Creating a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) is a vital step for businesses in Ontario, Canada, to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. Mainly comprised of management and worker representatives, the JHSC plays a critical role in identifying and mitigating workplace hazards, promoting occupational health and safety, and ensuring compliance with provincial regulations. In this article, we will outline four essential steps to establish a successful Joint Health and Safety Committee in Ontario, while meeting the necessary JHSC requirements.

Step 1: Understanding the Purpose and Requirements of the JHSC

Before diving into the process of forming a Joint Health and Safety Committee, it is crucial to comprehend its purpose and the specific requirements set forth by the province of Ontario. The JHSC’s primary objective is to facilitate cooperation between workers and management in matters pertaining to occupational health and safety.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) of Ontario, businesses with 20 or more employees are mandated to establish a Joint Health and Safety Committee. This committee should consist of at least two members – one representing management (the employer) and the other representing workers (the employees). In cases where the workplace has more than 50 employees, the committee must include at least four members, with an equal representation from both sides.

Step 2: Selecting Committee Members and Roles

With a clear understanding of the JHSC’s purpose and requirements, the next step is to select the committee members. The process of member selection is critical, as it directly impacts the effectiveness and functionality of the committee.

  • Management Representatives: The employer should carefully select individuals from the management team who are committed to workplace safety. These representatives should possess decision-making authority, as they will be responsible for implementing safety measures and addressing the committee’s recommendations.
  • Worker Representatives: Worker representatives should be elected by the employees through a fair and democratic process. It is vital to encourage workers to choose individuals who are proactive, knowledgeable about workplace hazards, and willing to advocate for the well-being of their colleagues.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of committee members is essential for smooth operation. Designate a co-chairperson from both sides to lead meetings alternately. Responsibilities may include conducting workplace inspections, investigating incidents, and proposing safety improvements.

Step 3: Providing Proper Training

To ensure the JHSC functions effectively, it is crucial to equip the committee members with the necessary knowledge and skills. Under the OHSA, both management and worker representatives must undergo certified training to be recognized as a certified JHSC member.

Training programs, such as the Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification Training, are readily available and focus on educating members about hazard recognition, incident investigation, risk assessment, and the legislative framework governing workplace safety in Ontario. Investing in comprehensive training will empower the committee to make informed decisions and develop appropriate strategies to prevent accidents and promote a safer work environment.

Step 4: Holding Regular Meetings and Inspections

Once the Joint Health and Safety Committee is formed and members are trained, the committee should hold regular meetings and inspections to fulfill its mandate effectively.

  • Meetings: The JHSC meetings should be conducted at regular intervals, with an agreed-upon schedule, to discuss workplace safety issues, review incidents and near misses, and propose corrective actions. Minutes of the meetings should be documented, and any recommendations made by the committee should be addressed and implemented promptly.
  • Inspections: Conducting regular workplace inspections is crucial to identify potential hazards and assess the effectiveness of existing safety measures. The JHSC members should collaborate in conducting inspections, documenting their findings, and proposing corrective actions to eliminate or minimize risks.


Establishing a Joint Health and Safety Committee is not only a legal requirement for businesses in Ontario but also a fundamental step in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for employees. By understanding the purpose and requirements of the JHSC, carefully selecting committee members, providing adequate training, and conducting regular meetings and inspections, businesses can foster a proactive safety culture and prevent workplace accidents. Remember, a well-functioning Joint Health and Safety Committee is an asset that protects not only employees but also the overall success and reputation of the organization.

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