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  • Maureen McGillisWhy Your Workplace Needs a Health and Safety Committee

    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.


    TAGS

    committee health and safety workplace hazards

    Maureen McGillis | Digital Marketing Strategist
    Levitt-Safety Limited Oakville


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