An inspector's alleged statement that, "our branch is
different up here. I know in southern Ontario they fine,
fine, fine. But we don't do that here" was not a promise
that he wouldn't lay charges under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act, a justice of the peace has decided.
The employer was charged with two offences under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act. It asked the court to
throw out the charges for "abuse of process" because the
Ministry of Labour inspector had not kept his promise that he
wouldn't lay charges.
The justice of the peace decided that the inspector "might
just as easily have been saying, 'We don't jump to
conclusions the first day, before we do a complete
investigation.'" Given that there had been a serious
injury, it was virtually predetermined that there would be an
investigation, and the employer should not have expected
otherwise. The inspector had not intended to put the employer
at ease and then "pounce" on him. There was no
abuse of process. The charges could proceed.
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