TORONTO — Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement to mark the province’s inaugural Occupational Safety and Health Day:
“Today, for the first time, we mark Occupational Safety and Health Day here in Ontario. On this day, during North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, we recognize and promote safety on the job. I would like to thank my Parliamentary Assistant, the Member of Provincial Parliament for Burlington, Jane McKenna, on bringing forward the legislation to create this important day.
As the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, my top priority is keeping Ontario workers safe on the job. Each of us – government, employers, workers and others – have a role to play in preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home, and in our communities.
Workplaces are facing greater challenges than ever before in keeping workers safe. In addition to everyday hazards, Ontario workplaces have had to put in place new and increased measures to protect workers from COVID-19. To support these employers, we have developed guidance on creating a safety plan, provided workplace posters in multiple languages and delivered safety-related webinars. Additional resources can be found at Ontario.ca/covidsafety.
Essential workers continue to be needed on the frontlines to build hospitals, testing centres, broadband and other critical infrastructure our province needs. We’ve inspected these worksites regularly throughout the pandemic, but with new variants spreading, it is even more important that we continue to ensure worksites are following the rules and that workers are protected. That’s why we have hired over 100 new inspectors — the highest number Ontario has ever had. These frontline health and safety leaders have done over 47,000 workplaces inspections related to COVID-19 to help keep workers safe on the job.
Today, on Occupational Safety and Health Day, I encourage you to hold health and safety at the forefront of your thoughts and actions. To employers: commit to training and raising awareness about best safety practices. To workers: make sure you understand your right to know the safest and best ways to handle equipment, technology, and hazards.
Now, more than ever, we all have a responsibility to protect workers. Together, Ontario can continue to be among the safest places to work in the world.”