Canadian Contractor

Ontario Ministry of Labour "working at heights" course modules will soon be mandatory

You may not think you have to worry about getting certified for Fall Arrest safety if you work in the home renovations industry. Or if you don't go up ladders. But pretty well everyone will have to take at least Module 1.

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April 25, 2014 by Alec Caldwell

For those who have not heard yet, well here it is: every contractor or persons on construction sites in Ontario, including home renovations and those delivering product (!) will ALL have to re take the NEW fall arrest or working at heights courses modules 1 & 2  that appear to be coming into force on July 1st, 2014.

All these changes were implemented due to the terrible Christmas Eve disaster in 2009, when four workers died when they fell from 13 stories off a scaffold that collapsed. The CEO of the construction company involvedwas fined, went to jail for a period of time and – to the best of my knowledge – the company went bankrupt.

If you do not have a fall course completion card on your possession at this time,you are not in compliance with current laws and could well be stopped from working, even though you may only be a one-person sole proprietor business. Everyone has to carry this card, so I implore you right now to contact a reputable trainer, including CARAHS (see our contact information below) to obtain this certification.

Everyone who presently has an existing card, as long as it’s not over three years old, will be given a two-year window, once the new law becomes effective, to complete the new training. If your card is over three years old right now, this (in my experience) is too old and if you are caught by the Ontario Ministry of Labour you would immediately be pulled off the job and ordered to get training.

This new module 1 and 2 standards course completion card will have an expiry of three years. Also, for the first time, all trainers will be certified by the Ontario MoL and have to be re trained after a period of time. The total hours of training for both courses should not be less than 6-1/2 hours. The reason for this is to eradicate those trainers who come on job sites and do a one hour course or deliver cards in a more “indirect” way, if I can say this tactfully. This is why I highlighted in my third paragraph the word reputable.

The Ontario MoL is serious about this huge change. Last year, for the first time, it made it law that on every job site (whether industrial, commercial, residential new home construction, individual custom home construction and home renovation) the MoL’s new poster must be displayed for everyone to read. This was on top of the required WSIB 1,2,3,4 poster. If you need these posters, or information on this policy, contact us below.

Everyone has to take course module 1, no matter what you do in construction. Even if you don’t necessarily work at heights regularly (for example, tile and floor layers, carpet installers, duct cleaners, everyone) you must take module 1. Module 2 would also be required if you climb ladders more frequently, work over 8 feet and more.

Some of you might argue that you do not work at heights. For example, if you are a flooring installer. Yet if you climb a staircase to install flooring on a second level and there is no hand rail in place on the stairway, you aere open to falls. Furthermore, when laying flooring, you could encounter a hole that is, say, cut into the ground floor, where the fall into the basement would be over 8 feet. In this situtation you are still considered to be “working at height.”

I personally disagreed with the MoL at a recent Toronto feedback session about the words used to describe the module 1 course. I thought it sounded confusing and should be changed to “Slips, trips, falls and working at height.” This I thought sounded  clearer than their present proposed “Working at heights basic module.” My contribution to the discussion was noted, but I don’t hold out much hope for this change. After all, clarity has not been a strong point in the enforcement of rules in this industry, especially when it comes to self-employed contractors in the home renovations and home services industry.

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)  

CARAHS has over 130 online Health & Safety e-courses 

Hot Line toll free 1-866-366-2930 for members’ questions on WSIB, MOL and more.

Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell

Alec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
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16 Comments » for Ontario Ministry of Labour "working at heights" course modules will soon be mandatory
  1. Ok…so, the province has applied more rules and regulations to the everyday procedues of my job… Ok, well…this is beyond ridiculous now. On the day after the mandatory deadline, i will climb a ladder or scaffold (or both) and completlely disregard the latest mentally retarded revelations to come from (The Pink Palace) Queens Park, and get on with contributing to an economy on life-support.

    Safety is important, but my saftey is my own responsability.
    The WSIB is a scam and the Ministry of Labour is totally out of check with economic reality.

  2. Terry says:

    Good one Chris

    I totally agree with you !

