MOL Searches for Safety Tsar


Ladies and gentlemen of OHSI (aka OHSItas and OHSItos):

Polish off those resumes–especially if you’re in Ontario. The job opportunity of a lifetime has just opened up.

The MOL is looking for an experienced health and safety professional for a brand new position: nothing less than overseeing all MOL occupational health and safety prevention activities in the province of Ontario.

Of course, we’re talking about the Chief Prevention Officer–a new position recommended in the Dean Report and contained in Bill 160 (Sec. 22.3(1)). If and when the bill is adopted, the CPO will become Ontario’s Safety Tsar.

Finding the CPO

What kind of person is the MOL looking for?

I recently put that question to Paavo Kivisto, the former Deputy Minister of the Environment whom the government has tabbed to chair the interim prevention council, i.e., the panel that’s helping the MOL lawyers draft the legislation and regulation turning Dean from recommendation to law.

“We don’t have a definite profile or background in mind,” Mr. Kivisto explained. The MOL just wants a person qualified to carry out the functions of the position–OHS strategy development, collaborating with and coordinating the efforts of various government bodies and HSAs and annual reporting, he says.

What Mr. Kivisto did say is that the MOL has engaged an executive search firm and ordered it to look not simply within Ontario but all of Canada–and even internationally.

Search May Be Switzerland Bound

Clearly, the CPO position calls for a combination of policymaking experience and safety expertise. I’m guessing that if push comes to shove, the former will take precedent over the latter. So unless you have serious government experience, you need not apply.

I’ll also bet you a dollar to a donut that the search will extend to Geneva,  headquarters of the International Labour Organization. Based on Mr. Kivisto’s comments and the proposed functions of the CPO set out in Bill 160, somebody with ILO experience would be perfect for Safety Tsar.

  • John

    Although policymaking expertise could be useful in any government role, I think they should look for someone with deep, hands-on safety management experience and a track record of turning around/improving safety programs and results for a high-profile organization. If prevention is the real goal, this type of person might be in a better position to advocate for policies that will more effectively prevent unsafe behavior or poor safety controls.

  • Rob

    Has anyone seen any names of potential candidates?

  • Robin L. Barton

    Not yet. So far the MOL is playing it very close to its vest.