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Ontario Investing Over $6 Million to Prevent Work-related Cancers

Funding will support research by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre

Ontario is investing more than $6 million to support research led by the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) to identify the causes of workplace cancers, prevent them from occurring, and better support workers already impacted by occupational illness. This investment will help scientists identify and track occurrences of workplace cancer and exposure to harmful substances, research the causes of workplace cancer, and ultimately help improve the recognition of occupational illnesses in the province.

“Every workplace injury, illness, or fatality is preventable. While Ontario has one of the best health and safety records in the country, we are continuously striving to better protect our workers,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “We’re proud to fund the Occupational Cancer Research Centre’s research in this critical area, which will support our mission to ensure every worker in Ontario comes home safe after a hard day’s work.”

“Our government is committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This important investment will help ensure the Occupational Cancer Research Centre has access to the resources they need to conduct research and protect Ontarians against work-related diseases and cancers.”

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development’s increase in funding for the OCRC will significantly expand their research to ensure Ontario has the best available data and evidence when developing prevention and exposure-reduction strategies to improve workers’ health and safety. This data will also help the WSIB in its efforts to support injured workers and families impacted by work-related cancers and diseases.

Today’s announcement builds on the government’s work to protect workers from workplace injuries and illness through the five-year Prevention Works strategy. The strategy aims to help workplaces comply with and exceed workplace health and safety laws and standards to keep workers safe, focusing on occupational illnesses, employee mental health, workplace violence, and harassment.

“I want to thank Minister McNaughton for the substantial funding announced today, which will give us the funding we need to improve identification, tracking, and prevention of occupational illnesses in Ontario,” said Dr. Paul Demers, Director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre. “This investment also gives us the resources to attract promising new researchers to this critical area and advance our understanding of occupational cancer risks and prevention strategies.”

According to the Association of Worker’s Compensation Boards of Canada, Ontario’s occupational health and safety record is among the best in Canada, with the province achieving the lowest rate of work time lost to injury among any province or territory since 2009.

The province is working with partners in the occupational health and safety system and the health sector to implement actions in the Occupational Disease Action Plan to prevent occupational illnesses.

Supporting Ontario’s Safe Employers is a voluntary program that recognizes employers across Ontario who successfully implement an occupational health and safety management system in their workplace. Employers accredited through the program may also be eligible for rebates from a related WSIB program.

In support of Dr. Demers report Using Scientific Evidence and Principles to Help Determine the Work-Relatedness of Cancer, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) will establish a new scientific advisory table for occupational disease to guide their decision-making.

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