Ontario Harmonizes Workplace Enforcement Blitzes

he Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced it is coordinating the province’s scheduled proactive enforcement blitz for the occupational health and safety program and the employment standards program.
“Coordinating the schedules highlights the importance the ministry places on protecting workers’ rights under both the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), and enhancing employers’ awareness of their responsibilities,” the ministry said in a statement.

Blitz findings are generally reported soon after completion. The ministry tracks each sector to determine if the blitzes result in long-lasting improvements in compliance and fewer injuries and fewer breaches of employment standards.

Workplace injuries and fatalities can usually be traced to a few root causes that may vary by sector, the ministry said. Occupational health and safety inspectors conduct proactive blitzes on sector-specific hazards; these are also designed to raise awareness and increase compliance with the OHSA.

Employment standards officers also visit employers to check compliance with core ESA standards, such as displaying the Employment Standards poster, wage statements, unauthorized deductions, record keeping, hours of work, eating periods, overtime pay, minimum wage, public holidays and vacation with pay. They focus particularly on sectors where there is a history of employment standards violations and where vulnerable workers are employed, the ministry said.

A complete list of the enforcement blitz schedule for 2013 is available on the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s website.