Bill 160 Ordered For Third Reading

Posted by: Posted Date: May 16, 2011 0 Comments

Bill 160 Is expected to become law this summer in Ontario.

Following the publication of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health & Safety in December 2010 (often referred to as ‘The Dean Report’), Bill 160, Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011 was drafted to address its recommendations.

After the first and second readings the Bill was passed to the Standing Committee to consider changes to the Bill  following the debates. Bill 160 is described as “ An Act to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with respect to occupational health and safety and other matters.”  The Committee held public hearings in Toronto between April 11  and May 4, 2011. It then published suggested changes to Bill 160, which can be found at: http://www.ontla.on.ca/bills/bills-files/39_Parliament/Session2/b160rep_.pdf

As amended this new law will transfer the responsibility for workplace safety from the WSIB to the Ministry of Labour. They will then select a Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) and establish a Prevention Council composed of representatives from trade unions, provincial labour organizations, employers, the WSIB and persons with health & safety expertise. Bill 160 fundamentally changes the rules about who has to be trained in health & safety and how that training is to be conducted in Ontario:

Workplaces with 20 or more employees must already have 2 employees formally trained to serve on their Joint Health and Safety committee (JHSC). It is widely anticipated that the CPO will rule these must have refresher training every three years, as recommended in the Dean Report.

As today, employers with 6-19 employees must appoint a Health & Safety Representative. Bill 160 requires that they be formally trained. (see paragraphs extracted from the proposed amendments below)

What happens now?

Bill 160 has been Ordered for Third Reading after which a final vote will be taken. If the vote is successful the Bill will be recommended for Royal Assent, shortly after which it will given a statute number and become law. This could happen as early as June this year.

This change to the Occupational Health & Safety Act will generate huge demands on all approved training providers. Classroom space to achieve this training may be hard to find. In the past employers were given only 12 months before they are required to comply with new regulations. All providers will struggle to meet the expected demand.

Online Learning Enterprises is working hard to create online versions of some or all of these new courses. Although exact content has not yet been published by the Ministry of Labour we are preparing material we think will be appropriate but will only finalise the courses once this is known.  We expect to have them available 30-60 days following the  date the course details are published by the Chief Prevention Officer and his Council.

Extracts from the amended Bill 160, Health & Safety Representative – Training Requirement:

6. Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Training requirement
(5.1) Unless otherwise prescribed, a constructor or employer shall ensure that a health and safety representative selected under subsection (5) receives training to enable him or her to effectively exercise the powers and perform the duties of a health and safety representative.

(5.2) The training described in subsection (5.1) shall meet such requirements as may be prescribed.
18. (1) Subsection 70 (2) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraphs:
13.2 requiring that the training of health and safety representatives under subsection 8 (5.1) meet such requirements as may be prescribed;

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