News & Analysis as of

Ontario Government Responds to Early Results of Mine Safety Review

In December 2013, the province asked Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer to undertake a review of the occupational health and safety issues related to the mining sector, focusing first on underground mines. The review...more

Employee’s lack of knowledge of OHSA was factor in denying him promotion; employee’s grievance dismissed

An employee’s lack of knowledge of safety laws was a proper consideration in his employer’s decision to deny him a promotion, a labour arbitration board has decided. The employee, a unionized mechanic with the City of...more

No OHSA Charges Laid in Death of Alberta Youth Home Worker

A 19-year-old has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after he stabbed to death a youth worker at a supported independent living facility in Alberta in 2012. At the time of her death, the worker was working alone...more

No damages awarded for unforeseeable workplace assault, but employer ordered to rewrite harassment policy

The fact that an employee had engaged in harassment did not make it foreseeable that he would assault a coworker, a labour arbitrator has held. However, the company’s harassment policy was deficient and needed to be...more

Ontario OHSA convictions at six-year low in 2013/14, average fine relatively steady

The number of Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act convictions was at a six-year low in the government’s fiscal 2013/14 year, Ontario Ministry of Labour statistics show. There were 780 convictions in 2013/14,...more

MOL permits employer to have multi-workplace joint health and safety committee, union’s challenge dismissed

A union has lost a request to suspend a Ministry of Labour Director’s order allowing a school board to establish a multi-workplace joint health and safety committee. The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act...more

Notes taken post-accident can lose privilege if used to refresh memory, court decision suggests

Privileged notes taken by a witness – or by the employer from a witness – after a workplace accident may cease to be privileged if used by the witness to prepare to testify in court, a recent court decision...more

Ontario Bill to extend protection of OHSA to unpaid trainees

A new Ontario Bill will give unpaid trainees the protection of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The OHSA currently gives that protection to paid workers only. The current definition of “worker” under the OHSA...more

Reprimands for “violation of basic safety protocols” were not discriminatory

After failing in a harassment grievance that was based on the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employee has failed in his bid to persuade the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that safety-related discipline against him...more

“Disgruntled and aggressive clients” posed safety threat under OHSA

An employee who was fired one day after complaining to the Ministry of Labour that she felt threatened by “disgruntled and aggressive clients” was entitled to damages for the retaliatory discharge, the Ontario Labour...more

Improving warehouse safety for workers

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, there are more than 7,000 warehouses across the U.S., employing over 145,000 workers. Even in the safest of facilities, warehouse employees can face a number of...more

Less than a Month to Go: Top Six Tips on Mandatory Occupational Health and Safety Training in Ontario

Effective July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario will be required to ensure that all workers and supervisors have completed a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program as soon as practicable, pursuant to the...more

Canada Day deadline: Less than One Month to Complete Safety Awareness Training

Employers have less than one month to ensure that their workers and supervisors complete the mandatory “basic occupational health and safety awareness training” by July 1, 2014. This training is mandatory for all...more

“Everyone just knew” was not a defence to OHSA charges: court

An employer’s assertion that “everyone just knew” the safety rules, was not a defence to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an Ontario court has held. The employer’s “casual, oral practice” – without a...more

Government OHSA advisors must be licenced paralegals, court decides

Employees of Ontario’s Office of the Worker Advisor and Officer of the Employer Advisor who provide legal services relating to the Occupational Health and Safety Act must be licensed paralegals, an Ontario judge has decided....more

Saskatchewan Repeals its OHS Act and brings into force a new Employment Act

If you are doing business in Saskatchewan, you should consider whether this legal change applies to your operations. If it does, you should also stay alert to the next expected changes. This is particularly the case if you...more

Two Months Until July 1 Safety Awareness Training Deadline: Will You Be Compliant?

The July 1, 2014 deadline is quickly approaching. Employers in Ontario have two months to ensure that their workers and supervisors complete “basic occupational health and safety awareness training” before the deadline....more

Worker, Caught By MOL Inspector, Given Significant Fine For Safety Violation

An Ontario construction worker has been fined $1,500.00 after jumping from a hoist tower to a nearby roof. Unfortunately for the worker, a Ministry of Labour inspector saw him do it. ...more

Not Harassment To Remind Nurses Of Professional Obligations, Arbitrator Says

It was not “harassment” for a manager to mention the College of Nurses of Ontario and remind nurses of their professional obligations, an arbitrator has held....more

Ontario’s New Occupational Health and Safety Awareness and Training Regulation: Are You Compliant?

Beginning on July 1, 2014, employers in Ontario will have an added responsibility of ensuring that all workers and all supervisors in all workplaces that fall subject to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)...more

MOL Inspector’s “Unclear” Order Required School Board To Revise Its Workplace Violence Policy

A Ministry of Labour inspector has ordered an Ontario school board to revise its workplace violence policy, and the Ontario Labour Relations Board has suspended that Order, calling it “unclear”....more

Three Months Until July 1 Training Deadline: Update On Ontario’s New Safety Awareness Training Requirement

Ontario employers have less than three months left to ensure that their workers and supervisors get “basic occupational health and safety awareness training” before the July 1, 2014 deadline....more

New Ontario Mandatory Health And Safety Awareness Training For Workers And Supervisors: Deadline July 1, 2014

The safety and wellbeing of employees in the workplace is a concern in respect of employers of all sizes and across all sectors. This concern was magnified in Ontario after a quadruple fatality involving a scaffolding...more

Federal Health And Safety Officer’s File Not Absolutely Privileged: Arbitrator

A federal Health and Safety Officer’s file was not absolutely privileged, and a labour arbitrator may order parts of it produced to parties in an arbitration, an arbitrator has decided....more

Zero-Tolerance “Safety Absolute” Upheld: One Tie-Off Violation Gets Employee Fired For Cause

Zero-tolerance safety rules, often called “Life Saving Rules”, “Cardinal Safety Rules” or ”Safety Absolutes”, are becoming more common in industry. An arbitrator has now upheld the firing of a unionized employee for one...more

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