Bill 160 has been passed!

Following the publication of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health & Safety in December 2010 – The Dean Report, Bill 160, Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011 was drafted to address its recommendations.

On May 18 Bill 160 received its third reading and was carried by 79 votes to 0. This is the last stage before it will be recommended for Royal Assent, shortly after which it will be given a statute number and become law.

What will this mean to Ontario employers?

The answer depends to some degree on how many people are employed in your workplace:

  • If you employ more than 6 but no more than 19 employees you are required to appoint a Health & Safety Representative. Bill 160 requires that they receive formal health and safety training. (see paragraphs extracted from the proposed amendments below)
  • Workplaces with 20 employees or more must have two employees that have successfully completed Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification Training, one representing the workers the other the employer. Bill 160 will require a newer, more prescriptive training program.
  • Mentioned in the Dean Report, but not specifically in Bill 160 is the issue of mandatory health & safety training for young workers. However the debate on May 17thcontained these words:
  • “Then there’s young workers—secondary and post-secondary education. The expert panel has recommended—and we will be moving forward with—new and enhanced efforts to reach out to young workers. We will be developing new materials and programs to help assure that teens entering the workforce know their rights and their responsibilities under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. We owe it to our young people, our children, to give them the knowledge and the tools to keep themselves safe as they enter the workforce.

Also not specifically referred to in Bill 160 but discussed in the readings is the requirement for Certified Members of the JHSC to receive refresher training every three years.

The text of Bill 160 with the now approved amendments can be found at:
http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session2/b160rep_.pdf

What is not especially clear is how the administrative changes to Health and safety enforcement will affect employers. Bill 160 will remove the responsibility of prevention of workplace injury and illness from the WSIB and place it in the Ministry of Labour (MOL) under a new Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) who will be advised by a new Prevention Council. The Prevention Council will be composed of representatives from trade unions, provincial labour organizations, employers, the WSIB and persons with health & safety expertise. These will be powerful entities with the ability to regulate without further actions from Parliament.

Extracts from the amended Bill 160, Health & Safety Representative – Training Requirement:
6. Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Training requirement
(5.1) Unless otherwise prescribed, a constructor or employer shall ensure that a health and safety representative selected under subsection
(5) receivestraining to enable him or her to effectively exercise the powers and perform the duties of a health and safety representative.
(5.2) The training described in subsection (5.1) shall meet such requirements as may be prescribed.

18. (1) Subsection 70 (2) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraphs:
13.2 requiring that the training of health and safety representatives under subsection 8
(5.1) meet such requirements as may be prescribed;

Next Steps?

This change to the Occupational Health & Safety Act will generate huge demands on all approved training providers. Classroom space to achieve this training may be hard to find. In the past employers were given only 12 months before they were required to comply with new regulations. All providers will struggle to meet the expected demand.

OSG is working hard to get new courses ready to meet these new training requirements ready. We plan to have new courses to meet these needs no more than 30 days after content requirements are published by the MOL. These will be either facilitator based classroom or on-line courses or both as appropriate.

Meanwhile, for organizations with over 20 people, we regularly hold classes throughout Ontario to qualify employees to become Certified Members of your Joint Health & Safety Committee.

Bill 160 has been amended by the Standing Committee on Social Policy in Ontario.

Following the publication of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health & Safety in December 2010, Bill 160, Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011 was drafted to address its recommendations.

After the First and second readings the Bill was passed to the Standing Committee consider changes to the Bill following the debates. Bill 160 is described as “ An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with respect to occupational health and safety and other matters.” The Committee held public hearings in Toronto between April 11 and May 4, 2011. It then published suggested changes to Bill 160, which can be found at:

http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session2/b160rep_.pdf

As amended this new law will remove responsibility for workplace safety from the WSIB and place it in the Ministry of Labour in the person of a new Chief Prevention Officer. Also required under the Bill is the establishment of a Prevention Council composed of representatives from trade unions, provincial labour organisations, employers, the WSIB and persons with health & safety expertise.

Bill 160 will also fundamentally change the rules about who has to be trained in health & safety and how that training is to be conducted in Ontario:

  • Workplaces with 20 employees or more must already have two employees trained, one representing the workers the other the employer. A newer, more prescriptive training program is envisaged.
  • As today, employers with 6-19 employees will be required to appoint a Health & Safety Representative. Bill 160 requires that they be formally trained.
  • Training can only be conducted by an ‘Approved Provider’. Although there is no information on how this approval is to be obtained, OSG has been an approved provider under the existing regulations for 10 years.

Next Steps?

Bill 160 has been Ordered for Third Reading after which a final vote will be taken. If the vote is successful the Bill will be recommended for Royal Assent, shortly after which it will given a statute number and become law.

This change to the Occupational Health & Safety Act will generate huge demands on all approved training providers. All will struggle to meet the expected demand. In the past employers were given only 12 months before they are required to comply with new regulations. We recommend that employers begin training as soon as possible.

OSG is working hard to get the new course for safety representatives courses required ready for training as soon as possible after the legislation is enacted. Meanwhile, for enterprises with over 20 people, we regularly hold classes throughout Ontario to qualify employees to become Certified Members of your Joint Health & Safety Committee.

Extracts from the amended Bill 160, Health & Safety Representative – Training Requirement:
6. Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:
Training requirement

(5.1) Unless otherwise prescribed, a constructor or employer shall ensure that a health and safety representative selected under subsection (5) receives training to enable him or her to effectively exercise the powers and perform the duties of a health and safety representative.

(5.2) The training described in subsection (5.1) shall meet such requirements as may be prescribed.
18. (1) Subsection 70 (2) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraphs:
13.2 requiring that the training of health and safety representatives under subsection 8 (5.1) meet such requirements as may be prescribed;

We regularly hold classes throughout Ontario to qualify employees to become Certified Members of your Joint Health & Safety Committee. Click here to visit our Part 1 Certification course page to see course descriptions and course dates. 

 

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