Ontario provides additional safety funding; updates working at heights
By Adam FreillConstruction Health & Safety
Province updating mandatory working at heights training programs and providing additional funding to safety associations.
At the same time as it is updating its mandatory working at heights training, the Ontario government is also investing an additional $12.5 million in Ontario’s six health and safety associations. The organizations provide safety training and resources to businesses and workers across the province.
The funding, says the government, will support organizations like Workplace Safety North, which helped rescue 39 miners trapped underground in Sudbury in September 2021, and strengthen worker safety in critical industries.
“Every worker in Ontario deserves to come home safely to their family at the end of their shift,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. “In addition to recently raising fines for occupational health and safety violations to the highest level in the country, our government will continue to invest in education, prevention and enforcement to ensure every worker in Ontario has the protections they deserve.”
The associations included in the announced funding are: Infrastructure Health & Safety Association; Public Services Health & Safety Association; Workplace Safety & Prevention Services; Workplace Safety North; Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers; and Workers Health and Safety Centre. Combined, these associations delivered more than 64,000 training sessions last year.
Changes to the province’s working at heights training standards are aimed at addressing one of the leading causes of workplace deaths in industries like construction. The updates will help address safety knowledge of participants when working in various settings, including with ladders, skylights and damaged equipment. Over one million workers have completed working at heights training in the province since it began in 2015.
“The government’s continued investment into the upkeep and advancement of preventative education and training ensures that workers are better informed and prepared on construction sites,” stated Giovanni Cautillo, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association. “Updating the standards for mandatory working at heights training will directly translate into saving workers from potential exposure to incidents and accidents. The OGCA applauds the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for this advancement.”
Working at heights training providers have until April 1, 2024, to update their programs and ensure they fulfill the requirements of the revised working at heights training program and training provider standards.