Ontario is rewarding employers for safe practices through a brand new incentive program.

Last week the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development announced the launch of the fledgling program called Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers (SOSE). 

This program broadens the vision of the ministry in encouraging good practices, as it continues to regulate industries. There are incentives as well as punitive measures for substandard practices.

This recognition and incentive program is the first of its kind in Canada. The program involves Ontario’s Workers Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) providing $140 million in paying out incentives to employers, as rebates over a three year period.

This ministry program is open to any employer in Ontario, regardless of sector size. The program, led by the office of the CPO (Chief Prevention Officer), was developed based on feedback from the ministry, employers and other stakeholders.

It involves employers having to use an occupational health and safety management system tool as a systematic approach to managing health and safety in their workplaces. Employers can even apply to develop their own system and submit it to be accredited by the province.

The names of recognized employers will be displayed on the website of the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and receive the designation of being CPO-recognized.

“We know that good health and safety practices save lives,” said Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, during the announcement, “but they also save money. This program is a reflection of that fact. Our government wants to do everything it can to make workers safer and help businesses save money.”

WSIB is also building on the program by launching Health and Safety Excellence, promoting continual health and safety improvement in Ontario’s workplaces.

“Our new program gives [workplaces] a roadmap to improve health and safety, “ said WSIB Chair Elizabeth Witmer, “whether they’re just getting started or what to optimize processes they already have in place.”

Research shows that an organized, systematic approach to health and safety increases worker participation, helps reduce workplace injuries and illnesses, as well as promotes ongoing improvement. Similar programs in Japan and Europe have shown a decline in workplace accidents.

For information on how to apply to Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers, employers can contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s Prevention Office at SOSE@ontario.ca. For more information, see the Ontario news release here.