About this report

This document is an overview of workplace health and safety activities in Ontario between April 2017 and March 2018. It is the annual report required to be provided by the Chief Prevention Officer’s (CPO) to the Minister of Labour under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It includes a measurement of the achievement of the goals established in Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces – A Strategy for Transforming Occupational Health and Safety and the activities of the Ministry of Labour Operations Division’s. The CPO’s report outlines prevention activities to deliver on the vision, goals and priorities described in Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces – A Strategy for Transforming Occupational Health and Safety. The Operations Division’s report covers the ministry’s Occupational Health and Safety Act compliance results as well as the top workplace hazards and resources to reduce them.

Message from the Chief Prevention Officer and Assistant Deputy Minister of Operations

Our vision is for all Ontario workplaces to be healthy and safe. This is a goal we want every workplace to be able to achieve. From the ministry and our system partners to employers and workers; everyone has a role to play.

In 2013, the Ministry of Labour made a commitment to integrate service delivery and system wide planning through Healthy and Safe Ontario Workplaces – A Strategy for Transforming Occupational Health and Safety. In this spirit of integration, this report combines the annual occupational health and safety enforcement report and the annual report on the health and safety strategy to give a complete account of enforcement and prevention activities across the system in 2017-18. By combining the reports, we are saving resources and making it easier for Ontarians to find information on what has been done across the province to improve the health and safety of our workplaces.

Throughout this report, you will find information on the varied activities and initiatives performed by the ministry and our system partners. The report also provides information on the top hazards found in workplaces, the results of enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act and resources to help businesses create and maintain healthy and safe workplaces.

Ontario has one of the best safety records in Canada, but we can do better. Through using the best available evidence and listening to all stakeholders, we will work together to improve our services and continue to make sure that all employers have the resources they need. This report establishes the foundation for ongoing collaboration to ensure that every Ontario workplace is productive, safe and healthy.

Ron Kelusky, Chief Prevention Officer, Ministry of Labour

Peter Augruso, Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations, Ministry of Labour

Key accomplishments

The Workplace Violence in School Boards: A Guide to the Law guideline was released in March 2018 as a joint initiative between the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Education. The report is helping school boards understand their responsibilities and duties regarding workplace violence.

In May 2017, the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table released a progress report, including 23 recommendations and 13 products. The report and tools were promoted in hospitals in collaboration with Public Services Health & Safety Association.

In 2017-18, approximately 190,000 workers received the Working at Heights training in 22,025 classes offered by the approved training providers.

In October 2017, WSIB launched phase one of the Compass tool, which allows anyone to look up health and safety statistics for businesses across the province.

The Construction Health and Safety Action Plan was released on May 11, 2017. The plan contains 16 recommendations to create a more knowledgeable, skilled construction sector and to support compliance with occupational health and safety laws. The action plan was developed in close partnership with labour and employer representatives from various areas of the construction industry.

On January 1, 2018 amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act came into effect which added coverage for work-related chronic mental stress and fully index benefits for injured workers.

In January 2018, the ministry hosted the Safe at Work Ontario consultations to seek input from stakeholders. Almost 120 representatives and specialists from industries and sectors across Ontario attended.

In 2017-18, the Ministry of Labour provided over $1.68 million in funding for 10 projects through the Occupational Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program, which supports workplace-focused innovation projects and collaborative partnerships. The ministry also provided over $1.67 million in funding for nine projects with the Research Opportunities Program.

In response to feedback from employers and labour stakeholders, amendments were proposed to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to increase maximum fines for individuals and businesses that don't meet workplace health and safety standards. The Legislature passed the amendments, and as of December 14, 2017, the maximum fines upon conviction of an offence under the OHSA increased from $25,000 to $100,000 for individuals and $500,000 to $1.5 million for corporations.

Contact information

Ontario provides a toll-free province-wide telephone number to report unsafe work practices and workplace health and safety incidents. Call the Ministry of Labour Health & Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008.

  • Call any time to report critical injuries, fatalities or work refusals.
  • For general inquiries about workplace health and safety, call between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

In an emergency, always call 911 immediately.