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Understanding First Aid and CPR Training Regulations in Canada: A Guide for Canadians

Updated: Aug 25, 2023


A trainer shows first aid to a group of seniors
Learn about the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations in Canada that require employers to provide first aid and CPR training.

Did you know that in Canada, employers are legally required to provide first aid and CPR training to their employees as part of their responsibility to ensure a safe work environment? Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations across the country outline specific requirements to promote workplace safety.


Understanding the legal requirements for first aid and CPR training is essential for both employers and employees. The regulations may vary depending on the province or territory where the business operates, but most align with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards.


CSA standard Z1220-17 sets out the guidelines for first aid and CPR training in the workplace. It establishes the minimum level of training required for different types of workplaces and specifies the number of trained personnel that must be available on-site at all times.


For instance, in Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act mandates that a workplace with fewer than five workers must have at least one worker with a valid first aid certificate present at all times. For workplaces with five or more workers, at least one worker with a valid emergency first aid certificate must be present for every 20 workers.


Failure to provide the required first aid and CPR training can result in employers being in violation of OHS regulations in their respective provinces or territories. The consequences of non-compliance can range from penalties and fines to potential criminal charges. Government agencies responsible for enforcing OHS regulations, such as the Ministry of Labour, may conduct workplace inspections to ensure compliance. Non-compliance with a compliance order can lead to further penalties or legal action.


The importance of first aid and CPR training goes beyond meeting legal obligations. It plays a vital role in preventing accidents and injuries in the workplace. By equipping employees with the necessary skills and resources to respond effectively to emergencies, employers create a safer work environment for everyone.


So, what is the right training for you or your employees? The type of training required depends on factors such as the number of employees and the nature of the work being performed. Larger workplaces generally require more comprehensive health and safety programs and training. In Canada, the Canada Labour Code mandates health and safety training for all employees, while larger workplaces with over 20 employees must have a health and safety committee.

Specific occupations and work environments may call for specialized training due to unique hazards involved. Individuals working at heights, with hazardous materials, or using heavy machinery may require specialized certifications and training.


Emergency first aid training is typically recommended for individuals who may need to respond to common emergencies in the workplace or community but do not require the comprehensive training provided by standard first aid. On the other hand, standard first aid training offers more in-depth knowledge and skills for individuals responsible for the health and safety of others in high-risk environments.


For example, healthcare professionals, emergency responders, construction workers, and those working in remote locations or with limited access to medical care often require standard first aid training. This comprehensive program covers a wide range of emergency situations and equips individuals with advanced first aid techniques and best practices.


It is crucial for employers to understand their specific obligations and requirements under OHS regulations in their province or territory. By doing so, they can ensure that their employees receive the appropriate training and support to work safely and effectively respond to emergencies.


For Canadians seeking first aid and CPR training, numerous certified training providers are available across the country. These providers offer courses tailored to meet specific regulatory requirements and workplace needs. It is important to select a reputable training provider that aligns with the regulations in your province or territory.


In addition to formal training, employers and employees can access valuable resources and information from government agencies, such as provincial or territorial occupational health and safety bodies. These resources often include guidelines, manuals, and best practice documents that further support workplace safety.


By prioritizing first aid and CPR training, employers demonstrate their commitment to creating a safe work environment. They empower employees with life-saving skills and ensure they are prepared to handle emergencies confidently. Likewise, employees who receive proper training become an invaluable asset to their workplace, capable of responding effectively during critical situations.

Remember, workplace safety is a collective responsibility. By staying informed about first aid and CPR training regulations, employers and employees contribute to a culture of safety and well-being. Together, let's prioritize workplace safety, foster a prepared and resilient workforce, and prevent accidents and injuries in Canadian workplaces.


Whether you are an employer responsible for compliance or an employee seeking training, investing in first aid and CPR training is a proactive step towards creating a safer and more secure work environment. By meeting the legal requirements, employers fulfill their duty to protect their employees, while employees gain the confidence and knowledge needed to respond swiftly and effectively in times of crisis. Let's work together to prioritize workplace safety and ensure the well-being of everyone in the Canadian workforce.


Learn more and book training for your organization at https://www.mykorelife.com/services

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