Ontario seeks public input on new prevention, safety enforcement strategy

May 17 deadline for feedback

The Ontario Ministry of Labour is launching consultations on the development of a province-wide integrated occupational health and safety strategy, which it says is the first of its kind for Ontario.

“This strategy will provide a clear vision to guide Ontario’s occupational health and safety system, and workplaces. It will also help shape operational plans and programs for the ministry and its partners in the years ahead,” the ministry said in a statement.

The strategy will focus on issues such as addressing the needs of vulnerable workers, supporting small businesses, high-hazard activities and effective support for workplace parties.

"Ontario has been successful in reducing workplace injuries, but we must do more,” said Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Labour. “One injury is one too many. This consultation will help us determine how we can continue to strengthen our health and safety system so that, in the end, all workers can go home safe."

The consultations will cover the entire range of occupational health and safety, from prevention to compliance and enforcement. Feedback will help in the development of the strategy, the ministry said. Ultimately, the final strategy document will guide the planning, development, delivery and evaluation of occupational health and safety programs and services in Ontario.

"This is an opportunity for us to learn from our stakeholders on how best to develop a strong, integrated occupational health and safety strategy. This strategy is an important opportunity to establish clear priorities that will guide the occupational health and safety community. I look forward to receiving comments,” George Gritziotis, Ontario’s chief prevention officer, said in a statement.

A full consultation paper and an abridged version are available for download. The ministry encourages parties to distribute these consultation papers to their networks.

The deadline for feedback is May 17, 2013.

Last year, the Ontario government accepted all 46 recommendations from an expert advisory panel, led by University of Toronto professor Tony Dean, that reviewed the province’s occupational health and safety system. The creation of an integrated province-wide strategy was highlighted as a key outcome in the panel’s report.

As a result of the recommendations, Ontario moved responsibility for prevention from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to the Ministry of Labour. This also led to the creation of a chief prevention officer, a prevention council, and a prevention organization.

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