November 27th, 2019

Adding insult to workplace injury: Conservatives want a symbolic workplace safety day after cutting workplace safety

QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford is literally adding insult to injury with his victim-blaming plan to cut workplace health and safety standards, supports, funding and regulations — then declaring an annual Health and Safety at Work Day to encourage workers to not to get hurt or killed.

Doug Ford has:

  • Moved workplace safety training out of the classroom onto online courses
  • Cut the number of hours of safety training workers get
  • Extended the deadline for completing safety training, allowing workers to go without
  • Lowered supervision requirements for apprenticeships, meaning less experienced workers will have less support on the job
  • Cut back on proactive workplace safety inspections
  • Cut $16 million from the Chief Prevention Officer budget —an office responsible for funding health and safety organizations
  • Taken money away from injured workers and given it to employers by slashing WSIB payments 30 per cent, even while advocates say legitimate injury claims are often being denied
  • Eliminated working-at-heights training in the auto sector
  • Scrapped the Ontario College of Trades, eliminating some standards for skilled trades

“The Liberals left a lot of Ontario workers in a precarious situation with too little enforcement for health and safety standards,” said Wayne Gates, the NDP critic for Labour — Workplace Health and Safety, as well as Auto and Manufacturing. “But instead of making improvements to prevent all workplace injuries, illnesses, and deaths, Doug Ford slashed health and safety, and put workers’ lives at greater risk”.

“Now, after decimating workplace health and safety, the Ford Conservatives want to have a symbolic Health and Safety at Work Day to encourage workers to try not to get hurt or killed. This is not just a farce, it rubs salt in the wound for all those who can’t work safely because their training and regulations have been cut to smithereens.”

Gates said the NDP will not support the Conservatives’ victim-blaming public relations exercise, and instead will keep fighting for actual workplace health and safety. The bill was tabled by PC MPP Jane McKenna (Burlington).