News & Analysis as of

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

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

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

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

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

Alberta Court Imposes Large Fine For Employer In Calf-Roping Case

On October 31, 2013, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench released the sentencing decision in R. v. XI Technologies Inc., 2013 ABQB 651. The Court of Queen’s Bench sentenced the employer to a fine of $275,000, inclusive...more

Post-Accident Safety Fixes: An Admission Of Liability?

We are often asked whether post-accident fixes or improvements by an employer will be held against it if occupational health and safety charges are laid. For example, if an employer puts a guard on a machine after an employee...more

Inspector’s Opinion Beat Engineer’s In Request To Suspend OHSA Compliance Order

The Ontario Labour Relations Board has deferred to the opinion of a Ministry of Labour inspector over that of an engineer in refusing to suspend a compliance order issued by the inspector under the Occupational Health and...more

Voluntary Global Standard For Occupational Health And Safety Coming Soon

In August, the International Organization for Standardization(“ISO”), the world’s largest global developer of voluntary international standards, approved the creation of a project committee who will develop an international...more

Changing Landscape for Occupational Health and Safety in Alberta: Administrative Penalties and Tickets

For the first time in Alberta, companies and individuals (including workers) could face a monetary penalty for breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act), the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (the...more

“A Parking Lot Is Not Just A Parking Lot”: Scooter Accident Was WSIB Issue, Employee’s Lawsuit Barred

An employee’s motor scooter accident in her employer’s parking lot was a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board issue, so the employee was not entitled to sue the employer in the court, the Ontario Workplace Safety and...more

Angry Confrontation Of Employee By A Manager Could Be Safety Issue: OLRB

In what appears to be a departure from a growing line of cases, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has permitted an employee to advance her claim that the employer violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act when it fired...more

City Reasonably Relied On Engineer’s, Architect’s Stamp: OHSA Charge Dismissed In Wall Collapse Case

The City of Guelph acted reasonably when it relied on the stamped drawing of an architect and engineer as evidencing compliance with all legal requirements, an Ontario judge has held in dismissing an Occupational Health and...more

“E-Learning” Safety Orientation Module Coming Soon In Ontario; Printed Copies Of MOL Safety Orientation Materials Now Available

Worker safety orientation is expected to become mandatory in Ontario on January 1, 2014, as we have previously advised. The Ontario Ministry of Labour is developing an e-learning module that workers and supervisors can take...more

Safety Violations Get 37-Year Employee Fired For Cause

We don’t often hear of 37-year employees being fired for just cause. An arbitrator has recently upheld the dismissal of a long-service unionized employee for safety violations....more

Legislative Update: A Primer on the Recent Changes to Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act

The Protections and Compliance Statute Amendment Act, which received royal assent in December, 2012 has resulted in a number of changes to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. This article highlights two key...more

Farm Employer Guilty: “Accident Waiting To Happen” In Case Of Sinking Trailer That Rose Again

A farm employer has been convicted of a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act where portable steps being used by the employer were “not even barely adequate”....more

Work Refusal Process May Not Be Used To Challenge Employer’s Established Practices: OLRB

In a long-running and bitterly-fought case involving prison guards, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has held that the work refusal process under the Occupational Health and Safety Act may not be used to challenge existing...more

Safety Inspection Blitzes for Industrial and Construction Sectors

The Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has announced that inspectors will be conducting safety inspection blitzes on “Slips, Trips and Falls (ladder safety and fall protection hazards)” in February/March of this year, focusing...more

No Automatic OHSA Liability After Equipment-Failure Accident: Charge Dismissed Where Use Of Equipment Not “Likely”

Employers are not required to anticipate all safety hazards, however unforeseeable. A recent case illustrates this point. In a tragic accident, a worker died when a brace (which formed part of a makeshift winch used to...more

Even Careless, Reckless Workers Protected By OHSA: Ontario Court

A Justice of the Peace has reaffirmed that Ontario’s safety laws are intended to protect not only safe workers, but also workers who make mistakes, are careless or are reckless....more

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