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Ontario to review OH&S system

| www.cos-mag.com

As part of its four-year plan designed to strengthen workplace safety,Ontario appointed Tony Dean as chair of an Expert Advisory Panel toconduct a comprehensive review of the province's occupational healthand safety prevention and enforcement system.

Dean will lead a panel, comprised of safety experts from labour groups, employers and academic institutions to recommend options for structural, operational and policy improvements.

The panel will research best-in-class approaches to improving workplace safety in national and international jurisdictions and will look at a range of issues including:

  • Continuum of safety practices in a workplace and entry-level safety training
  • Impact of the underground economy on health and safety practices
  • How existing legislation serves worker safety
  • Part of the review will be supported by the Institute for Work & Health, a globally renowned and independent research centre for occupational health and safety.

“Even one death or injury in a workplace is one too many. That's why we are putting together this panel of industry experts from all sectors. I look forward to receiving their advice and together we can work to ensure that all Ontario workers arrive home safely at the end of each day,” Peter Fonseca, minister of labour.

Tony Dean is a professor in the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto and a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is a former Secretary of the Cabinet and has also served as Deputy Minister of Labour. Mr. Dean is a recipient of the Order of Ontario.

The Expert Advisory Panel will report back to the Minister of Labour in Fall 2010.

In the meantime, plans to merge Ontario’s 12 safe work associations into four new associations is well underway. Most of the associations have been working on the mergers since 2008, when the plan was announced. However, as of January 2010:

  • The new Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) was officially launched January 1. It was formed from the merger of three organizations: the Transportation Health and Safety Association of Ontario (THSAO), the Construction Safety Association of Ontario (CSAO), and the Electrical & Utilities Safety Association of Ontario (E&USA).


  • Workplace Safety North amalgamates the Mines and Aggregates Safety and Health Association (MASHA), the Ontario Forestry Safe Workplace Association (OFSWA), and the Pulp and Paper Health and Safety Association (PPHSA). Candys Ballanger-Michaud is the Workplace Safety North’s inaugural Chief Executive Officer.


  • The Education Safety Association of Ontario, the Municipal Health & Safety Association, and the Ontario Safety Association for Community & Healthcare amalgamated to form the Health & Safety Association for Government Services.


  • Safe Workplace Promotion Services Ontario is in the process of final formation, amalgamating the Farm Safety Assoc, the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, and the Ontario Service Sector Association.

The primary objective of the realignment is to increase front-line services by reallocating existing resources.   

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