Occupational Health and Safety in Ontario (April 2020 – March 2021)
An annual report on Ontario’s health and safety system from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
As you read this document
You will see a number of terms in this report that relate to ministries, regulations and more. We suggest you review this list before you start to read so you can become familiar with them.
- Chief Prevention Officer - CPO
- Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development - The ministry
- Occupational health and safety - OHS
- The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act - EMCPA
- The Occupational Health and Safety Act - OHSA
- The Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID‑19) Act, 2020 - ROA
A message from Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety System Leaders
COVID‑19 has had wide and heart-breaking effects on our province. Protecting workers is always our Ministry’s number one focus. We have worked hard to respond quickly to the evolving evidence about the virus and its impact on our workplaces.
To support these efforts, we recognized we couldn’t do it alone. The occupational health and safety (OHS) system, which includes the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (‘the ministry’), worked together with more partners more closely than ever before in 2020-2021. Examples are woven throughout this report and spotlighted up front.
Reflecting on the past year, we first want to say thank you. Thank you to the essential workers who have kept the lights on, kept our water running, kept our homes safe, and kept us healthy and safe under the most challenging circumstances. Thank you to the health care heroes who have tirelessly put others before themselves. Thank you also to the many dedicated ministry inspectors who have been visiting workplaces, helping employers keep up with changing rules and continuing to help workplaces be safer. We can learn a lot from the past year about the human spirit and what makes us stronger together.
Beyond our COVID‑19 response, the OHS system also took major steps forward in other ways. For example: We worked towards becoming more data-driven and more outcomes-focused. This matters because it will help us better measure our performance and improve to keep workers safe. Being data-driven is also key to learning from our efforts to combat COVID‑19 in workplaces. We can use this information to improve our initiatives in the future. We released the 2021-2026 OHS Strategy – called Prevention Works – in July 2021. All OHS system partners played a role in this effort. As you’ll read in this report, the work we delivered in the 2020-21 fiscal year aligns with the objectives and areas of systems focus set out in Prevention Works.
Lastly, we want to thank Ron Kelusky, our former Chief Prevention Officer, who retired in September 2021. His vision in creating and releasing Prevention Works has brought new momentum to the OHS system. We look forward to continuing to work together to create an Ontario where workplaces promote and practice health and safety every day. This will help us build an Ontario that is free from occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
- Dr. Joel Moody, Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) / Assistant Deputy Minister, Prevention Division
- Jody Young, Assistant Deputy Minister, Fair, Safe and Healthy Workplaces Division
- David Beaulieu, Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Division
A message from Prevention Council
The Prevention Council is honoured to help protect and promote the health and safety of Ontario workers. Over this past year, we used the occupational health and safety (OHS) expertise of our members to streamline our strategic advice to the Minister and the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). We provided advice on the roll-out of innovative initiatives across the system. We also continued to advise the Ministry on the roll-out of the new OHS strategy, Prevention Works, and the OHS response to COVID‑19.
We have faced many challenges in this past year. We remain committed to making Ontario one of the healthiest and safest places to live and work in Canada. COVID‑19 has highlighted the importance of this effort, including the need to continue learning how we can improve. We have seen – and continue to see – an unwavering commitment to workplace health and safety from workers and employers. We commend the workers and employers of Ontario for their hard work and dedication and the many ways they have stepped up during this unprecedented time.
It is the role of Ontario’s Prevention Council to ensure that our industries and our government continue to make the elimination of occupational illness, injury and fatality a top priority. We communicate within the OHS system on a continuous basis to raise awareness of new initiatives, emerging issues and more. For this purpose, the Council released a number of statements to industry stakeholders and partners. These include:
- statement in December 2020, encouraging workplaces to stay alert and to follow CPO procedures and COVID‑19 guidance.
- A statement in January 2021, encouraging workplaces to foster open dialogue on anti-Black racism and discrimination – and to continue to take action to break down systemic barriers in the workplace.
We also created sub-committees to provide advice, recommendations and proposals on specific topics, including tower cranes and Health and Safety Representative (HSR) training.
Lastly, we would also like to thank Ron Kelusky, the ministry’s former CPO. His work has been key in strengthening the OHS system. The province is healthier and safer because of his efforts. He has led and inspired by showing the power of working closely with our partners to achieve common goals. He has also guided key players to be more data-driven, more results-focused and more accountable. Prevention Works is truly a testament to the impact he has had on health and safety in Ontario.
The Council would also like to welcome Dr. Joel Moody as the newly appointed CPO. We are excited to work alongside Dr. Moody in the years ahead. Together, we will continue to promote health and safety in the workplaces of our province.
Prevention Council members, 2020–2021:
National Health and Safety Representative, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
Fire Chief, Cambridge Fire Department
Patrick Bourgeois (Interim Chair)
Construction Manager, Peter Kiewit Sons ULC
Business Manager/Financial Secretary, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Vice President of Health, Safety & Environment, EllisDon
Vice President Workplace Health and Safety Services, WSIB
Manager, Technica Mining
Colin de Raaf
Director of Training, CLAC
Manager, Training and Development GTA, NORCAT
Dr. Isra Levy
Vice President of Medical Affairs and Innovation, Canadian Blood Services
Insulator, Local 95
Erin Oliver (Chair)
Vice President of Health, Safety and Sustainability, Modern Niagara Group Inc.
Patricia Pereira Janicas
Director, Health & Safety, Kenaidan Contracting Ltd
Plant Chairperson, Tormont-Concord Unifor Local 112
Executive Director, LiUNA Local 183
Director, Chair of the Regulatory Committee, Ontario Petroleum Institute
James St. John
Business Manager/Financial Secretary, Central Ontario Building Trades
President, Tickner and Associates Inc.