By Canadian Contractor staff
Ontario strengthening occupational illness protectionCanadian Contractor
Oct. 31, 2023 – Ontario is creating Canada’s first-ever Occupational Exposure Registry to “track harmful exposure levels, help diagnose workplace disease faster, improve worker compensation and reduce cost to the healthcare system,” notes a press release.
Expected in 2025, the registry will help address 41 recommendations resulting in the province’e review of the occupational illness landscape. The review looked at diseases like asthma, silicosis, asbestosis, noise-induced hearing loss and hand-arm vibration syndrome, as well as occupational cancers and skin diseases.
The new registry aims to include comprehensive exposure records, identify at-risk workers, to help with earlier diagnoses, and potentially contribute to expanding the list of presumptive illnesses in Ontario to improve worker compensation.
In addition, Ontario is creating an Occupational Illness Leadership Table made up of industry experts and worker advocates to guide the implementation of the report’s recommendations.
To build the Occupational Exposure Registry, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development is working with the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) to collect and analyze data from existing Ministry industrial hygiene records. The Ministry and OCRC are also working with healthcare providers and industry associations to gather new data and catalogue past and current occupational exposures across Ontario’s hundreds of thousands of workplaces.
In addition to the registry, work is underway to deliver on the report’s recommendations, including the development of a web-based Silica Control Tool that will assist in detecting and monitoring workplace silica exposure in the construction and mining industries.