Ontario’s occupational health and safety system consists of:

  • key partners, known as the system partners
  • a broader network of partners

These partners work together to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities, and support the goals of the Occupational Health and Safety System Strategy.

Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) oversees and coordinates Ontario’s occupational health and safety system. The ministry creates and leads a provincial workplace health and safety strategy to prevent illnesses and injuries.

The ministry also:

  • develops laws on occupational health and safety and workplace insurance
  • communicates and enforces occupational health and safety law in Ontario workplaces
  • sets standards for health and safety training
  • measures and evaluates the effectiveness of the provincial workplace health and safety strategy
  • measures and evaluates the impact of the occupational health and safety system’s programs and initiatives

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is an independent agency of the ministry and is entirely funded by Ontario businesses. Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is one of the largest insurance organizations in North America, covering over five million people in more than 300,000 workplaces across Ontario.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board provides:

  • wage-loss benefits and medical coverage
  • no-fault collective liability insurance
  • support to help people get back to work
  • access to industry-specific health and safety information
  • funding to the health and safety system, including ministry health and safety activities
  • health and safety programs for Ontario employers

Health and safety associations

Using funding provided by WSIB, the ministry funds six health and safety associations (HSAs).

Four of the HSAs are sector-based:

Two of the HSAs serve people in all sectors:

Each Health and Safety Association is an independent not-for-profit corporation, governed by a board of directors. They deliver front-line prevention programs on behalf of the ministry, providing services and information directly to:

  • employers and workers
  • joint health and safety committees
  • medical practitioners
  • unions

Health and Safety Associations services include:

  • delivering training and creating tools that can be used in workplaces
  • consultation and clinical services
  • supporting industry-specific programs such as mine rescue training

Research centres

The ministry has six research centre partners that are vital to the occupational health and safety system:

These research centres create and share occupational health and safety knowledge, and support how that information can be applied. Scientists at the centres:

  • share knowledge to find solutions to existing and emerging health and safety issues
  • inform policy makers
  • help identify the results of initiatives undertaken by the system

The centres help strengthen Ontario’s knowledge base by providing opportunities for emerging scientists in the field. Their research is often internationally recognized.

The broader health and safety network

Advisory groups

Prevention Council

The Prevention Council advises the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development and the Chief Prevention Officer on a wide range of occupational health and safety issues, including:

Section 21 committees

Section 21 committees are formed by the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to give sector-specific advice to the minister on health and safety issues.

Currently, there are eight Section 21 committees:

  • Provincial Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee – Construction
  • Provincial Labour-Management Safety Committee – Electrical & Utilities
  • Mining Legislative Review Committee
  • Ontario Police Health and Safety Advisory Committee
  • Film and Television Section 21 Advisory Committee
  • Fire Service Section 21 Advisory Committee
  • Health Care Section 21 Advisory Committee
  • Paramedic Services Section 21 Committee

Many of the committees also produce guidance materials to help the sector to comply with legislation, clarify the sector’s legislative responsibilities, and exchange information and advice on emerging issues. They may also develop subcommittees to address sub-sector health and safety needs.

To ensure that employer and worker needs are met, all Section 21 committees must have equal representation from labour and management.

Other advisory committees

The ministry also participates in other provincial advisory committees. They include:

  • Technical Advisory Committee – Farming Sector
  • Live Performance Advisory Committee
  • Petrochem Forum Steering Committee
  • Arborist Industry Safe Work Practices Committee

Office of the Employer Adviser and Office of the Worker Adviser

The Office of the Employer Adviser (OEA) and Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) are independent agencies of the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. The OEA works with employers, while the OWA works with non-union workers. Each provides their clients with free and confidential advice, representation and education on all workplace insurance issues and on occupational health and safety reprisal issues.

Approved training providers

Training is key to improving worker health and safety. In Ontario, training providers who wish to teach joint health and safety committee (JHSC) certification programs or working at heights training programs must have their programs approved by the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO). This is so that everyone who has been trained receives the same level of information.

As of August 13, 2020, there are 226 approved providers delivering working at heights training and 58 training providers have been approved by the CPO to conduct JHSC Certification training (either part 1, part 2 or refresher).

Training providers can apply for CPO approval to conduct working at heights training or JHSC training at any time.

Other partners

In addition to its official partners, the ministry works with, and gets advice from, a variety of organizations and individuals through ongoing and project-specific groups.

Other partners include:

  • a prevention employer partner advisory table
  • other Ontario ministries
  • non-governmental organizations
  • private-sector organizations
  • members of the public

These partnerships and the collaborative work that comes out of them help to identify issues and direct prevention efforts throughout the system.

To continue to improve health and safety, the ministry strives to partner with groups and organizations that are committed to health and safety excellence. There is a role in the system for everyone who has a stake or interest in improving health and safety in Ontario’s workplaces.