Upcoming events and legislative changes in Ontario
In 2022, there were changes to Ontario workplace health and safety legislation that will affect businesses in the year ahead.
The provincial government also continues to apply a risk management approach to injury and illness prevention. There are many industry research projects underway that are bringing new information and a raised awareness about the root causes of each sector’s top health and safety risks.
First, take a look back at 2022 to understand how the occupational health and safety landscape has changed.
Highlights of 2022: New legislation, programs, online training, and updated resources
In April, Bill 88 “Working for Workers Act” was passed into law. The Act included Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, as well as updates to the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
- As of June 2022, employers with 25 or more employees are required to have a written policy on disconnecting from work, and must provide a copy of the policy to all employees.
- Employers in high-risk workplaces are required to provide naloxone kits to respond to a potential opioid overdose at their workplace, and there must be a trained worker who is in charge of the kit. On December 12, 2022, Ontario Regulation 559/22: Naloxone Kits was published, which provides detailed information about the naloxone kit requirement. On December 14, 2022, the Ontario government announced it would supply free naloxone kits to at-risk workplaces by June 1, 2023.
- As of July 2022, fines have increased for officers and directors from $100,000 to $1.5 million, and up to 12 months in jail, or both. The maximum penalty for a worker or supervisor increased from $100,000 to $500,000, in addition to up to 12 months imprisonment.
As COVID-19 and seasonal flus are now an ongoing issue, occupational health and safety continues to be a primary focus. WSN continues to expand virtual and online offerings, as well as developing hybrid learning programs that allow workers to attend the same training session whether virtually or in-person.
New resources, training, and updates from WSN in 2022 include the following.
- Health and Safety Representative training available in English and French for small businesses with six to 19 employees.
- Inadequate lockout top health and safety risk in Ontario corrugating sector - Both workers and managers worry about dangers of injury from machinery
- Industry experts analyze causes of battery electric vehicle fires - Arc flash, electric shock, and thermal runaway from overheated battery top health and safety risks in Ontario mines
- New guideline for reducing diesel particulate matter in underground mines - Two successful examples of control strategies for airborne hazards
- New mining safety resources available - Mobile equipment fire management, simple solutions for dusty environments
- Professional chainsaw training in Ontario updated - Revamped course featuring popular training and industry reference book “The Cutting Edge”
- Updates to workplace-related COVID-19 guidance - Changes to guideline on workplace masking
What’s new and changing for 2023: Policy and program deadlines, plus upcoming inspection blitzes
- By March 1, 2023, employers with 25 or more employees must have a written policy on the electronic monitoring of employees.
- Government compliance initiatives in 2023 include two phases, the first is education, outreach, and awareness, followed by inspection blitzes. Initiatives for the mining and forest products sectors run from April 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, and include focused inspections on respiratory hygiene as well as asbestos in building structures.
- Occupational health and safety in Ontario continues to evolve along with the pandemic and flu seasons. As the public, government, and businesses adapt to help keep everyone safe, there are regular updates to information and resources around workplace safety guidance, paid sick leave, and reporting requirements.
- February 17, 2023, is the registration deadline for Ontario mining and forest products companies to register for the WSIB Health and Safety Excellence program. The Excellence program is a performance-based rewards program that helps businesses create safer workplaces and earn both financial and non-financial recognition.
- The Health and Safety Representative Basic Training reimbursement program continues for small businesses with 6 to 19 employees for training completed by March 31, 2024. It covers the cost for the $25 registration fee for the HSR training course, and $150 toward the cost of the representative’s training time.
2023 Upcoming events: Mark your calendar
In the new year, upcoming events include free lunch and learn webinars, Battery Electric Vehicle Safety symposium, Excellence program meetings, and the Mining Health and Safety Conference.
- Jan. 26, 2023 - Webinar: Roles and Responsibilities for Training Signing Authorities
- Feb. 9, 2023 - Battery Electric Vehicle Safety in Mines Symposium in Sudbury
- Apr. 18-20, 2023 - Mining Health and Safety Conference in Sudbury
As we approach the fourth year of the pandemic, ongoing provincial announcements on vaccination policy, capacity limits, funding, and other developments continue to help keep workplaces and communities safe.
For more information, contact your local WSN Health and Safety Specialist.