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Fatalities and Immediate Response (FAIR) Policy

Contact protocol with families of workers who have been fatally injured in the workplace

  • Issued: January 2010
  • Revised: March 2012
  • Content last reviewed: September 2015

What is FAIR?

When a worker is fatally injured at a workplace, the manager of the Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspector who is investigating the fatality will contact the family of the deceased by letter within three weeks of the date of the incident.

The manager will follow up with a phone call to the family of the deceased within three weeks of the date of the incident to express their condolences and answer any questions the family may have regarding the MOL’s role in the investigation/prosecution process.

The letter will provide the family with general information regarding the MOL’s investigation process and prosecution process along with the contact information for the manager and Regional Director who can be contacted at any time if the family has questions or concerns.

The Regional Director will contact the family within six months of the date of the fatality to update the family on the status of the investigation and inform the family if and when charges are laid unless circumstances specific to the investigation require the Regional Director to extend this timeline.

The manager will maintain contact with the family periodically during the course of the investigation, the prosecution (if any) and the Coroner’s inquest (if any).

Periodic contact may include scheduling specific dates and times when the manager contacts the family by phone or meets with the family in person.

Managers understand that families cope with and experience grief in different ways and take this into account when determining frequency of contact with the family of the deceased.

Furthermore, managers will provide the family with contact information for other support and assistance services which can help the family cope with their loss. A contact list is provided at the back of this pamphlet.

During the investigation/prosecution process, the MOL manager will be as open and transparent as possible in providing the family of the deceased with appropriate information in a timely fashion without compromising the integrity of the investigation and any potential prosecution.

The investigation and possible prosecution: what the family should know

The MOL investigates all workplace fatalities to try to determine the cause of the incident and to identify preventative actions.

Once the investigation is complete, MOL staff will review the investigation report. If prosecution for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is warranted, charges will be laid within one year of the date of the offence

The manager will inform the family if and when charges are laid and if charges are laid will provide the family with important court dates and contact information for the MOL lawyer handling the prosecution.

After the investigation/prosecution is complete a Coroner’s inquest may take place. The purpose of an inquest is to determine the circumstances of the death and to make recommendations to prevent any future workplace death in similar circumstances.

Note that the Coroner’s office is completely separate from the MOL. If a Coroner’s inquest takes place, the Coroner’s office will contact the family with the date and location of the inquest.

Freedom of Information

The MOL will not provide specific details about its investigation while the investigation is ongoing, or, if charges are laid, until the prosecution is complete.

After the investigation is complete and a determination has been made that no charges will be laid or, if charges are laid, after the prosecution has been completed, the family may obtain details of the investigation by making a Freedom of Information request from the Ministry of Labour’s Freedom of Information and Privacy office.

FAIR partnership

The FAIR partnership is a joint project of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB), the Ministry of Labour (MOL), Threads of Life, and the Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA). Its goal is to provide timely and comprehensive assistance to survivors following a traumatic workplace fatality. Some of the services provided by the partners include:

  • A WSIB Crisis Intervention Counsellor contacts the family within 48 hours of the fatality and will make appropriate referrals to the MOL, OWA, Threads of Life, and other community resources;
  • Advice and representation in workplace insurance matters;
  • How to access information through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA);
  • Bereavement counselling; and
  • Material resources to orient families to administrative processes that follow
  • a fatality or life-altering injury/illness and assist them in understanding those processes.

Helpful Contacts

Ministry of Labour

400 University Avenue, 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 1T7
Toll-free telephone: 1-877-202-0008

Freedom of Information and Privacy Office
(Ministry of Labour)
Telephone: 416-326-7786

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Telephone: 416-344-1000
Toll-free telephone: 1-800-313-7373

Office of the Worker Adviser

Toll-free telephone: 1-800-435-8980

Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Service

25 Morton Shulman Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M3M 0B1
Telephone: 416-314-4000
Toll-Free: 1-877-991-9959

Threads of Life

Telephone: 519-685-4276
Toll-free telephone: 1-888-567-9490

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