Workplace Safety Canada

News & Analysis as of

Alberta court of appeal dismisses worker’s appeal In his 20+ year old case against a developer

The Alberta Court of Appeal has recently confirmed that an owner/developer of a condominium conversion project was not liable for damages in a civil action commenced by a worker....more

Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act

Ontario’s new sexual violence and harassment law, the “Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act, 2015” comes into force on September 8, 2016. The new law, which arises from the Ontario Government’s report, “It’s Never...more

Workplace Harassment, a Changing Legislative Landscape

There are legislative changes on the horizon that will affect Ontario workplaces as part of the Ontario government’s “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment.” Bill 132, Sexual Violence...more

Reverse burden of proof sinks no-show employer: OLRB awards more than $25,000 for safety-reprisal

An employer that failed to attend a safety-reprisal hearing has been ordered to pay two employees damages of more than $25,000.00. The employees filed an application with the Ontario Labour Relations Board claiming that...more

Clarifying Irving: Can an Alberta Employer Implement a Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy in a Safety Sensitive Workplace?

Despite a new decision on the issue from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (the “Court”) on May 18, 2016, the answer to this question remains “maybe.” The Court has, however, provided us with a measure of clarity concerning...more

Suncor Clears Important Hurdle in Implementation of Random Alcohol and Drug Testing in Alberta

Employers seeking to introduce random alcohol and drug testing in hazardous work environments have reason to be optimistic following the recently released decision in Suncor Energy Inc. v. Unifor Local 707A. Justice D.B....more

Vague OHSA charges must be clarified: court orders prosecutor to provide particulars of charge

A judge has ordered a prosecutor to provide “particulars” of a vague charge under the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act, so the constructor could understand the charge against it....more

City wins suspension of MOL inspector’s “constructor” order

A city has won a suspension of a Ministry of Labour inspector’s decision that the city was a “constructor” under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act on a watermain-improvement project....more

Watch Out: Ontario Ministry of Labour Inspection Blitzes/Initiatives Are Coming

The Ontario Ministry of Labour recently announced its 2016 and 2017 enforcement blitz and initiative schedule. In an effort to emphasize the importance of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring employer compliance with both...more

$250,000 fine against school board may be largest-ever against not-for-profit organization in Ontario

A school board has been handed a $250,000 fine under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act after the death of maintenance worker. The maintenance worker had been assigned the task of replacing a safety cage on a...more

Watch Out: Ontario Ministry of Labour Inspection Blitzes/Initiatives Are Coming

The Ontario Ministry of Labour recently announced its 2016 and 2017 enforcement blitz and initiative schedule. In an effort to emphasize the importance of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring employer compliance with both...more

“The larger the corporation, the larger the fine”: A corporate defendant’s financial circumstances is a relevant sentencing factor...

A small, family owned and operated custom cabinet business was fined $75,000 plus the Victim Fine Surcharge of $11,250 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of a...more

Shot at in parking lot, employee awarded $5,000 in damages from employer despite WSIB coverage

A labour arbitrator has awarded a unionized employee $5,000.00 in damages from his employer – despite the fact that the employer was registered with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board....more

Employee stopped production line “to be difficult”, not due to safety issue: work refusal not justified

An employee who shut down a production line allegedly because two other employees were fighting, was not exercising a proper work refusal under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has...more

Employer’s request for post-incident alcohol and drug test was not justified where no sign of impairment: arbitrator

An employee responsible for a minor, although unusual, accident in a company parking lot was justified in refusing to submit to an alcohol and drug test, a labour arbitrator has found. The employee was an electrician....more

Ontario MOL now posting “de-identified” information on fatalities online, even before OHSA charges laid

Ontario workplace fatalities could now result in a “de-identified” posting on the Ministry of Labour’s website, even before Occupational Health and Safety Act charges are laid. The postings provide a brief description of the...more

No contempt in the face of the “voluminous” British Columbia Occupational Health and Safety Regulation

In the wake of some recent high-profile workplace accidents, 2015 legislative amendments to the Workers Compensation Act were designed to give WorkSafeBC more tools to enforce its mandate. Among other things, WorkSafeBC can...more

General contractor, not present on job site, was still responsible for subcontractor’s safety: labour board

A general contractor on a residential project was responsible for the safety of its subcontractors even though it was not on site at the time of an incident. The general contractor objected to two compliance orders...more

Teachers’ union fighting for right to refuse work due where students violent

A student’s violent acts in a classroom have led to a dispute about the circumstances in which teachers may engage in a work refusal for safety reasons. The student was described as having a “history of violent behavior”.  He...more

Canadian Employment News Series: Have a workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee? Certification requirements are changing in...

The certification requirements for Ontario workplace Joint Health and Safety Committee (“JHSC”) members are changing on March 1, 2016. These changes will impact all employers who are required to have a workplace JHSC....more

Court upholds arbitrator’s imposition of 24-hour shift for firefighters, despite city’s safety concerns

In a previous post, we reported that an arbitrator had accepted a union’s request to impose 24-hour shifts for the City of St. Catharines’ firefighters, in spite of the city’s safety concerns. A court has now upheld the...more

Ontario Approves New Noise Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour approved a new Noise Regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) on December 9, 2015. This regulation (O. Reg. 381/15) replaces the noise protection requirements set out in the...more

Death of visitor leads to employer’s conviction, $100,000 fine under OHSA

This case is a reminder that injuries to non-employees can lead to Occupational Health and Safety Act convictions and fines against employers. A visitor to a self-storage facility in North Bay fell through an open hole...more

Ontario Court Sentences Project Manager to 3.5 Years in Jail for Fatal Workplace Accident

In a first for the province of Ontario, on January 11, 2016, a construction project manager charged and convicted under the Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code was sentenced to serve time in prison for criminal...more

Waiver was unenforceable under WSIA, employee entitled to sue employer after workplace injury

An Ontario employee has won the right to sue his employer for damages for an injury suffered at work.  An appeal court decided that a waiver he signed was, due to provisions in the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act,...more

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