TORONTO — Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is shelving a requirement that some members of Joint Health and Safety Committees attend a five-day training course outside of the workplace for certification.
Instead, Minister of Labour Laurie Scott announced Jan. 31, workers will be able to take courses online.
The committees and training are mandatory at workplaces in Ontario with more than 20 workers and require at least two certified members. Ontario has 50,000 such workplaces, said a statement. Some businesses are forced to pay for travel and accommodation costs while their employees take the certification course, Scott said.
The reforms will save Ontario businesses approximately $5 million per year, the ministry said.
The changes also include a simplification of requirements, removing “red tape,” and extending the time to complete the second part of training to within a year of completing the first part, providing more time for employers to schedule training.
“Joint health and safety committees are a cornerstone of a well-functioning workplace internal responsibility system. These improvements will help workplaces promote a strong health and safety culture by meeting the needs of both employers and workers,” said Ron Kelusky, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer.
Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas said in a statement this decision is putting workers’ safety at risk.
“Premier (Doug) Ford is cutting corners and is gambling with the lives of Ontario workers,” Thomas said. “He is putting a price tag on the welfare of workers.”