'The virtual approach to safety training will ensure employers and employees have access to the latest information'
Ontario is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for jobseekers and workers. The aim is to make it easier for them to get essential qualifications while practising physical distancing and preventing the spread of COVID-19.
"In this new environment, we need to look for new and innovative ways to deliver services, while keeping people safe and healthy," says Premier Doug Ford. "This virtual approach to safety training will ensure employers and employees have access to the latest information without the need to physically interact with others. In this way, we also reduce the risk of spreading this deadly virus."
Up to 100,000 job seekers can take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. The program offers 10 courses, including topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention and preventing workplace violence and harassment.
Worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can also use video conferencing to take training in real-time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario's chief prevention officer. The training includes sessions on how to establish a Health and Safety Committee, resolving health and safety issues, workplace inspections and accident investigations.
"This is the first time this type of online safety training has been made available at no cost to people who have lost their jobs and I am confident it will be an effective way to prepare people to rejoin the workforce safely," says Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, training and skills development. "The training is free and accessible from anywhere, so people can learn from their own homes."
The government is also extending the time for completion of refresher training for more than 8,000 certified committee members whose certification would have expired between Feb. 28 and Aug. 31, 2020. They have until Nov. 30, 2020 to renew their training.
Over the last three years, an average of 37,000 people per year took Joint Health and Safety Committee certification training, says the government.
Three-quarters (74 per cent) of employees feel that non-compliant workers should face consequences if they’re not obeying COVID-19-related safety measures at work, according to a report.
Recently, Canadian HR Reporter talked to Malini Vijaykumar, associate lawyer at Nelligan Law in Ottawa, for legal insights when it comes to keeping employees safe as employers start to get workers back into the workplace.