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Ontario’s New Mandatory OHS Awareness Training: What’s Required and How to Comply?

Hard Hat and Caution Tape

The regulation enabling Ontario’s new mandatory OHS awareness and training scheme went live on Friday, November 22, 2013.  Ontario Regulation No. 297/13 (Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training) (the “Regulation”) requires employers covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA”) to ensure that all workers and supervisors complete a basic OHS awareness training program.  The requirement becomes mandatory on July 1, 2014.

Training and Administrative Requirements

The Regulation aims to reduce preventable workplace injuries by raising worker and supervisors’ awareness about their respective rights and responsibilities under the OHSA.

To be valid under the Regulation, the OHS awareness training program must cover a number of mandatory topics.  For workers, these topics include:

  • The duties and rights of workers under the OHSA
  • The duties of employers and supervisors under the OHSA
  • The roles of health and safety representatives and Joint Health and Safety Committees under the OHSA
  • The roles of the Ministry of Labour, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, and other entities with respect to workplace health and safety
  • Identifying and responding to common workplace hazards
  • The requirements under the WHMIS regulation
  • Occupational illness, including the notion of latency

The training requirements for supervisors largely mirrors those for workers, with the addition of the following topics:

  • How to recognize, assess and control workplace hazards
  • How to evaluate controls on workplace safety
  • Sources of information on occupational health and safety

After completing the OHS awareness training program a worker or supervisor will receive a compliance certificate that is valid for the remainder of his or her career.

Employers who can prove that their workers and supervisors have already completed such training are exempt.

Finally, employers are also now required to maintain a record of the OHS awareness programs completed by its workers and supervisors.

How to Comply?  Introducing OHS Comply by Heenan Blaikie

To help employers successfully meet these requirements, Heenan Blaikie has created OHS Comply, which will be available soon (sign up to receive updates).

OHS Comply will provide both online and offline training and a comprehensive online OHS topic hub resource that is compliance focused, so employers can ensure that their legal, OHS, and supervisory staff are kept up-to-date and compliant with new and changing OHS laws and regulations in Canada.

OHS Comply training solutions have been created by our national team including experienced OHS lawyers, and former OHS Prosecutors, to engage employees through the use of situational videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth topic hubs, newsletters, articles, checklists and other tools, and provide ongoing proof of training.

Our powerful learning management system (LMS) platform provides employers with robust reporting features that allow for reliable, accurate, and up-to-date records.  Employers will appreciate the cost-effective, flexible and comprehensive training solutions while employees will enjoy self-paced learning to fit their schedule.

To learn more about OHS Comply and how it can help your organization, please visit

Kevin MacNeill of our OHS group will also be presenting on the Regulation by way of an online webinar on January 22, 2014 – stay tuned for more details.

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