material handling
  2. Mining sector – airborne hazards
  3. Specialized professional services (applicable to all sectors) – occupational hygiene
    1. Worker exposures to chemical agents in the workplace
    2. WHMIS training based on the amended Hazardous Products Regulations

1. Industrial sector – Material handling

From April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025, the Ministry will focus on material handling hazards in industrial workplaces, which includes the forest products sector. This campaign aims to prevent injuries caused by lifting, carrying, or moving materials.

Phase 1: Education and outreach April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025

Phase 2: Focused inspections and enforcement April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025

Rationale for industrial sector campaign

Ministry data from 2023 shows there were a total of 32 fatalities in the industrial sector. Although this is a decrease of 12 from 2022, seven of the fatalities were due to crushing injuries, and six were a result of being struck by something.

This year-long education and enforcement campaign will have inspectors visiting various workplaces where materials, articles or things are lifted, carried, or moved, and puts workers at risk of being injured by their movement.

2. Mining sector – Airborne hazards

The Ministry will address airborne hazards management and underground ventilation for diesel-powered equipment in the mining sector from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025.

Phase 1: Phase 1: Education and outreach April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025

Phase 2: Focused inspections and enforcement June 3, 2024, to March 31, 2025

Rationale for mining sector campaign

In the Ontario mining sector:

  • 87 per cent of all fatalities are caused by occupational diseases
  • The Mining Health, Safety, and Prevention Review, completed in 2015, identified occupational disease, particularly those related to airborne hazards, as one of the five key issues that posed the greatest risk to worker health and safety
  • There are a number of new regulatory changes to Regulation 854 which came into effect on September 1, 2023, which focus on airborne hazards including reducing worker exposure diesel exhaust contaminants

Campaign focus

Mining inspectors will check that employers are:

  • Meeting the new requirements set out in section 182 of Regulation 854 for developing and maintaining an airborne hazards management program that came into force of Sept. 1, 2023
  • Complying with the amended requirements for the use of diesel-powered equipment used in underground mines, including the new lower exposure limits for elemental carbon

3. Specialized Professional Services Initiative - All workplaces 

Phase 1: Education and outreach April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2025

Phase 2: Focused inspections and enforcement July 2, 2024, to March 31, 2025

This initiative includes two campaigns applicable to all sectors: (a) worker exposure to chemical agents in the workplace, and (b) WHMIS training based on the amended Hazardous Products Regulations.

These campaigns are led by the Ministry’s Specialized Professional Services Unit. The Unit provides technical support and expertise to Ministry regional staff in the industrial, construction, mining, and health care programs. Learn more about these campaigns and get resources to help comply with the law.

(a) Worker exposures to chemical agents in the workplace

Employers have a duty to take all necessary measures and procedures to ensure that a worker’s airborne exposure to a hazardous substance does not exceed the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL). For some substances, they must ensure it is reduced to the lowest practical level. 

Under certain conditions, the employer’s duty to limit airborne exposures may include providing workers with personal protective equipment, such as respirators. Ministry hygienists will conduct proactive inspections to ensure workers are not exposed to hazardous substances exceeding the occupational exposure limits. 

Rationale for campaign

Occupational diseases are the leading cause of worker deaths. Every year, there are approximately four times more deaths from occupational disease than traumatic fatalities. Exposure to hazardous chemical agents in the workplace may result in the worker developing an occupational illness. Identifying, assessing and controlling these exposures will help lower the risk of workers developing an occupational disease. 

Resources and compliance support

(b) WHMIS training based on the amended Hazardous Products Regulations

Occupational hygiene campaign includes WHMIS training based on the amended Hazardous Products Regulations. 

Employers have a duty under R.R.O. 1990, Regulation 860, Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), to provide workers with information on hazardous products they may be exposed to in the workplace. 

Ministry hygienists will conduct proactive inspections to determine if retraining on WHMIS will be required depending on whether the hazardous products in the workplace have labels and safety data sheets that are compliant with the amended Hazardous Products Regulations (HPR). 

Rationale for campaign

The federal regulations say suppliers must give safety data sheets (SDS) and proper labels on hazardous products. In December 2022, the HPR changed hazard classifications and SDS info. Suppliers have three years to follow these changes. Workers need WHMIS training to understand the new SDS and labels. To assist businesses, the Ministry and WSN are hosting webinars and providing resources. Dates for these webinars include May 12 and June 27 for the mining sector, and June 12 for the forest products sector. Interested businesses can register on the WSN website.

These initiatives emphasize the importance of workplace safety and aim to create safer working environments across Ontario. Businesses are encouraged to participate and ensure compliance to protect their workers’ well-being.

Resources and compliance support


A step-by-step guide: What to expect from a Ministry of Labour visit – WSN

WHMIS Training - WSN

Occupational health and safety inspections and investigations – MLTSD

Occupational disease risks in key industries: Protecting workers’ health - WSN