Ontario workplaces need to meet certain training requirements to comply with federal and provincial regulations. Though every organization’s training needs are unique, providing training to every worker on these four topics is mandatory for almost every workplace in Ontario:
Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
Worker/Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness
Workplace Violence and Harassment
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Here’s an overview of key training requirements in Ontario and why they’re mandatory.
AODA 1.9 million people in Ontario have a disability and that number is growing. In 2005, the Ontario government passed the Accessibility for Ontarian’s with Disabilities Act (AODA). This legislation made AODA training mandatory for all employers and workers in Ontario. The aim of the training is to give workers the knowledge to confidently interact with people with disabilities.
WHMIS WHMIS stands for Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System. The system is designed to provide information on how to safely use, handle, and store hazardous materials. WHMIS training has been mandatory for Canadian workplaces since 1988. In 2018, it became mandatory to train on the new system of labeling called the Globally Harmonized System (GHS). WHMIS training is mandatory for all Canadian workers who work with or are exposed to hazardous substances. (WHMIS 2015)
Worker or Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness Basic occupational health and safety awareness training is required for all workers and supervisors in Ontario covered by the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act). The training is meant to raise general awareness about rights and responsibilities. There are two different courses: one meant for workers and one meant for supervisors. The supervisor’s course outlines some of the additional health and safety responsibilities of the supervisor.
In addition to basic awareness training for every worker, provincially-regulated businesses with more than 20 employees are required to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee. The committee needs to have at least one worker and one manager who is certified. They can become certified by successfully completing Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) Certification Training. JHSC Certification Training is more in-depth than the basic awareness course.
Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace violence and harassment is more common than many would like to believe. A 2017 survey of Canadians revealed that 60% of respondents had experienced harassment in the past two years. In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) states that it’s the employer’s responsibility to develop and enforce a workplace violence and harassment policy. Employers also need to provide training to workers on the contents of the policy. Supervisors will need additional training. They need to be trained on how to follow up on incidents and complaints. Employers or supervisors may be held liable under Ontario’s human rights system if harassment occurs in the workplace. They may also be liable for failing to take proper steps to prevent harassment, such as providing training.