Health and Safety

Health & Safety

ETFO is committed to improving and maintaining awareness of Health & Safety issues in all workplaces. Employees are entitled to go to work in a safe and healthy environment each day.

The Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) sets out consistent standards that must be followed by employers and employees. This is the legislation that requires employers to have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JH&SC). The Joint Health & Safety Committee meets four times per year and discusses issues such as violence and other unsafe working conditions. For example, every time an employee fills out the Employee Violent Incident form, the committee will review and discuss it. This is why it is so important that members fill out the appropriate forms in order to be in compliance with the OHSA and bring attention to incidents.  The goal of the JH&SC is for employees and employers to be mutually committed to improving health and saftety in every workplace across the Rainbow District School Board.

In 2013, due to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a task force was struck to develop a report and make recommendations. From that report, 24 recommendations were made and ETFO continues to work diligently to implement each one.

If you would like to learn more, please see the link on this page or visit

Student Safety Plans Collapse

When a student demonstrates high risk behaviours that could harm themselves or others, a Safety Plan should be developed to assist with managing those risks.  The Student Safety Plan is implemented to protect the student and others, including staff.  Violence in any form is never OK.  A safety plan should be developed regardless of the child’s age or special designation.

The Student Safety Plan includes vital information such useful source as a description of the unsafe behaviours; preventative strategies; how to get immediate assistance; steps to protect the student, staff and other students from injury; crisis response; first aid; emergency procedures; and reporting requirements.  The Student Safety Plan is developed in consultation with the staff who know the student best. It is revised as often as necessary to ensure that the protections are working.


Workplace Violence, Workplace Harassment, and Serious Student Incidents Expand

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), employers must develop policies, programs and procedures to address workplace violence and workplace harassment. These requirements also include grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

The OHSA require employers to have protections in place to report and prevent workplace violence and harassment. The violence or harassment could come from an adult (colleague, principal, parent) or a child (a student in your class or in the school). The Employee Workplace Violence Report should be filed anytime an employee feels threatened or is physically injured regardless of the age or designation of the perpetrator.

Under the OHSA, workplace violence includes domestic violence in the workplace with specific requirements for the employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.  The Canadian Labour Congress has an excellent website that outlines our responsibilities at

The Board also has it’s own policy called The Respectful, Working and Learning Policy.  This policy outlines the grounds for which an investigation can be filed.  Before filing a complaint with the Board, the Local urges members to call the Local to discuss the possibility of mediation.

No one goes to work to be injured physically or emotionally.  Know your rights!

Serious Student Incidents Expand

The Safe Schools Incident Reporting form is required for student activities for which suspension or expulsion must be considered under the Education Act. The Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form can be found in the Board online reporting tool (

The principal must provide the reporting staff person with page #2 of the Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form, which is an acknowledgement of receipt of the report.  The principal’s acknowledgement of receipt includes the status of the investigation about the report, and should be stored with your records. (Please note that this is an online form and you must print before hitting send).

When investigating, the principal may consider mitigating factors such as age or special needs. However, these mitigating factors should not interfere with making the required report. Sometimes it may be necessary to complete both a Workplace Violence Report and a Safe Schools Incident Reporting Form.

PPM 144 – Bullying Prevention and Intervention and PPM 145 – Progressive Discipline and Promoting Positive Student Behaviour, developed by the Ministry of Education, include further details on reporting requirements.


Interactive ETFO Flowchart for Reporting Workplace Violence and Serious Student Incidents ETFO MOU Task Force on Health and Safety – Report and Recommendations

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Workplace violence means:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
  • A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
Workplace harassment means:
  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
  • Workplace harassment may include bullying, intimidating or offensive jokes or innuendos, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, or offensive or intimidating phone calls.
The Rainbow District School Board Online Health & Safety Reporting System can be found at