Ontario’s economy, population and workplaces are changing. This means the occupational health and safety system must continually seek new partnerships to understand challenges, reach more workers and employers and keep pace with the changes. The associations and networks that workers and employers engage with can be valuable partners for the occupational health and safety system. In 2017-18, the system built new and stronger partnerships that can help reach a wider audience to promote system resources and solicit feedback and advice. Partnering with other ministries also helped share intelligence and enhance enforcement efforts.

Building partnerships

Working together to improve online resources

Public Services Health & Safety Association (PSHSA) has partnered with the Aphasia Institute to build a multi-faceted eLearning product for health care providers. This eLearning module educated participants about the emotional and cognitive challenges of someone with Aphasia. It also provides techniques to improve the experience of patients and health care providers and can be combined with traditional in-class training programs for maximum impact. The module will be completed in late 2018 but will continue to be improved based on learner and stakeholder feedback.

Collaboration to review PTSD prevention plans

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition caused by exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury or violence. Ontario has taken steps to address the harmful impacts of PTSD on first responders. Legislation allows the Minister of Labour to direct certain employers to provide information about their plans to prevent PTSD in their workplaces.

PSHSA worked with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to review the information on the 44 documents that police services submitted to the Ministry of Labour. The review and benchmarking showed:

  • 9% of police services were just getting started on their PTSD prevention
  • 52% are taking proactive steps to prevent PTSD
  • 39% of police services were implementing best practices to prevent PTSD

No matter where they were in implementing their plan, 100% of police services provide mental health awareness training, and 88% of the training included how to recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD.

Partnerships to improve technology

PSHSA partnered with researchers at the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University to develop health and safety applications for to Ontario workplaces. In 2017 this resulted in PSHSA’s Ready for Duty mobile application. It includes 30 videos and a series of exercises to improve strength and conditioning when preparing for the Ontario Paramedic Physical Abilities Test. PSHSA also developed six eLearning modules to help paramedics enhance their health and wellness.

Collaborating to train young workers

In 2017 the Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) partnered with the Central Ontario Building Trades’ to support their Hammer Heads program, which develops participants’ social and professional skills. It trains and places under-resourced and Indigenous youth aged 18-26 into registered apprenticeship careers. WHSC provided health and safety training for program participants, helping to set them on the path to a healthy and safe career in the construction industry.

Working together to communicate risks of the underground economy

The underground economy represents lost tax revenue for Ontario, an unfair playing field for employers and puts workers at risk. Employers that operate in the underground economy may be less likely to provide proper safety equipment, training and insurance.

The Ministry of Labour teamed up with the Ministry of Finance and Consumer Protection Ontario to alert the public to the risks of participating in the underground economy. An ad campaign about roofing was launched on the Carrot Rewards app, in addition to a social media campaign. The Carrot Rewards app offers users the opportunity to answer short surveys in exchange for reward points, while learning about various topics. On Carrot Rewards, over 615,000 offers were completed, with 347,453 click-throughs to resources.