    • allan tebo says:

      Could not agree with you more Chris. I have worked in the construction industry for over forty years now , and have worked at heights a majority of times , and have taken more fall arrest courses then you can imagine. I carry so many safety and trade certificates that I had to purchase a wallet specifically for them ie elevated work platform ,whmis, csts , rights and responsibilities, confined space, on and on! Its like the provinces are trying to out do one another by coming up with some newer and even more ridiculous course that you MUST acquire in order to be compliant with some idiot from the “Pink Palace ” that has probably never stepped foot on a construction site!! I urge all tradesmen and women who read this to acknowledge and concur what Chris has said, enough is enough!

  3. We live in Canada not SOVIET UNION.
    the WSIB is a money grouching ,
    I believe that we should be able buy insurance from the private sector for our self. 24/7 insure, any were any time . with out paying for WSIB.

    The Ministry of Labour should not be running or be influenced by any sauce.

    What is missing is common sense.

    Aram Malek

  4. Questo says:

    Today, was announced more wind electric power generators to be build, amazing bullshit tech. Maybe when there isn’t wind, they maybe able to run on liberals scandals, and their parasitic creations. WSIB/ECRA/OCOT/E-T/E-HELTH/Ornge/Gas-plants, never worked/ spending in nuclear energy, which never run, on and on.

    In Indian and china they build low pressure thorium reactors molten salt, apparently not so dangers, and radioactive waste as so the uranium ore.
    It can also burn the radioactive waste we now have in this planet, also all the parasitic agencies created by the liberals and all their bad ideas, maybe used as fuel too, LOL.

    The liberals only know is investing founds into a black hole, the Liberal vortex.
    The NDP’s are shooting themselves on their feet with the idea of corporate tax, will the PC do the fix?

    May soon will Queens spark? Elections yeah may happen.

    A big turn around as to happen in this Province, for the betterment of all of us, not just for a few.

  5. Ben Polley says:

    Hi Alec, Thanks for your regular postings and alerts to forthcoming changes.

    I received an unsolicited email from a professional safety training provider that states that the Ministry’s potential changes are not yet going to be in place for July 1. In it, the provider asserts that only Regulation 213 is under consideration for amendment, though not at this time Reg 851 (I haven’t looked to see what either of these refer to).

    The email further states that training providers will yet be providing with time/opportunity to submit their training plans for approval by the Ministry so that they in turn can be pre-qualified to deliver the training (as competent persons?) but that at present there is no system in place to do so. Thus, it continues, that there are no new standards nor any approved training providers in place for the intended New Working at Heights Standards.

    I haven’t personally investigated so don’t know which is correct though surely a professional provider wouldn’t turn away business unless there truly was nothing new for them to offer.

    I expect that the new standards will yet come in to play and that it may be prudent to try and undertake training prior to July 1 though it may be that this is premature and/or not possible if the definition of competent person and/or trainer is not by then clarified.


  6. Hi Ben,
    Great questions and hopefully I can fully answer these for you and more, as we all need to know whats going on and maybe your professional Safety expert who contacted you discretely also might be missing parts, unless they were at one of the 3 hour MOL feed back road show!

    CARAHS was present at the recent MOL 3 hour Toronto road show event, giving the MOL feed back on their 2 module courses, working at heights theory and Working at heights practical. Many in the room, including CARAHS gave them feed great back, which we hope they will incorporate some.

    Starting at the beginning. The MOL expects this new law to come in to force by July 1st ,2014. This is assuming there has been no changes made to their proposal. Any changes to their proposal will return by 23 April (today) and at this time (or weeks later) they will look over what returned and if there are no changes it will go live on July the 1st.

    If they need to make more change on the proposal returned by them on 23rd of April, the proposal won’t go in to law on 1st of July and be knocked back another approx another month, say 1st August. The finding from the 23 April will return to their committees for whatever they are called for final review or change. Once completed I assume it will return by the 24 May and if its good, then the new standards on working at heights start 1st August.

