Regulatory Update: ON Drinking Water Quality, Chemical Handling Blitz Preparation and more













  1. Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards Update:  

The Minister’s Advisory Council on Drinking Water Quality and Testing Standards (the Advisory Council) is recommending changes to Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards. It is seeking stakeholder input via a 45 day public review and comment period starting August 23, 2016.

The recommended changes are as follows:

  • Adopt three new Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards based on new federal guidelines:
    • 06 mg/L for Toluene;
    • 14 mg/L for Ethylbenzene; and
    • 09 mg/L for Total Xylenes.
  • Revise two existing standards:
    • Revise Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 0.01 mg/L to 0.05 mg/L for Selenium; and
    • Revise Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 0.03 mg/L to a more stringent value of 0.01 mg/L for Tetrachloroethylene.
  • Remove the current Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 10 mg/L for Nitrate + Nitrite as this parameter is redundant since individual standards of 10 mg/L for nitrate and 1 mg/L for nitrite are maintained.

The Advisory Council also made recommendations to adopt Health Canada’s aesthetic objectives for the following substances, effective January 1, 2017:

  • A new Aesthetic Objective of 0.015 mg/L is proposed for methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE); and
  • Revise the Aesthetic Objectives for ethylbenzene and xylenes to 0.0016 mg/L, and 0.02 mg/L, respectively.

Learn more and submit your input here.

Is the quality of your drinking water acceptable to these proposed standards? Ask us how you can ensure the quality of your water, contact us at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at

  1. Ontario Blitz: Chemical Handling

Ontario is continuing its efforts to reduce workplace injuries. From September 19 to October 31, Ministry of Labour (MOL) Inspectors to check that employers have taken proper steps to protect workers handling chemicals.

Prepare for the blitz using this checklist:

  1. Know what you have:

  • Have an up-to-date list of all chemicals, their quantities and their properties.
  • Determine the type of risks your chemicals pose and the risk-specific handling requirements.
  • Check if personal protective equipment is required and that it is correct.
  • Have documentation to support your established system. Ex: inventory list, handling procedures, training records, material safety data sheets and safety data sheets
  1. Make sure the system works:
  • Make sure chemicals are stored in a way that minimizes the above risks.
  • Check the functionality of equipment and engineering controls, and make sure that they are sufficient.
  1. Train your people:
  • Make sure your personnel is fully trained. They should know the hazards, following the proper procedures, understand the MSDSs or SDSs and recognize the hazard symbols on labels.
  • Make sure personnel is aware which PPE they need, that they have it and know how to use it correctly.
  • Have a plan for emergency response and make sure it is sufficient.  Employees should have the knowledge and equipment to act quickly if they come in contact with hazardous chemicals.
  1. Be proactive
  • Have a system to review incidents, make changes and encourage input from employees
  • Look for additional ways to minimize handling and implement them where possible.
  • Check that the correct attachment for drum lifting is utilized

Ask us how you can avoid the risk of mishandling chemicals, contact us at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at

Noise Regulations Come into Effect  The Noise Regulation came into effect on July 1, 2016. It will help protect Ontario workers from hearing loss. Currently it is a leading cause of occupational disease.  See the details here.

Ask us how employers and supervisors are responsible for noise exposure. Contact us today at 1-888-ASK-THEM or at