Being a safe employer pays off: Ontario announces program to reward excellence in health and safety

The Government of Ontario has announced that it will provide $140 million in WSIB (Workplace Safety and Insurance Board) rebates over three years for employers who successfully implement occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) in the workplace. The program is open to any employer regardless of sector or size, and while it will recognize existing safety management systems, it will also encourage organizations that don’t have safety management systems to create them. 

This program is the first of its kind in Canada. The incentive is part of Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers, a voluntary program that recognizes employers who are working towards lowering the accident and injury rate among Ontario workers. The program is accredited by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) under the authority of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development with the goal of promoting health and safety in the workplace and encouraging continuous improvement in existing safety management systems. The program has two parts: 

  • Accrediting employers’ OHSMS, and 
  • Recognizing employers who have implemented an accredited OHSMS. 

The Ministry has created a standard to help employers who wish to build their own OHSMS. Alternatively, organizations can use any of the following recognized standards: 

Organizations looking to be recognized by the program must meet the Employer Recognition Criteria, which include: 

  • Demonstrating verification of the successful implementation of the OHSMS by third-party audit. 
  • Demonstrating compliance with Ontario’s workplace health and safety legislation. 
  • Demonstrating worker participation in the workplace OHSMS across the organization. 

Organizations that are recognized by the Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers program will be posted on the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development website and can brand themselves as “CPO Recognized.” This is an excellent opportunity for organizations to distinguish themselves as safe employers in the marketplace. 

The Ontario Government will begin accepting applications to the program in early 2020 and can contact the office of the CPO at SOSE@ontario.ca. In the meantime, see how Intelex’s safety management solutions can help you build an OHSMS that will keep your workers safe and create better value for your organization. 

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