Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

December 16, 2010 10:53 ET

OFL Hopes for New Era in Workplace Health and Safety With Release of Expert Panel Report

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 16, 2010) - The OFL is today offering its congratulations to Premier Dalton McGuinty, Labour Minister Peter Fonseca and Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety Tony Dean for their efforts on behalf of Ontario workers.

The Expert Advisory Panel report is the most comprehensive review of Ontario's health and safety system in 30 years. Its 46 recommendations will result in fewer workplace deaths, injuries and occupational diseases and, if implemented, will launch a new era for workers.

"Previous governments ignored our collective demands for action and opted instead for tinkering with a system that desperately needed an overhaul and a new framework. For workers, that reluctance meant continued jeopardy, and too often, tragedy," says OFL President Sid Ryan. "But today, for the first time in decades, we are actually filled with some hope."

In particular, the OFL welcomes the stronger protection from reprisals for workers who try to exercise their rights for a healthy and safe workplace; more extensive training of workers and supervisors; tougher penalties for those who place workers at risk of death or serious injury; a stronger role for labour in the decisions that are made in the prevention and enforcement system.

"If the government adopts these recommendations in their entirety, they will result in a paradigm shift: employers who put workers in harm's way will be viewed with the same disdain as drunk drivers who endanger the public," says Ryan.

The OFL will remain vigilant to ensure the new prevention council and executive keep the best interests of workers central in all of their decisions.

The tragic deaths of four migrant workers who were killed when their scaffolding collapsed preceded the appointment of the Expert Advisory Panel. These deaths were the catalyst for the OFL's high-profile Kill a Worker, Go to Jail campaign. They were also at the forefront of the OFL panel appointee's work and recommendations.

The OFL has been credited for its tenacity in dramatically raising the profile of health and safety issues, province-wide.

Contact Information

  • Ontario Federation of Labour
    Sid Ryan
    Ontario Federation of Labour
    Lynn Simmons
    Communications Director