Occupational Health and Safety Act

News & Analysis as of

MOL engineer not qualified to give expert evidence: he was too involved in the investigation, too closely identified with...

An Ontario judge has refused to permit a professional engineer employed with the Ontario Ministry of Labour to testify as an expert in a health and safety prosecution. A company was charged under the Occupational Health...more

FOI adjudicator denies access to MOL inspector’s reasons for recommending no OHSA charges against employer

An adjudicator with the office of Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner has denied access to a Ministry of Labour inspector’s reasons for recommending that Occupational Health and Safety Act charges not be laid...more

“Ill-conceived, poorly-executed” job search, “Alberta sojourn” breached Ontario employee’s duty to mitigate damages in...

Even though an employee “won” his safety-retaliation case under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after his employer failed to file a Response, the employee’s damages were reduced because his job search was shoddy....more

Labour arbitrator agrees to hear harassment-retaliation grievance under OHSA

Although a temporary employee had no termination protection under the collective agreement, he did have the right to advance a reprisal / retaliation claim under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a labour arbitrator has...more

Arbitrator Strikes Down Employer’s Total Ban On Smoking During Shift

Starting in January 2015, the employer – which manufactured wire and cable products – banned smoking anywhere on company property, including outside of the plant. Employees were also prohibited from leaving company property...more

Project Manager for Metron Construction convicted of criminal negligence in Christmas Eve fatalities. Three individuals and two...

The project manager who supervised the four workers who died after a swing stage scaffold collapsed on Christmas Eve, 2009, has been found guilty on four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal...more

“Creative sentence” imposed for OHSA violation: company must give 150 hours of safety presentations on case, plus pay fine

A Nova Scotia court has imposed a “creative sentence” for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, requiring the company to make safety presentations in addition to paying a fine. A journeyman electrician...more

Another lesson about clarity in settlements: employer may file WSIB appeal after mediated settlement, despite union’s objection

An employer’s appeal challenging a departed employee’s workers’ compensation entitlements may proceed, despite being filed after the employer, union and employee reached a settlement at mediation. The union had filed...more

Cost of compliance with safety officer’s order could cause serious economic harm to company: Appeals Tribunal

A safety officer’s compliance order has been suspended where the cost of compliance would be so high that it could cause serious economic harm to the company. The company performed stevedoring and terminal handling of...more

Bill 42: Towards a central portal in labour and employment

On April 15, 2015, the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity tabled Bill 42 in the Québec National Assembly. The Bill is titled, An Act to group the Commission de l'équité salariale, the Commission des normes...more

Ontario MOL Releases 2015-16 Safety Inspection Blitz Schedule

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has released its schedule of workplace inspection blitzes for the period from May 2015 to March 2016. The schedule gives employers advance notice of what MOL inspectors will look for when they...more

Ontario Passes Protecting Child Performers Act

On April 30, 2015, Ontario passed Bill 17, entitled the Protecting Child Performers Act; on May 5, 2015, Bill 17 received Royal Assent, and so, by its terms, the Act will come into force in February 2016 (nine months from...more

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

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