Workplace Safety Canada

News & Analysis as of

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

A first for Alberta – Employer sentenced to corporate probation and community service for violating the Occupational Health and...

In a unique decision, an Alberta employer, Needoba Construction Ltd., which pleaded guilty to the general charge of failing to ensure, as far as it is reasonably practicable to do so, the health and safety of a worker, has...more

$5.3 million fine in Sunrise Propane case after joint prosecution under OHSA and EPA

Some cases illustrate very well the principle that “the more dangerous your operation, the more careful you must be”.  This case, involving a joint prosecution by the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Environment, is one of...more

Ontario OHSA convictions, fines inch up in 2014/15, MOL field visits at 11-year low

While the number of field visits conducted by Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors continued to decline in 2014/15, the number of convictions increased slightly, the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s “Occupational Health & Safety...more

Summary of judge’s reasons for giving Kazenelson, “unquestionably a person of good character”, a 3 1/2 year jail sentence for...

The judge’s reasons for sending Metron Construction’s project manager, Vadim Kazenelson, to jail for criminal negligence are now available. In our post of January 11th, we reported that the judge had sentenced Mr....more

3 1/2 years in prison for Metron project manager, Kazenelson, after criminal negligence conviction

Vadim Kazenelson, the project manager for Metron Construction, was sentenced today to 3½ years in prison for criminal negligence. This is the longest-ever jail sentence handed down for criminal negligence under the...more

“Industry standard” is not always appropriate safety precaution, and MOL inspector’s “gut instinct” is not enough to ground...

A mining company has won a lengthy dispute with the Ontario Ministry of Labour after satisfying the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the applicable “industry standard” was not appropriate in the case at hand. The...more

Does your safety policy require an accident investigation? Court suggests investigation file may not be litigation privileged

An Alberta judge has suggested that if a workplace safety policy or program requires that certain accidents be investigated, then the accident investigation reports may not be subject to litigation privilege – meaning that...more

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