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Ontario plans to develop registry of occupational illness exposures


Photo: Galeanu Mihai/iStockphoto

Toronto — Aiming to improve diagnosis and treatment of work-related diseases, Minister of Labor David Piccini has announced that the Ontario government plans to establish an Occupational Exposure Registry by 2025.

Work-related illnesses often take years to develop. In an Oct. 10 press release, the province states that the delay between exposure and symptoms causes many job-related illnesses to go undiagnosed or unreported, making it difficult to identify disease risks and provide workers’ compensation in a timely manner.

A recent independent review of the Canadian province’s health system for preventing and responding to occupational disease shows “there is currently no clear accountability for provincial surveillance for occupational disease.”

Piccini said in the release that Ontario “will leave no stone unturned to ensure we have the best science and data needed to protect workers” and shape the registry, which will be used to collect exposure records and identify at-risk workers in a bid to aid with early diagnoses.

The Ministry of Labor plans to work with the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, health care providers and industry associations to collect data and compile past and current occupational exposure records in the province.

“With this innovative, first-of-its-kind Occupational Exposure Registry, our government is making it easier for workers across the province to connect to the care and support they need, when they need it,” Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s deputy premier and minister of health, said in the release.

The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board approved more than 40,000 occupational disease claims in 2022.

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