Letter from the Chief Prevention Officer

The Honourable Kevin Flynn
Minister of Labour, Ontario

Dear Minister Flynn:

I am pleased to submit the Occupational Health and Safety in Ontario: 2015-16 Annual Report. This report highlights the achievements of the occupational health and safety system over the past year and demonstrates our commitment to continuously improve health and safety in Ontario workplaces.

Over the past three years, guided by Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces – a Strategy for Transforming Occupational Health and Safety, we have worked with labour and employer organizations, our health and safety association partners, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and other stakeholders to lay a foundation for occupational health and safety in the province. We built effective partnerships both within and outside the occupational health and safety system and worked collaboratively to help foster a culture of health and safety in Ontario workplaces. We created and standardized training requirements, increased tools available to workplace parties, developed legislation and regulations, and provided new supports for the Internal Responsibility System in workplaces, which complimented increased Ministry of Labour enforcement.

In 2015-16, we challenged ourselves to build on that strong foundation to make Ontario workplaces healthier and safer. We undertook a number of ambitious initiatives and achieved some notable milestones, such as enhancing the quality and consistency of training for workers in critical areas including working at heights, increasing worker protection through new and amended regulations and adding online resources to help workplace parties comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act. We focused our efforts on the most vulnerable workers, improving support for small businesses, the highest hazards and sectors that continue to experience high rates of injuries and fatalities. The Ministry of Labour also implemented amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to enhance employer duties with respect to the prevention of harassment in the workplace and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to support first responders and other workers experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

The nature of work and workplaces in Ontario is evolving. While we must continue to focus on sectors where injuries, illnesses and fatalities are high, we must also adapt to new risks. In the coming year, we will review the strategic priorities for the system, identify opportunities to realign or refine them, and publicly communicate any changes.

The progress we have made would not be possible without the collaboration of the whole system and its commitment to improving workplace health and safety. I would like to thank and commend our occupational health and safety system partners as well as our stakeholders for their efforts to promote healthy and safe Ontario workplaces.

George Gritziotis
Chief Prevention Officer
Ministry of Labour