Occupational Health and Safety Act

News & Analysis as of

Company owner convicted, fined under OHSA for providing false information, failing to co-operate with MOL inspector

A widely-reported fire at a Kingston construction site that required the evacuation of a crane operator by helicopter, has resulted in fines against the owner of the company that supplied the crane operator. To avoid the...more

Even “inspecting” equipment is “working on it”: employer guilty of OHSA charge where employees had not even started maintenance...

A maintenance electrician had “worked on” a stuck shipping door when he simply “inspected” it, even though he had not actually performed maintenance on it, a court has ruled. He was injured when the door fell on him. The...more

Company that “met or exceeded many industry standards in its operations” still found guilty of OHSA charges

Exceeding industry standards does not, on its own, protect employers from health and safety convictions or fines, a recent court decision shows. A roofing company was charged with two offences under the Ontario Occupational...more

Aggravated damages awarded under OHSA for retaliatory firing

An employer has been ordered to pay aggravated damages – in addition to lost wages – after firing an employee in retaliation for raising safety issues. The employee worked at a hair salon. She suffered an injury at work as a...more

OHSA does not protect against retaliation for merely sustaining injury: OLRB

The Occupational Health and Safety Act may protect employees against retaliation for asserting their rights under that Act, but not for merely sustaining an injury, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has decided....more

“Flagrant disregard” of OHSA, failure to report, gets construction company convicted on 5 OHSA charges

A construction company that tried to blame a worker’s fall on his untied boots, has been found guilty of all 5 charges against it under Saskatchewan’s The Occupational Health and Safety Act. The 18-year-old worker, who had...more

OHSA charges were adequately particularized, court finds: disclosure showed violations Crown intended to prove

A judge has rejected an employer’s argument that Occupational Health and Safety Act charges against it were unclear and that the Crown was required to provide further “particulars” of the charges so the employer could defend...more

“Who is a supervisor?” Ontario Ministry of Labour releases guideline

Employers often struggle with the question of who is a “supervisor” under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. The answer to that question is obviously important because supervisors have legal duties under the...more

Update on changes to WHMIS requirements and transition period

Work Safe Alberta has released an Occupational Health and Safety bulletin to assist Alberta employers and workers understand the impact of the recent amendments to the federal WHMIS legislation ( see my earlier blog post...more

Constructor made mistake of law, not fact: convicted of OHSA charge

A constructor that argued the “mistake of fact” due diligence defence was instead found to have made a “mistake of law” and was convicted of a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act....more

Mere posting of standard operating procedure was not enough: OLRB refuses to suspend MOL inspector’s training order

Employers often post new procedures in the workplace without providing formal training.  A recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board suggests that for some work procedures, posting is not enough; rather, training...more

Having an active joint health and safety committee can help employers defend against OHSA charges, court decision suggests

An Ontario court has dismissed charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after two incidents which the joint health and safety committee did not identify as posing a “high priority” safety concern....more

“If you think your salary is low . . .”: employer’s presentation was “offensive, distasteful and inappropriate as a motivational...

An adjudicator has criticized an employer’s motivational presentation as “offensive, distasteful and inappropriate as a motivational tool”, but found that it was not illegal. The presentation was delivered by a Regional...more

OHSA charges dismissed: not appropriate for MOL to charge under “general duty” clause where specific regulation addressed safety...

In dismissing Occupational Health and Safety Act charges against an employer arising out of a fatality, an Ontario court has held that it is not appropriate for the Ministry of Labour to charge under the “general duty clause”...more

“Not the right fit”? Fired hours after MOL inspector’s visit, employee awarded $19,000 in damages

Employers who have bona fide reasons for dismissing an employee should avoid using “not the right fit”. They should also show up at Ontario Labour Relations Board hearings. An employer that dismissed an employee hours after a...more

On the Radar Screen: the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014

As we reported in a previous blog post that can be found here, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014 makes some significant changes to several Ontario statutes.  The legislation received Royal Assent on...more

Supervisor fined after workers exposed to asbestos dust

A supervisor with an asbestos abatement company, and his employer, have pleaded guilty to charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and were fined, after workers were exposed to asbestos dust on a job site....more

Employer Who Voluntarily Complied with MOL Inspector’s Orders Was Not Entitled to Suspension of Orders Pending Appeal

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has held that where an employer had complied with a Ministry of Labour inspector’s compliance orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to the satisfaction of the MOL, the...more

WSIB Age Cut-off for Loss-of-Earnings Benefits not Discriminatory Against Older Workers: Court

Ontario’s Divisional Court has decided that the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act’s age cut-off for loss of earnings benefits for older workers did not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms....more

Where MOL Inspector Withdraws OHSA Compliance Order, OLRB Cannot Reinstate While Appeal Argued

Although an employer may appeal a Ministry of Labour inspector’s rescission (withdrawal) of a compliance order that he or she wrote to an employer under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ontario Labour Relations...more

OLRB Agrees to Hear Another Harassment Case

The debate continues as to whether the Ontario Labour Relations Board has jurisdiction to hear harassment-reprisal complaints under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but another Vice-Chair of the OLRB has said “yes”....more

Two company directors jailed 25 days after worker dies, no safety training provided

Rarely are senior corporate officials jailed for health and safety offences in Canada.  But recently, two company directors of an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories, were jailed for 25 days after a worker died...more

Dismissal of safety-reprisal complaint set aside where employee, mistaken about start time, failed to attend hearing

An employer is facing a resurrected Ontario Labour Relations Board safety-reprisal hearing after the case was dismissed when the employee failed to attend the hearing. The OLRB dismissed the complaint as abandoned...more

“Zero tolerance”, automatic suspension approach to safety violations criticized, written warning substituted

Employers are increasingly taking a “zero tolerance” approach in which a minimum level of discipline – whether a suspension or dismissal – is imposed for certain serious safety violations. In a recent case, an arbitrator...more

Saskatchewan Prime Contractor Regulations Coming into Force January 1, 2015

On January 1, 2015, The Occupational Health and Safety (Prime Contractor) Regulations will come into force in Saskatchewan (the Prime Contractor Regulations). If you are doing business in Saskatchewan, you should...more

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