When a client has been charged under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act ("OHSA") many times we are
asked, what is the down side to pleading guilty and having a charge
under the OHSA?
The OHSA is one of a number of provincial statutes in
Ontario. The Regulatory Modernization Act, 2007 was
enacted by the Ontario government to allow information sharing
among the different Ontario Ministries and Regulatory
Agencies. On March 6, 2014, it was also used as part of the
sentencing hearing for one of the individuals charged and convicted
as a supervisor under the OHSA. Although the supervisor did
not have any prior convictions under the OHSA, she did
have prior convictions under other provincial legislation. In
the matter of R. v. J. R. Contracting Property Services
the supervisor was found guilty of failing as a supervisor to take
every reasonable precaution to protect a worker, in particular,
failing to provide an adequate form of fall protection to a worker
who was exposed to a hazard of falling more than three meters.
At the sentencing hearing, the Crown requested that the Justice
of the Peace consider section 15 of The Regulatory
Modernization Act, 2007. Section 15 states that where
the prosecution is of the opinion that a previous conviction is
relevant to the determination of the appropriate penalty for the
current conviction he or she may request that the Court consider
the previous conviction to be an aggravating factor. The
supervisor had past convictions under the Environmental
Protection Act, as well as intermittent terms of imprisonment
and substantial fines. The court considered her prior record
of offences in totality, along with the fact that there was
non-compliance with court orders of unpaid fines. The Court
agreed with the prosecutor, that even though the supervisor had
elder care responsibility for her mother, only a term of
imprisonment would fulfill the sentencing goal of deterrence, to
her specifically, and to the community generally. The court
ordered that the supervisor be subject to 45 days of continuous
Obviously in this case, the supervisor's past convictions
was an aggravating factor which resulted in a harsher OHSA
penalty, even though there were no previous OHSA
The importance of paying fines can also not be overlooked
here. Where a company is unable to pay a fine within the time
period imposed by the court, and if regular payments are
being made, the court will consider a request to extend the time to
pay the fine. At CCPartners we provide a full range of
options to clients who need to consider whether to put forward a
defence to charges under the OHSA or negotiate a
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
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.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).