Ontario expands safety training and resources to keep workers safe
|Paul Andre, President and CEO of Workplace Safety North, says the announcement of increased funding is welcome news for all the prevention system partners as they look to continue the important work of helping make Ontario workplaces safer.|
Today, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (Ministry) announced the province is investing an additional $12.5 million in Ontario’s six health and safety associations, which includes Workplace Safety North (WSN).
The associations provide safety training and resources to businesses and workers across the province. The investment supports organizations like Workplace Safety North, which helped rescue 39 miners trapped underground in Sudbury in September 2021, and strengthen worker safety in critical industries from manufacturing to forestry.
“Workplace Safety North will put the additional funding to good use,” says Paul Andre, WSN President and CEO. “We serve the Ontario mining and forest products industries, and this funding helps enhance the important sector-specific health and safety training and consulting services we offer.
“Not only is WSN a government-approved provider of Working at Heights Safety Training and Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification Training, but it also develops and delivers sector-specific health and safety training. We are piloting a new hybrid training system that allows participants to attend either in person or virtually, and in this way make important training more accessible and cost-effective.”
WSN also administers the Ontario Mine Rescue program and maintains a network of mine rescue stations across the province that ensure mines within a specified geographic area have adequate emergency response capability. Ontario Mine Rescue has trained and equipped thousands of volunteers who have fought fires, rescued injured personnel, and responded professionally to a wide variety of incidents in provincial mines over the past eight decades.
“Last year, WSN Health and Safety Specialists and Ontario Mine Rescue Officers supplied more than 12,000 training days in mining, mine rescue and forestry health and safety across the province.
“This new funding allows WSN to build on our current services aimed at keeping workers healthy and safe. It will help expand the work WSN is doing on helping industry identify the greatest risks it faces and providing support to reduce those risks. This includes the new Risk Management Awards, where we want to recognize industry for managing the top risk in their sector.
“Much of what WSN does is at no additional cost to the industries it serves, so this funding allows WSN to expand events like the Battery Electric Vehicle Symposium aimed at improved safety when new technology is being introduced to industry," notes Andre.
With health and safety specialists located across the province, WSN and its legacy organizations have been helping make Ontario workplaces safer for more than 100 years. Businesses and communities call upon WSN for expert advice. For more information, contact Workplace Safety North.
- Health and safety associations are independent, not-for-profit corporations that deliver workplace health and safety programs on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development. They include:
- Together, the health and safety associations delivered over 64,000 training sessions last year.
- Over one million workers have successfully completed standardized working at heights training since the program’s inception.
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.