Corporate directors can be charged by the Ontario Ministry of
Labour and fined under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Threatening and swearing at a Ministry of Labour inspector
certainly increases the odds of charges being laid.
A Ministry of Labour inspector visited a construction project
where Starland Contracting Ltd. had been hired to build a
self-service car wash. The inspector saw a worker on the roof
without fall protection or a hard hat.
A few months later, the inspector made a follow-up visit.
The company's director was on site and was acting as
supervisor. According to the Ministry of Labour press
release, the inspector went to speak with the director, who uttered
profanities at the inspector, told the inspector to leave the
project, and made threatening gestures and comments towards the
inspector. The director refused to show identification when
The next day, another Ministry of Labour inspector went to the
site. Starland was unable to show a Notice of
Project Form or a Form 1000, which lists all employers and
subcontractors on site. That inspector issued an order for
those documents, but they were not provided by the deadline in the
Starland and the director were charged by the Ministry of Labour
under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. After an
ex-parte trial (meaning that the company and the director did not
attend at the trial), the company was convicted of three offences
under the OHSA and fined $29,500.00, and the director was convicted
of two offences (hindering, obstructing, molesting and interfering
with an inspector; and refusing to provide information requested by
an inspector) and fined $8,500.00.
The Ministry of Labour's press release may be found here.
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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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