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) 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 primary prevention activities. The findings may help policy-makers evaluate the impact of population-level health and safety education and awareness-raising initiatives.

Related presentations

Related interviews and articles

IWH study examines effect of Ontario’s mandatory OHS training on awareness . At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 89, Summer 2017.

Project status


Research team

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

Participating organizations

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

Funded by

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