TORONTO – The Ontario government is continuing to protect workers and people from COVID-19 by providing businesses with new tools and educational resources, including a new safety plan builder and additional inspectors. More than 100 new health and safety inspectors are graduating today and will be visiting workplaces in construction, industrial and health care settings. With the support of provincial offences officers, the inspectors will be deployed to help educate workers and businesses about the newly-launched vaccine certificate.
“As we fight the fourth wave of COVID-19, we need all hands on deck,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “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.”
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.
To help businesses stay on top of health and safety guidance, the province has also launched the new Workplace Safety Plan Builder, 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 safety plan builder will lead employers through an easy process to create and update an online safety plan that is right for their workplace. It also allows for easy customization and 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.
“Running a small business during COVID-19 is a challenge unlike any other,” continued Minister McNaughton. “Our 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.”
Having a written safety plan is mandatory for businesses permitted to be open under the Reopening Ontario Act.
Since March 2020, provincial inspectors have conducted 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.
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