On March 3, 2011, a new Ontario Bill (160) was introduced and is designed to amend the existing Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). The purpose of the Bill is to transfer responsibility for health and safety certification and training from the WSIB to the Ministry of Labour. Although the Bill has only just been through its 1st reading and will likely go through significant changes if it does become law, we have outlined some of the changes that it proposes below:

  • Ministry of Labour can establish standards for OHSA training programs.
  • Ministry of Labour can approve programs that meet the established training standards.
  • Ministry of Labour can establish standards that a person must meet in order to become an “approved training provider”.
  • Ministry of Labour can establish training and certification standards for members of the Joint Health and Safety Committee (“JHSC”). Ministry of Labour can require that that JHSC representatives have received the requisite training.
  • Co-chairs of the JHSC will be able to make recommendations to the employer even if they don‟t reach consensus on their recommendations.
  • Director of the OHSA will be able to establish written policies regarding the implementation, administration and enforcement of the OHSA.

As can be seen, many of these changes will require Ministry of Labour action before we will truly know the implications for Ontario employers. We will continue to watch Bill 160 and keep you updated as it progresses through the legislative process.