February 1, 2019
On January 31, 2019, the Ontario government announced that it will be making changes to the training requirements for certified members of a Joint Health and Safety Committee (“JHSC”). According to the government, changes are coming to the training standard that are intended to ease the burden on employers, simplify the training process and improve access to training.
Generally speaking, workplaces at which 20 or more workers are regularly employed are required to have a JHSC with one certified worker member and one certified employer member. Becoming a certified member of a JHSC, requires completion of a total of five days of training delivered by a government-approved provider. Part One of the training spans 19.5 hours, over three days, and is often colloquially referred to as “Act and Regs” training. It covers topics that include occupational health and safety law; rights, duties and responsibilities; hazard recognition, assessment and control and evaluation of hazard controls; and the duties and responsibilities of JHSC’s. Part Two, which is to be taken within six months of completing Part One, runs for 13 hours over two days and focuses on workplace-specific application of the principles of hazard recognition, assessment, and control, and the evaluation of the hazard controls. Finally, to maintain the certification, each certified member must take one day of refresher training every three years
The coming changes to the JHSC certification process will provide the option to complete Part One entirely through eLearning (where the learner sets their own pace and is not instructed in real time) – something that is, currently, not permitted. The government will also vary the minimum duration for eLearning to utilize technology and reflect self-paced learning. This suggests that the instructional times, set out above, may change but it is not clear just what the variance will be. Further, the deadline for completing Part Two will be extended to one year after Part One training has been completed.
The government did not commit to a specific timetable for these changes. However, because they are amendments to the Program Standard for JHSC Training, the Ministry of Labour may be able to make the changes relatively quickly. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as additional details become available.