In an unusual development, a director of a medium-sized company
has been personally found guilty and fined under the Occupational
Health and Safety Act. The company's Internet site states
that its field personnel include a dozen full time project
superintendents, suggesting a medium-sized company. Most
directors fined in the past have been in a hands on role with a
In 2008, a worker fell from a cement pier while dismantling a
guardrail system in Field, Ont. The worker suffered head and leg
injuries, and was sent to hospital.
Bélanger Construction (1981) Inc. and R.M.
Bélanger Limited were found guilty of a total of four
charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act relating
to fall protection, and were fined $290,000 in total plus the 25%
Victim Fine Surcharge.
The companies' director, Ronald Bélanger, was fined
$10,000 in relation to the same incident plus the Victim Fine
Surcharge. He was found to have failed as a director to ensure
that both companies complied with the provisions of the
Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.
The Ministry of Labour's press release states that the court
found that the worker was not protected by fall protection of any
kind, and that three other workers at the construction project
were similarly unprotected. The press release says that there
was a lack of equipment for each worker on the job, as well as a
lack of proper care and inspection of existing safety equipment.
The court also found that the supervisor on site was
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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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