Our recent webinars have focused on the workplace health and
safety obligations of businesses and their people, and offered
practical tips for staying in compliance. In addition to
occupational health and safety laws, we have tackled other
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has just announced that it will
be performing blitzes at numerous workplaces across Ontario between
May 2, 2016 and March 31, 2017, to investigate possible violations
of both employment standards and occupational health and safety
requirements. Targeted industries include food services, retail
stores, construction sites and mines, and sectors with vulnerable
workers (such as young and temporary foreign workers). Inspections
will also focus on businesses with a history of violations or
repeated offences. Employment standards inspectors will be on the
lookout for anything that could affect pay, overtime and work hours
for vulnerable workers.
On the health and safety side, the inspectors will be looking
for non-compliant conduct that includes fall hazards and electrical
hazards, as well as the handling of chemicals. The importance of
compliance is self-evident. However, it is also important that you
have a process in place for what to do when the inspector arrives
on his or her blitz inspection.
Businesses should have a pre-designated individual or
individuals responsible for meeting with the inspector. Such people
should be knowledgeable about health and safety or employment
standards requirements and have the ability to quickly retrieve
relevant policies, procedures, training, records, etc., if
requested by the inspector.
Ministry of Labour blitzes have resulted in inspectors issuing
over one million compliance orders for safety issues across all
sectors in Ontario since June 2008. Be prepared and make sure you
have the appropriate safeguards in place! If not, you may risk not
only receiving a compliance order, but you might be charged as
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).