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Would your workers know what to do if they observed a risk in the workplace? Do they know who to go to in the case of an emergency?

Navigating workplace health and safety can seem like a daunting task, but the reality is that incidents happen and policies should be set in place at every organisation – whether they’re big or small. Establishing a workplace health and safety committee not only promotes the wellbeing of your workers, but it also encourages an open dialogue and positive culture surrounding safety in your workplace.

In Ontario, Joint Health and Safety Committees (also known as JHSCs) are advisory groups that represent workers and employers, required under s.9 of the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA). While JHSC is the well-known term in Ontario, each province supports their own initiatives under different titles including Occupational Health Committee, Workplace Safety and Health Committee, or simply Health and Safety Committee.

While each province’s safety regulations are unique (see below), generally workplace health and safety committees are made up of managers and employees who work together to identify, monitor, and resolve any potential issues in the workplace. In addition to recognizing workplace issues, this group is also responsible for developing and implementing safety programs, establishing educational programs and providing training for the rest of their workplace staff.

Curious about what is needed for your workplace health and safety committee? We’ve compiled a chart that summarizes each province’s unique standards courtesy of the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety:

Province/TerritoryCommittee Title# of Committee MembersComposition of CommitteeMandatory Training Requirements
Alberta
Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee

Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee

At least 3, no more than 12

At least two employees and one employer

No mandatory training requirements
British Columbia
Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee
Not less than 4At least half of group must represent employees
May become Worksafe Education Partner, but not required
Federal
Workplace Policy Committee
At least 2One managers, others from workersA policy committee should have access to, and the time necessary, for training
Manitoba
Workplace Safety and Health Committee

At least 4, no more than 12

At least half of group must represent employees

May become Worksafe Education Partner, but not required

New Brunswick

Joint Health and Safety Committee

As agreed upon by employees and employer
Equal representation of management and workers
Bill 61 indicates that training for JHSC is mandatory, which will be provided by WHSCC

Newfoundland and Labrador

Occupational Health and Safety Committee

At least 2, no more than 12

At least half of group must represent employees

You are not permitted to self-study
Northwest Territories

Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee
Not specified
Equal representation of management and workers
No training requirement
Nova Scotia
Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

As agreed upon by employees and employer
At least half of group must represent employees
No mandatory training requirements
Nunavut
Joint Worksite Health & Safety Committee
Not specified
Equal representation of management and workers

No training requirement

Ontario

Joint Health and Safety Committee

At least 2 (fewer than 50 employees). At least 4 (over 50 employees)
At least half of group must represent employeesTraining must be provided by an organization approved by WSIB. Training is called JHSC Part 1 and 2. Trained members of the JHSC are called “Certified Members”.
PEI
Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee

As agreed upon by employees and employer

At least half of group must represent employees

No mandatory training requirements

Quebec

Health and Safety Committee

At least 4

At least half of group must represent employees

No mandatory training requirements

Saskatchewan

Occupational Health Committees

At least 2 and not more than 12

At least half of group must represent employees

No mandatory training requirements

Yukon

Joint Health & Safety Committee

At least 4 and not more than 12

At least half of group must represent employees

The employers shall orient members within 90 days of selection and shall permit participation in a training course designated by the director

* Information courtesy of CCOHS.

Regardless of whether your province requires mandatory training, it’s always a good idea to have a committee that is dedicated to the safety and well being of your workers at every level. Establish roles amongst your committee, agendas, schedules, policies and accurate records to keep your work space safe.  

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of workplace health and safety committees? Be sure to check out our online course today to see how you can build a committee that adheres to legislation while supporting your unique work environment.

Maureen McGillis

Digital Marketing Strategist

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