Evaluating the impact of mandatory awareness training on occupational health and safety vulnerability in Ontario

Reasons for the study

On July 2014, the province of Ontario introduced new regulations making occupational health and safety (OHS) awareness training mandatory for all employees and supervisors. The required training included instruction on duties and rights of workers, supervisors and employers, an overview of other health and safety actors such as joint health and safety committees and the Ministry of Labour, and a review of common workplace hazards and occupational illness. The change was designed to increase worker and supervisor knowledge of basic OHS rights and responsibilities and improve the health and safety of Ontario’s most vulnerable workers. The Institute for Work & Health evaluated the impact of the regulatory change on OHS vulnerability in Ontario.

Objectives of the study

  • To measure four dimensions of OHS vulnerability in a sample of workers in Ontario and British Columbia before and after the introduction of mandatory awarenesss training in Ontario
  • To compare changes in the dimensions of OHS vulnerability before and after the training regulation was implemented in Ontario, as compared to British Columbia where no such regulatory change occurred

Anticipated results/impact

The results of this project are relevant to multiple stakeholder groups involved in the prevention of work injury and illness. The findings may help policy-makers evaluate the impact of population-level health and safety education and awareness-raising initiatives.

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Project status


Research team

  • Peter Smith, Institute for Work & Health (PI)
  • Curtis Breslin, Institute for Work & Health
  • Morgan Lay, Institute for Work & Health
  • Ron Saunders, Institute for Work & Health
  • Emile Tompa, Institute for Work & Health
  • Anthony LaMontagne, Deakin University

Participating organizaitons

  • Public Services Health & Safety Association
  • Workers Health & Safety Centre
  • Workplace Safety & Prevention Services

Funded by

Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ontario Ministry of Labour's Research Opportunities Program