The second goal of the strategy is to transform how the system plans and delivers occupational health and safety services. We must focus on integrating service delivery, enhancing partnerships and promoting a health and safety culture.

Integrate service delivery and system-wide planning

To transform the system, we must integrate service delivery and planning. A new, more integrated model of service delivery will help ensure all workplaces, regardless of which system partners they contact, receive accessible, affordable, consistent programs and services that meet their needs. System partners will come together to plan and deliver prevention awareness, training and enforcement activities that align with the strategic priorities. We will also work with other stakeholders and partners to agree on how to achieve our mutual goals.

The creation of the Office of the Chief Prevention Officer was an important first step in bringing together the system’s enforcement and prevention functions. It created a central authority within the Ministry of Labour with the ability to develop a strategy to guide and align the system.

A variety of approaches and tools have been identified to reach Ontario’s diverse workplaces. These approaches can be thought of as a continuum of services – from awareness and education through to compliance and enforcement. Many organizations in the system provide services along the continuum, which can lead to duplication, inefficiencies, and mixed messages to the workplace parties. For example, the Ministry of Labour, Health and Safety Associations, private occupational health and safety service providers, and employers are all involved in raising awareness about health and safety requirements for residential roofers. To carry out an effective social marketing campaign and have the greatest impact, all of the organizations involved need to ensure their messages are aligned, yet tailored to their audiences. By working together to integrate service delivery and determining services based on need and evidence, the system can provide targeted, consistent, quality support regardless of whether an organization needs to improve its awareness, enhance its knowledge or achieve compliance. Integrated service delivery also allows everyone in the system to focus on their strengths and increase their reach.

An integrated service delivery model will:

  • improve access to and quality of services for all workplace parties
  • improve accountability for spending and results
  • increase collaboration among organizations to increase reach and avoid duplication

To help integrate service delivery and planning, the system will take steps to:

  1. Clarify roles of system partners and the services they provide:
    • document and communicate the roles, products and services of each system partner to both the other members of the system and workplace parties
    • address issues that could be barriers to sharing information or expertise among system partners, while recognizing the need to keep some information confidential
  2. Increase integrated planning among all system partners:
    • develop inclusive forums that enable all system partners to participate in planning and identifying joint priorities (e.g. inter-organizational committees and working groups)
    • continue to share information and best practices that can be used to support joint planning and service delivery
  3. Improve client experience and access to services:
    • develop programs and services that can be delivered in partnership, that include information on resources and compliance requirements, when appropriate, (e.g. awareness sessions delivered by the ministry and Health and Safety Associations)
    • ensure clients are directed to the occupational health and safety services that best meet their needs (e.g. strengthen relationships with other ministries, municipalities and other potential partners who interact with employers and workers)
  4. Strengthen system partners’ capacity to track their performance and be accountable:
    • develop a set of common performance measures for the system and its impact on workplace parties
    • publish an annual report on system performance

Build collaborative partnerships between the occupational health and safety system and other organizations

To enhance service delivery, we must do more than work together as a system to deliver programs and services to workplaces. We must also work with, and through, new partners beyond the current system, some of whom may not realize their ability to influence health and safety.

Both the panel report and the Ministry of Labour’s stakeholder consultation recommended a shift in how we work with other organizations and a shift in the technology required to support these partnerships. By using new methods to leverage existing relationships, and by forging new strategic partnerships, service delivery can be enhanced by:

  • gaining a better understanding of workplaces’ needs
  • expanding program reach to workplaces that are typically difficult to target through inspections (e.g. the underground economy)
  • encouraging workplaces with extensive health and safety expertise to assist those that lack occupational health and safety knowledge and resources
  • finding new opportunities to communicate awareness messages
  • identifying health and safety leaders within new communities and workplaces

We are more effective when we work together to achieve a common goal. By collaborating closely with our partners, everyone has the opportunity to leverage one another’s strengths, use resources more effectively, and achieve better outcomes for all Ontarians.

For example, the Ministry of Labour partnered with Infrastructure Ontario to embed occupational health and safety criteria into their procurement processes for vendors of record.

To enhance partnerships, the system will:

  1. Increase engagement with partners within and outside the system:
    • create new forums or mechanisms through which to solicit ongoing feedback and advice from partners
  2. Use existing and new partnerships to reach a wider audience and promote system resources:
    • continue to strengthen relationships with existing partners and ministries
    • develop new, non-traditional partnerships to reach new audiences
    • identify health and safety leaders in new sectors and communities to champion occupational health and safety
    • explore new technologies to help partners share information
  3. Partner with other ministries and levels of government to share intelligence and enhance enforcement efforts.

Promote a culture of health and safety in workplaces and throughout society

To achieve a significant, sustained improvement in the health and safety of Ontario’s workplaces, we must all place a high value on occupational health and safety in the workplace and throughout society. To prevent harm to workers, we must promote an occupational health and safety culture that reflects shared values, beliefs and attitudes.

In the workplace, the extent to which there is a culture of health and safety is reflected in the Internal Responsibility System (IRS) and whether everyone in the organization has opportunities to participate in and take responsibility for occupational health and safety. Workplaces that have strong occupational health and safety values, attitudes, practices and systems tend to have fewer workplace illnesses, injuries and fatalities footnote 12 footnote 13 footnote 14footnote 15. To create that culture in all workplaces, the strategy will help promote a strong IRS, including Joint Health and Safety Committees and Health and Safety Representatives.

At the societal level, a culture of health and safety depends on the attitudes and beliefs of Ontarians. Society, as a whole, can play a key role in preventing harm as it has done, for example, by decreasing smoking, increasing the use of seatbelts, and decreasing impaired driving. In each of these cases, many organizations were part of a persistent, multi-pronged social marketing initiative that helped shift social attitudes and behaviours. For example, increasing the use of seatbelts involved policy changes, police enforcement, awareness campaigns and technological changes.

To promote an occupational health and safety culture, we need to reinforce the widespread view that workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities are unacceptable. Stronger societal support for workplace health and safety also aligns with, and can contribute to, a broader approach to health and wellness. For the strategy to be successful, the system must build awareness among the public that occupational health and safety is important and that everyone has a role to play in making Ontario workplaces healthy and safe. This message must be communicated to all Ontarians, particularly to young Ontarians, and encourage them to take steps to prevent workplace injuries, illness and fatalities.

To promote an occupational health and safety culture in workplaces and throughout society, the system will take steps to:

  1. Understand society’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviours related to occupational health and safety and how they have changed over time:
    • support research to understand public knowledge and attitudes about occupational health and safety
    • benchmark current attitudes and beliefs to be able to measure changes over time
    • use findings to identify gaps, target awareness strategies and improve safety practices
  2. Foster social awareness of the importance of occupational health and safety and the Internal Responsibility System:
    • target social marketing, advertising and direct communications to workplaces (including awareness materials) and other settings (e.g. homes, schools) and sectors
    • reinforce awareness to school-aged Ontarians to ensure they have the tools to be healthy and safe before they start work
  3. Nurture health and safety leaders and champions in the community and workplaces:
    • introduce programs to recognize occupational health and safety leaders in all types of organizations
    • introduce programs to recognize leaders in corporate social responsibility with the goal of influencing their peers, consumers and other industries
    • make the Ontario government a leader in procurement policies that promote occupational health and safety and encouraging large private sector organizations to adopt similar policies for their supply chains
  4. Ensure health and safety programs foster a culture of openness and inclusiveness – rather than blame and reprisals – in the reporting of hazards:
    • consider programs that recognize workers and supervisors who openly address hazards and make improvements