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Ontario eyes certification for OHS training providers

By Mari-Len De Guzman
| www.cos-mag.com

The Ontario government is developing standards that will require safety training providers to undergo an accreditation process, according to province officials.

At the the annual Canadian Health and Safety Professionals Safety Conference (CanSafePro) in Toronto, Cordelia Clarke Julien, director of training and safety programs branch of the Ontario Prevention Office, gave attendees an update of what is coming down the pipeline with regards to new health and safety related training standards. One of them is the new mandatory certification for training service providers.

This means service providers in Ontario would need to undergo an accreditation process for their specific area of training expertise before they can conduct business with employers. The mandatory certification requirements ensure that health and safety training providers are performing to a standard, Julien said.

Allaying concerns about the timing of the implementation of the accreditation requirement, Julien said the Prevention Office will provide ample time for the transition. It will likely take a year between the release of the standard and full implementation, she said.

“We are not here to kick people out of the industry,” said Julien. “What we’re saying is this is the minimum standard that will be in place.”

Julien also gave attendees an overview of other standards being developed by the Prevention Office. Among these are: mandatory awareness training for workers, awareness training for supervisors, entry-level training for construction workers and standards for working at heights.

These standards are in response to the recommendations outlined in the Tony Dean Expert Advisory panel report.

Julien said they are hoping to get the regulations on the mandatory awareness training for workers in the summer for full implementation by January 2014.

She did not give specific timelines for the other training standards that are coming out, saying they are mostly in the development stages and will be opened up for public consultation.

Efforts by the Prevention Office are part of the on-going province-wide overhaul of the Ontario health and safety system.

Newly appointed Ontario Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi said Ontario is embarking on the “greatest revitalization of Ontario workplace health and safety in three decades.”

Naqvi was the keynote speaker at the CanSafePro conference.

Less than a month into his new post as labour minister, Naqvi may have already got a preview of what his job is going to be like.

“As Minister of Labour I am notified whenever there is a critical injury (in the province),” Naqvi told attendees. He said two weeks into his new job as labour minister, two workplace deaths have already occurred.

Naqvi, who was sworn in as labour minister on Feb. 11, says he is “still in the learning phase” and encouraged further collaboration with industry to improve health and safety.

“Partners like you are strong contributors to our province and our workplace health and safety,” the labour minister said.

He notes last year alone, 30 people had died from a work-related traumatic injury and that WSIB figures show employers spend $121,000 in direct and indirect costs per lost-time injury.

“We know that businesses want safe workplaces,” Naqvi said.

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