Ontario's health and safety training heading to 21st century
On Jan. 31. 2019, Ontario Minister of Labour, Laurie Scott announced changes to bring the province's health and safety training into the 21st century. These changes mean 50,000 Ontario workplaces no longer need to send workers for a five-day classroom course. By cutting red tape, Minister Scott is providing flexibility by making online courses fully available to Ontario businesses, reducing the time needed to take the first part of the course.
Spending up to five days away from family was unfair to Ontario workers and was a major cost to Ontario job creators. Minister Scott is reducing red tape, helping workers and moving Ontario training standards into the 21st century. These changes will save Ontario businesses and other organizations an estimated $5 million per year.
The changes include:
- promoting flexibility by allowing training to take place solely online for the first part of the learning, in addition to classroom, blended and distance learning.
- simplifying the requirements by removing complicated rules and red tape.
- extending the time to complete the second part of training to within a year of completing the first part, providing more time for employers to schedule training.
"I am committed to creating fair and competitive processes for business, dynamic labour markets and safe workplaces for every worker in Ontario," said Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour. "Our government will make Ontario Open for Business and Open for Jobs by making our province the best jurisdiction in North America to recruit, retain and reward the workers of today and tomorrow."
Allowing the option of training to take place solely online - in addition to the existing options of classroom, distance and blended learning - reduces travel and accommodation costs for businesses. Businesses will no longer have to pay for travel and accommodation costs for employees to travel for up to five days to take in-person training. These changes will reduce burdens and costs to businesses, while ensuring standardized high-quality training is accessible to all workers across Ontario.
"Joint health and safety committees are a cornerstone of a well-functioning workplace internal responsibility system. These improvements will help workplaces promote a strong health and safety culture by meeting the needs of both employers and workers," said Ron Kelusky, Ontario's Chief Prevention Officer.These amendments will simplify requirements for certification, improve access to training, and save employers and workers time and money. The improvements include:
- allowing Part One JHSC training to be fully delivered via eLearning;
- adjusting the minimum duration for eLearning to utilize technology and reflect self-paced learning;
- extending the time to complete Part Two JHSC training to within a year of completing Part One JHSC training, providing more time for employers to schedule training; and
- simplifying rules to create straightforward timelines for training and eliminating the need to submit forms.
Learners will be required to cover the same content and achieve the same learning outcomes, regardless of delivery mode. eLearning has been shown to reduce the time it takes to complete the course while covering the same amount of material. One day, or 6.5 hours, is the minimum duration for eLearning, but the learner could take longer to complete the course content.
The option of eLearning will only be available for Part One training. Part Two JHSC training will continue to be delivered in a classroom setting with a minimum duration of 2 days.
Once the changes come into effect, the new requirements will be outlined in the JHSC Certification Training Program Standard. There will also be changes to the training provider application. If you have a JHSC Certification eLearning program that you wish to offer you will be able to apply to have your training program approved. The process for applying will remain, however there will be new guidance available for applicants. Please visit the ministry’s website for more information.
These changes are expected to come into effect after the updated Standard is posted later this year. The changes will modernize the way JHSC Certification Training is delivered and allow greater flexibility in learning options. Increased eLearning will make training more accessible to workers across the province and reduce burden and costs to Ontario businesses. Accessible, affordable training is a key part of ensuring the safety of Ontario workers.
For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour website.