Health & Safety
Ontario to reward safe employers
Ontario will reward its safest employers with an estimated $140 million for excellence in occupational health and safety as part of a new program.
By Colleen Cross
Toronto – Ontario will reward its safest employers with an estimated $140 million for excellence in occupational health and safety as part of a new program.
The program, Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers, will formally recognize employers who successfully implement health and safety programs in their workplaces, said a news release from the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
The financial rewards will come in the form of Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) rebates over a three-year period.
“We know that good health and safety practices save lives,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “But they also save money. This program is a reflection of that fact.”
According to the release, research has shown that organized, systematic approaches to health and safety increase worker participation in health and safety practices, encourage ongoing improvement and help reduce workplace injuries and illness. It notes that similar programs in Europe and Japan have resulted in a decline in workplace accidents.
The program is open to any employer in Ontario, regardless of size or sector. Led by the Office of the Chief Prevention Officer (CPO), this ministry program was developed based on feedback from labour, employers and other stakeholders.
The WSIB is also building on the program by launching Health and Safety Excellence, a new program that will promote continual health and safety improvement in Ontario workplaces.
While the provincial program recognizes employers who have already implemented a health and safety management system, the WSIB’s program will encourage employers without an existing program to develop one.
The names of recognized employers will be posted on the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s website. These employers will be able to brand themselves as CPO-recognized.
An occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) is a tool that provides an employer with a systematic approach to managing health and safety in the workplace. Employers may use one of the existing OHSMS standards accredited by the Chief Prevention Officer or they may develop their own system and apply to have it accredited by the province.
For more information, employers can contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Prevention Office at SOSE@ontario.ca.