Issued: December 16, 2010

On January 27, 2010, the Minister of Labour appointed Tony Dean as Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety (the Panel) to conduct a review of Ontario’s OHS system. With the support of a panel of health and safety experts from labour groups, employers and academic institutes, the Chair was asked to recommend structural, operational and policy improvements to the occupational health and safety OHS system.

Mandate of the review

The Chair was to deliver recommendations to the Minister of Labour on how the OHS system partners and their activities could be best aligned and supported to achieve the common goal of safe and healthy workplaces. This goal is to achieve improved compliance and zero workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

Recommendations arising from the review should focus on potential areas of improvement that will help Ontario build upon its current position as a leader in workplace health and safety.

Scope of the review

The review’s aim was to generate recommendations that would strengthen Ontario’s OHS system, with the goal of improving compliance and eliminating workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities.

The panel

The membership of the Panel was announced on March 18, 2010. The Panel’s role was to assist the Chair in identifying issues, provide input on the stakeholder consultation process and discuss findings and potential policy options that would inform the Chair’s final recommendations.

The Panel met eight times during the year, joined meetings with stakeholders and, where their schedules permitted, attended the public consultation meetings held around the province.


  • Joan Eakin, Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
  • H. Allan Hunt, Senior Economist, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Michigan, U.S.
  • Carolyn Tuohy, Senior Fellow, School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Toronto


  • Jattinder Dhillon, VP Health, Safety, Wellness and Business Continuity, Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada
  • John A. Macnamara, VP Health, Safety and Environment, Hydro One
  • Domenic Mattina, VP Sales and Estimates, Mattina Mechanical Ltd.


  • Bud Calligan, Retired Secretary-Treasurer, Carpenters District Council of Ontario
  • Vernon Edwards, Director of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment, Ontario Federation of Labour
  • Carmine Tiano, Director, WSIB Advocacy & Occupational Services, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario


Five key principles guided the review: a focus on improving workplace health and safety, broad engagement of stakeholders, reliance on evidence-based research, collaboration and transparency.

The Occupational Health and Safety System Review Consultation Paper was released in April 2010. The paper identified the stakeholders to be consulted and some of the issues the Panel would include in its review:

  • The roles and responsibilities of the OHS system partners – Ministry of Labour (MOL), Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and the Health and Safety Associations (HSAs)
  • The impact of the underground economy on workplace health and safety
  • The protection of vulnerable workers
  • The use of incentives to motivate superior health and safety performance
  • Linking the procurement of goods and services to health and safety performance
  • The role of joint health and safety committees
  • The impact of advancements in technology/innovation on health and safety
  • Mandatory entry-level health and safety training

Stakeholders and interested parties responded to the questions posed in the consultation paper. Approximately 250 electronic responses were received.

Seven regional consultation meetings were held in London, Windsor, Ottawa, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and two in Toronto. The Chair and members of the Panel attended and heard over 80 verbal presentations. Everyone who registered to speak at the meetings was heard. More than 200 individuals were also present at these meetings and, with the exception of the heavily attended final meeting in Toronto, everyone attending was given an opportunity to share their experience and ideas, and many did.

Over 100 formal written submissions were received from various stakeholders, professional organizations and individuals. The Chair and/or the Policy Secretariat staff attended approximately 50 bilateral meetings.

The Panel and its Chair are very appreciative of all those stakeholders who contributed their time and ideas to this review. We’d like to express particular appreciation to the:

  • Ontario Federation of Labour and its affiliates
  • Business Council on Occupational Health and Safety
  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce
  • Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Ontario General Contractors Association
  • Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
  • Ontario Mining Association
  • Council of Ontario Construction Associations
  • Canadian Federation of Independent Business
  • Ministry of Labour
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Prevention Division
  • Health and Safety Associations

Without the insight their input provided, the Panel would not be as well informed to be able to confidently make its recommendations.

Support to the panel

A Policy Secretariat made up of a Director, four Policy Advisors (from the MOL, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board WSIB and HSAs) and a part-time Administrative Assistant provided support to the Panel in all aspects of its work. They co-ordinated issue-specific working groups and analysed stakeholder input.

Eight working groups composed of staff from the Policy Secretariat, the MOL, the WSIB, HSAs and other ministries/agencies (Ministries of Revenue; Citizenship and Immigration; Government Services; Training, Colleges and Universities; Institute for Work and Health) conducted research, sought input from stakeholders and prepared reports on the specific issues being examined in the Review. The working group findings, including options and recommendations, were presented to the Panel for their review and consideration.

The Panel formed a subcommittee in response to stakeholder concerns regarding issues affecting small business. The subcommittee reviewed scientific research as well as health and safety programs targeted at small business in Ontario and presented a report to the Panel.

The Institute for Work and Health (IWH) examined both Canadian and international occupational health and safety organizations, programs, service delivery and best practices in jurisdictions relevant to the Ontario experience. Their findings were reported to the Panel and were made public on the review website. The IWH also supported the information-gathering activities of the working groups and made presentations on key research findings to several working groups.