OHS Change in Ontario Marches Forward: Bill 160 Implementing The Dean Panel Recommendations

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Following close on the heels of the Dean Panel Report, the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety, which set out forty-six detailed recommendations to change the OHS system in Ontario, the government has moved to promptly implement the recommendations. Bill 160, which would amend the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and Workplace Safety Insurance Act, 1997 (WSIA) was introduced March 3, 2011. The government has already appointed an interim Prevention Council, consisting of many of the Dean Panel members, and there is every indication that a new Chief Prevention Officer, recommended by the Dean Panel, will be in place by June 2011.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has been actively establishing an implementation team consisting of its own personnel and others from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) and existing health and safety associations. It is fully expected that implementation of all Dean Panel recommendations will require not only changes to the OHSA and WSIA, but development of numerous new regulations and operational policies and procedures at the MOL. In short, implementation will take time. However, our first glimpse of what may be in store for the OHS system in Ontario comes from Bill 160. Here are some of the key Bill 160 proposals in a nutshell.

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