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Procedure for a Work Refusal
Safety Guidelines for the Live Performance Industry in Ontario

  • Issued: August 2005
  • Revised: February 5, 2016
  • Content last reviewed: February 2016
  • See also: Performance Industry

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

You don't have to do work or use anything you consider unsafe. Any worker who thinks that a piece of equipment or an activity is unsafe to himself/herself or another worker may refuse to use that equipment or do that activity. You do not have to make a formal or official announcement. Simply stating that something is unsafe is enough to start the work refusal process.

Note: For the purposes of subsections 43 (3) to (10) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, if the worker is a child performer under 14 years of age, “worker” includes the child performer’s parent, guardian or chaperone (section 24 of the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015).

First Stage

Worker considers work unsafe.

Next Step

Worker reports refusal to his/her supervisor or employer.
Worker may also wish to advise the worker safety rep. and/or management rep.
Stays in safe place.

Next Step

Employer or supervisor investigates in the presence of the worker and the worker safety representative.

Option 1

Issue Resolved

Worker goes back to work.

Option 2

Issue Not Resolved

[proceed to the second stage]

Second Stage

With reasonable grounds to believe work is still unsafe, worker continues to refuse and remains in safe place.
Worker or employer or someone representing worker or employer calls the Ministry of Labour.

Next Step

Ministry of Labour Inspector investigates in consultation with the worker, safety rep. and supervisor or management rep.[1]

Next Step

Inspector gives decision to worker, management rep./supervisor and safety rep. in writing.

Next Step

Changes are made if required or ordered.
Worker returns to work.

[1] Pending the Ministry of Labour investigation:

  • The refusing worker may be offered other work if it doesn't conflict with a collective agreement
  • Refused work may be offered to another worker, but management must inform the new worker that the offered work is the subject of work refusal. This must be done in the presence of:
    • a member of the joint health and safety committee who represents workers; or
    • a health and safety representative, or
    • a worker who because of his or her knowledge, experience and training is selected by the trade union that represents the worker or, if there is not trade union, by the workers to represent them

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Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.