Ontario Announces Occupational Illness Registry

On October 10, 2023, the Ontario Government announced that it would be creating Canada’s first-ever Occupational Exposure Registry to address many of the 41 recommendations set out in the province’s recent report: the Occupational Disease Landscape Review.

The Registry, which is expected in 2025, intends to track occupational illness that results from workplace exposure to a physical, chemical or biological agent that could impair the health of workers.

In 2022 alone, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) allowed approximately 40,000 occupational disease claims totalling $82.5 million. The Registry aims to reduce the number of claims by tracking harmful exposure levels, helping diagnose workplace diseases faster, and improving worker compensation, which in turn aims to reduce costs to the healthcare system.

Furthermore, the Registry will include comprehensive exposure records, identify at-risk workers, help with early diagnosis, and potentially contribute to expanding the list of presumptive illnesses in Ontario to improve worker compensation.

In addition to the Registry, Ontario has begun work on delivering some of the report’s recommendations, including developing a web-based Silica Control Tool which aims to assist in detecting and monitoring workplace silica exposure in the construction and mining industries.