Canadian Contractor

Ontario new "working at heights" standard stalled

New changes to safety standards have been stalled, but not for long. Get your safety training now

June 24, 2014
By Alec Caldwell

The recent election in Ontario seems to have held up the new Occupational Health and Safety Fall Standards from becoming law July 1st. Finally, a break for the Ontario construction industry from the bombardment it’s been getting lately.

This delay gives everyone some time, but when this new standard does arrive, the cost of taking the courses will be more expensive and take more time, so right now is a good time for you to sneak in and take the existing course. CARAHS has been busy running extra Fall courses at its Pickering office on Fridays to help keep up with the extra volume.

Once the new fall standard become law (expected August 1st) it will become a two-module course. Everyone has to take Module One which, under the prescribed Ministry of Labour (MOL) laws, must run at least three hours. Module Two is a practical course for those who use items like ladders or work above eight feet. Module Two cannot run less than 3 1/2 hours and in this course you receive classroom demonstration and hands-on teaching in how to use items such as harnesses, lifelines, rope grabs, safety nets, barriers and ladders. You’ll also learn what not to buy, as all safety equipment must have CSA approval.

The day these two new standard courses become law, its also changes training methods. All trainers from that day forward will be stopped from training, until they are approved  and certified again through the MOL. All approved  trainers will be listed on the MOL web site.


This is a huge change for everyone and it all started on Christmas Eve 2009, when four workers died after they fell 13 stories when their suspended staging collapsed from under them. Within a 90 day period, the MOL blitzed 2,800 work sites in Ontario and closed down 784. The MOL handed out violation fines for items like missing or incorrect use of guardrails, faulty scaffolding, lack of worker training and/or proof of training, improper ladder use and unsafe work practices on flat roofs, platforms, runways and ramps.

Change comes with pain, but no greater than what these unfortunate guys suffered that fateful Christmas Eve day in 2009. This I re-mention in memory of them.

As I write this article on June 23rd, another construction worker falls to his death from the 26th floor on a Toronto job site. He was in his late 20s, according Toronto Police. The Ministry of Labour has been notified and has dispatched an inspector to the scene.  Another family in morning, another son lost.


CARAHS was founded as a non-profit association to advocate and mentor independent self employed renovators and home services (Canadian Association of Renovators and Home Services)

Toll free 1-866-366-2930

CARAHS has over 130 online Health & Safety e-courses







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3 Comments » for Ontario new "working at heights" standard stalled
  1. This article is in error:
    The correct information is as follows:
    1. Awareness Training comes into effect July 1. This coming into force date did not change as a result of the general election held in Ontario.
    • Beginning July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario must ensure that all their workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program.
    • The content of the training must meet the new regulatory requirements. The Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation (O. Reg. 297/13) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is the new regulation that requires employers to make sure workers and supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program.
    • Information on awareness training can be found at:

    2 Working at Heights. Program and Provider standards released but they remain voluntary.
    • The Ministry of Labour released the Heights Training Program standard in December 2013.
    • The purpose of the Working at Heights Training Program Standard is to establish a threshold of high quality and consistency for training for workers who work at heights in the Province of Ontario.
    • The standard remains voluntary and it is not a regulatory requirement at this time.
    • Information on WAH can be found at:

  2. Hi Bruce,
    In response to our telephone conversation.

    Your information on this blog seems to be in connection to the Worker Health and Safety Awareness, 4 step or 5 step supervisor online course every worker must take in ONTARIO by July 1, 2014. Once completed, they print out their certificate of completion.

    CARAHS is aware of this MOL requirement and even have a direct link from it’s web site’s front page, to your supervisors course. We have been constantly telling everyone about this NEW requirement and I must add, no one yet we’ve approached has even heard about this!

    You responded about the New Working at Heights STANDARD, expected it seems in fall this year. This is according to our phone conversation with your MOL office on Monday of this week.

    My article here is not in error and is fully correct with regards to this subject matter and we have been following this new Standard closely and we even attended the MOL 3 hour Toronto feed back session on April 24, 2014.

    We are a supporter of Safety and in what the Ministry of Labour is trying to achieve. This can be clearly noted by in my article to this weeks recent Toronto construction fatality. Comment can be read in my last paragraph.

    Thank you for responding and please fell free to add your positive feed back.

  3. Readers needing clarification on any point can visit our website, or phone our health and safety staff directly at 1-877-202-0008 (Toll-free)

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