    TRAINERS – The are no organizations or trainer yet in Ontario whole can do these courses. So all organizations like the IHSA, who have been advertising these courses lately over the airways, even they can’t even offer these courses at this time, as they have not been passed by the MOL to do so. Some have found this advertising confusing. The IHSA program in my opinion will be the first one passed, as they are loosely connected to WSIB as their training arm.

    So again, as I said, once the MOL announce the starting date of the new standard, be it 1st July, 1st August, 1st September or whatever date, IT IS ONLY THEN any organization like the IHSA, CARAHS and others can submit their training course to the MOL and get it certified to start training people on it..

    NEW All individual trainers must now be certified by the MOL directly and will carry an official MOL trainers card. These persons approved will be named on the MOL official web site. It is expected these trainer will be re certified every 5 years.

    Once a student receives their course completion card(s), its expected this card will expire 3 years later and at that time more training will be required.

    When the new law comes in to force, it looks like everyone will get a 2 year window to conform. This two year window does not cover anyone working without a card. They would need to complete a course or courses immediately.

    Further based on our past experiences, if your current working at height card is undated or 3 years old already, you again will have to go to retaining immediately, as 3 years and over does not show due diligence on your part. Meaning if that was the last time that person was trained, that to long a period without a refresher. They need the new standard(s)

    I hope this gives you a better understanding and if you have questions THAT YOU DON’T want to post here for everyone to read, you can call our contractors Hot Line Toll free 1 866 366 2930. Ask for Monica and your conversation with us stays private and confidential. We are an independent association, who does not report to the WSIB, MOL or to anyone else.

    Thank you.

    • Ben Polley says:

      Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough response Alec – duly taken under advisement.

      • Jeff says:

        The programs do not stop people from dieing they can have any training but when the boss is not at the site they can do what they want the new program is just a nother scam by the government if they where out to help us the program would be free or cheaper and not be paying to have it all over the radio

  7. Dean Kadikoff says:

    I am all for working safely, but common sense and self preservation is a big part of it. I have been saying for quite a few years that we are becoming part time workers due to all the time involved in demanded training that is ancillary to our actual trade. For example, here is what is required for me to work in the HVACR industry here in Ontario and I presently have in my wallet at all times:

    Actual Trade licenses required by the province:
    Driver’s Licence
    Gas Tech
    Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanic

    Health and Safety/MOL/MOE related:
    Aerial Manlift
    Confined Spaces
    Electrical Lockout/Tagout
    Fall Protection
    First Aid/CPR A Standard
    International Hoisting Signals
    Ozone Depletion Prevention Card (ODP)
    Propane Handling
    Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)

    All this adds to the cost of doing business. What I find most inconvenient is that they all carry different expiry dates and training or recertification is rarely if ever offered together to cut down on time spent on the darn things. They are all money generators for whoever demands or puts on the training.

  8. Questo says:

    The evolution of paranoia under all source of guises, money making machines.
    The common sense was pushed away to give space for this insane side agencies, to support all this so called CEO”s and, board directors payments.
    Maybe more then 90% of this parasites wouldn’t be able to even cook for themselves, never mind about working in the trades work force.
    Apparently human beings are condition into a fake system of protection, from who? Only from those collecting our hard money, that’s we trades people should be protected from, this abusive way.

    Dean, The ODP, is another fraud, they the military,,,, bomb a lot of cities in the middle east and elsewhere, did they care about ozone depletion prevention? Did they care about air pollution? What about chemical trails all over the skies?
    What about radioactive pollution, from nuclear testes and leaks from nuclear power stations?

    It’s all a scam.

  9. Joe Greps says:

    Have to agree with what Dean mentions, certifications need to be consolidated, my spare time isn’t a blank cheque for the honor of working.

    This needs to be a one day a year type thing that covers the common requirements needed to work in a trade with a recognized certificate that isn’t easily counterfeited.

    Right now the current idiocy system is making fraudulent certs rampant, guys just make their own and with no standards for the certificates it is completely unenforceable, IMHO they have made things less safe not more.

  10. Does anyone know if this course is offered in the Windsor, ON area for a reasonable price?

  11. james malette says:

    i have loss my card i need them to start my new job do u guy no where i can get my cards back?