5 tips to protect the health and safety of new Canadians

Tips on helping your business get new Canadian workers up to speed on health and safety culture and rules.
Pamela Patry
Occupational health and safety consultant, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
Caucasian woman Pamela Patry smiles at the camera
Worker wearing protective gear stock image

More than 60,000 people moved to Ontario from other countries during the first quarter of 2023, according to the Provincial government. That’s a lot of people arriving within a short period of time, but it’s all part of the government’s push to boost skilled labour in the province. All of this means that there’s a good chance your workplace will soon have a new hire who is also a new Canadian. 

Help new Canadians transition to working in Ontario.

Workers new to Ontario play a valuable role in the workforce. Here are 5 tips to help your business get these workers safely up to speed.

  1. Translate and demonstrate. Translate training material, health and safety documents, and orientation information to help a new worker get started. In some cases, a simple translation app can go a long way to removing conversational language barriers as a new employee works towards fluency in English. Another way to overcome a language barrier is by demonstrating a task for a new worker. Show them how to do something and then observe them doing it to ensure they understand your instructions. 
  2. Consider cultural differences. Some things that are common to workplaces in Ontario may not be common to workplaces in other countries. For example, some workers who are new to Ontario may not be used to asking questions or raising concerns. Ensure your health and safety orientation explains workers’ rights and responsibilities, with an emphasis on a worker’s right to know, ask questions, and participate in the workplace. Encourage involvement.
  3. Provide social networking opportunities. When someone is new to the country, it can often take time for them to build a social network and develop relationships; all important parts of integrating into a community. Facilitate social networking by getting people together and organizing some events—at work and outside of work.  
  4. Pair new workers with a mentor. Many organizations pair new workers with a mentor during their probationary period. For someone who is new to working in Ontario, a mentor can be a huge resource at work and helpful outside of work too. This is a great way for a new worker to learn about the organization’s customs and culture.
  5. Schedule informal check-in meetings. Communication is critical to building trust and developing relationships. A good way to foster open communication with a new worker is to have regular, casual meetings to see how things are going at work and at home. Getting to know each other on a personal level will help build a solid foundation for a productive working relationship.

For more resources to help new Canadians settle into work and life in Ontario, visit Ontario.ca.

Additional Resources

Have health and safety questions? Please contact Denise Lam, WSPS Account Manager, Small Business at [email protected].

The information in this article is accurate as of its publication date.

More Blog Posts in This Series

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds