Changes to Ontario Regulation 297/13 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) will require all employers in Ontario to provide employees with mandatory basic occupational health and safety awareness training by July 1, 2014 or “as soon as practicable”. However, the regulation does not require that employers provide the training to employees who have previously completed an occupational health and safety training awareness training program if the employee provides a the employer with a proof of completion of training and the employer verifies that the previous training meets the required elements outlined below.

The training for workers must include information regarding the following:

  • The duties and rights of workers under the OHSA;
  • The duties of employers and supervisors under the OHSA;
  • The roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the OHSA;
  • The  roles  of  the  Ministry,  the  Workplace  Safety  and  Insurance  Board  and  entities designated under the OHSA with respect to occupational health and safety;
  • Common workplace hazards;
  • The  requirements  set  out  in  the  Workplace  Hazardous  Materials  Information  System regulation with respect to information and instructions on controlled products; and
  • Occupational illness, including latency.

The training for supervisors must occur within one week of them performing work as a supervisor and must include information regarding the following:

  • The duties and rights of workers under the OHSA;
  • The duties of employers and supervisors under the OHSA;
  • The roles of health and safety representatives and joint health and safety committees under the OHSA;
  • The  roles  of  the  Ministry,  the  Workplace  Safety  and  Insurance  Board  and  entities designated under the OHSA 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.

The training requirements do not apply to supervisors who were performing work as supervisors for the employer before July 1, 2014 as long as the employer verifies that the supervisor has completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program that addresses all of the  required  elements  of  the  supervisor  training  under  the  regulation.  Further,  the  training requirements do not apply to a worker or supervisor if another employer was exempt with respect to the worker or supervisor and the worker or supervisor provides the employer with proof of the exemption.

Employers are required to maintain a record of the occupational health and safety awareness training that is completed by workers and supervisors and a record of workers and supervisors who are exempt.