More than two-thirds of Ontario companies charged under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act plead guilty.
Defendants who plead guilty and allow the court to set their fines
pay, on average, 40% less in fines than defendants who plead guilty
and accept the Ministry of Labour's proposed fine. At least one
party is convicted and fined in 82% of Ontario workplace incidents
that result in occupational health and safety charges. Two-thirds
of corporations that go to trial are found guilty. These are some
of the nine findings that we have drawn from our study of
unpublished prosecution data obtained from the Ontario Ministry of
Labour through a Freedom of Information request.
From the data, which involves 863 defendants – 592
corporations and 271 individuals such as supervisors and workers
– charged with offences under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act, we have been able to paint a statistical
picture of what actually happens when employers, supervisors,
workers and others are charged under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act. All of the charges in our study were resolved
during the eighteen-month period from January 2009 to June
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On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Dentons hosted a panel discussion about the management of liabilities and risks associated with environmental crises, including potential liabilities for directors and officers and provided insight into risk and liability techniques associated with environmental crisis management.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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