Bill 160 receives Royal Assent

As part of the Government’s commitment to act on the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety that was led by Tony Dean, Bill 160, the Occupational Health and Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2011 was adopted.

The Bill amends two statutes: the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. The amendments to the legislation are intended to assist the Ministry of Labour in implementing the recommendations flowing from the Expert Advisory Panel’s report, which was released in December 2010.

One major change resulting from Bill 160 is the transfer of responsibility for occupational injury and illness prevention from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to the Ministry of Labour. The repeal of Part II of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997, which deals with prevention, will come into force on April 1st, 2012, or earlier if so proclaimed.

The Bill 160 amendments aim to: facilitate development of standardized training for workers, allow for the creation of a Prevention Council, and create the position of Chief Prevention Officer (CPO) within the Ministry.

On August 31st, 2011, George Gritziotis, the founding executive director of the Construction Sector Council, was appointed as Ontario’s first CPO. He will be responsible for establishing a provincial occupational health and safety strategy, ensuring that prevention activities are aligned across various workplace health and safety partners, and providing advice regarding workplace injury and occupational disease prevention, as well as related funding. Mr. Gritziotis will also provide an annual report on the performance of the occupational health and safety system to the Minister of Labour.

The Interim Prevention Council continues to work toward the development of a permanent Prevention Council, and to work with the Ministry to implement the Expert Panel’s recommendations. Bird Richard will continue to keep its readers apprised of legislative developments.