occupational health and safety

With the spread of the novel 2019 coronavirus, employers may face significant disruptions in the workplace.

As of January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada have stated that the risk of a major outbreak in Canada remains low, but has encouraged extra precautionary measures. Two cases in Ontario, and one in British Columbia have been confirmed.

Employers should be aware of the legal framework within which they can prepare, manage, and address developments caused by the spread of this virus.
Continue Reading The Coronavirus: How Ontario Employers Can Prepare

Forty percent of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis. Moreover, 7% of adult internet users in Canada self-reported experiencing cyberbullying at some point in their life. The most common form of cyberbullying involves receiving threatening or aggressive emails or instant messages.[1]
Continue Reading Beyond the Playground: Stamping out Workplace Cyberbullying

Recent arbitration decisions confirm that conduct amounting to harassment or bullying will not be tolerated in unionized workplaces and that an appropriate investigation needs to be carried out in response to a complaint. The approach is consistent with decisions concerning harassment in non-union workplaces, increased legislative protections for workers and a changed social climate brought on by the #MeToo movement.
Continue Reading Harassment or Blue Collar Culture? A New Standard for Shop Floor Conduct

Following the Senate’s historic vote in favour of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the Federal Government announced yesterday that recreational marijuana will become legal on October 17, 2018. In anticipation of Bill C-45 becoming law, the provinces have begun preparing a framework for regulating the production, distribution, sale, possession and consumption of cannabis. Ontario’s response is Bill 174. With legalization fast approaching, we outline below key aspects of Bill 174 and steps to help employers prepare for the new reality.
Continue Reading Cannabis Becomes Legal on October 17, 2018 – Is Your Workplace Ready?

This is the final article in our three-part series on recent changes to Alberta’s labour and employment legislation. Here we outline changes to Alberta’s occupational health and safety (“OHS”) and workers’ compensation legislation resulting from Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans.
Continue Reading Alberta Strengthens Workplace Safety Legislation

Ontario’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”) passed its third reading on November 22, 2017, confirming that many significant changes to Ontario’s labour and employment legislation are imminent.

Most of these changes were summarized in our last Bill 148 article (see here).  However, the following significant changes were made to Bill 148 since our last post:

  • Family Medical Leave will now be extended to 28 weeks, and will apply to all critically ill family members, not just children.
  • The first five days of Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave will now be paid.
  • Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, an employer shall not require a worker to wear footwear with an elevated heel unless it is required for the worker to perform his or her work safely (subject to certain exceptions).


Continue Reading Ontario Legislature Passes Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Under British Columbia’s Workers Compensation Act (“Act”) an employer must immediately notify WorkSafeBC of a workplace accident that (among other things):

  • results in serious injury or death to a worker
  • involves a major structural failure or collapse
  • involves the major release of a hazardous substance

When such accidents occur, the scene of the accident must not be disturbed until an investigation has taken place.

At first glance the “reporting requirement” is clear. But in practice it can give rise to uncertainty. For example, if the worksite is not owned by the employer, must the owner report? And who is responsible for reporting incidents when there are multiple employers on a single worksite?
Continue Reading Who is required to report workplace accidents in British Columbia?