A message from the Chief Prevention Officer

Moving forward, our ministry will continue to build our system in an integrated way, and the 2021-26 Occupational health & safety strategy will provide us with an overarching blueprint with which to do so. During the 2019-20 fiscal year, the ministry worked with its health and safety system partners to develop this. Our ministry held in-person and online public consultations to gather feedback from Ontarians to develop the next strategy, scheduled for release by the end of 2020. The information gathered from the consultations was considered in addition to research, data and analysis, Dr. Paul Demers’ independent review, titled Using scientific evidence and principles to help determine the work-relatedness of cancer, and the recommendations outlined in the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario’s 2019 Annual Report.

The strategy is meant to guide the work of our ministry’s divisions, its health and safety system partners, and the broader health and safety network in aligning occupational health and safety foundations, and workplace health and safety culture in general, in Ontario — particularly as the province reopens and adapts to a new normal after the COVID‑19 pandemic. Although Ontario has had the lowest lost-time injury rate in Canada over the past decade, the need to address occupational illnesses, including COVID‑19, is more important than ever. The new strategy sets specific goals and objectives for the occupational health and safety system, determines high-priority areas of focus, and outlines how we will measure success. We also look forward to recognizing Ontario’s safe employers and to further integration of our ministry of work.

We will continue to support efforts to keep COVID‑19 in check by supporting workplaces and the economy. We will do so by:

  • collaborating with occupational health and safety system partners and the Ministry of Health to ensure employers know how to protect workers from COVID‑19. This includes developing and updating general and sector-specific guidance and other resources that align with public health advice
  • supporting the delivery of essential services and key enablers of work such as child care, education and transportation through appropriate and up-to-date guidance
  • promoting knowledge and understanding of infection prevention and control measures and how they fit within an occupational health and safety framework

We will also continue to support government by:

  • participating in decision-making and advisory tables with other ministries and stakeholders to help ensure that government is informed and aligned
  • making evidence-based recommendations on policy matters related to COVID‑19 occupational health and safety issues
  • supporting multi-jurisdictional data collection and analysis initiatives to help implement rapid evidence-based responses to newly emerging situations

I am confident we will be able to make Ontario one of the safest jurisdictions in the world.

  • Ron Kelusky
    Chief Prevention Officer, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development