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Ontario adds extra labour inspectors, workplace safety tool to help business in face of COVID-19

Monday, September 27, 2021 @ 1:51 PM | By Amanda Jerome

On Sept. 27, the Ontario government announced the launch of a Workplace Safety Plan Builder to “help businesses stay on top of health and safety guidance,” as well as extra labour inspectors to ensure COVID-19 safety requirements are being adhered to.

According to a government release, over “100 new health and safety inspectors are graduating today and will be visiting workplaces in construction, industrial and health care settings.”

The release noted that with “the support of provincial offences officers, the inspectors will be deployed to help educate workers and businesses about the newly-launched vaccine certificate.”

“The addition of these graduates means Ontario now has a total of 507 labour inspectors, the largest ever number in provincial history. Over the coming weeks, in consultation with local public health units, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspectors and other provincial offences officers will continue conducting inspection and education campaigns to ensure businesses are following COVID-19 safety requirements,” the release explained.

The Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, said in a statement that “as we fight the fourth wave of COVID-19, we need all hands on deck.”

“With 100 more inspectors, these boots on the ground across our province will help keep workers safe and support businesses to remain open. Our government’s inspectors will be patient, lead with education, and be reasonable to business owners and frontline workers implementing the vaccine certificate,” he added.

According to the release, the new Workplace Safety Plan Builder is a “free interactive tool making it easier for workplaces to create and update their COVID-19 safety plans.”

“The tool was developed specifically to support small businesses and was designed with their input,” the release added, also noting that “having a written safety plan is mandatory for businesses permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act.”

McNaughton said the “safety plan builder is here to help our local merchants and shopkeepers create and adjust their plans with the click of a button, having confidence they’re following the latest health and safety measures for their employees and customers.”

According to the release, the plan builder “will lead employers through an easy process to create and update an online safety plan that is right for their workplace” and allows for “easy customization.”

“Employers who sign up for updates will be notified when information is changed, allowing them to stay up to date with current guidance and requirements,” the release added.

Since March 2020, the release explained, provincial inspectors have done “more than 65,000 COVID-related workplace inspections, issuing 79,200 orders and stopping unsafe work 102 times.”

“Data from the most recent visits, conducted over the summer, shows the education assistance provided by inspectors helped double the number of businesses who were fully compliant with their responsibilities under the Reopening Ontario Act,” the release added.

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