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.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) prohibits employers from penalizing workers in reprisal for obeying the law or exercising their rights.
Under section 50 of the OHSA, an employer cannot
because a worker has
A worker also cannot be penalized for
A worker who believes that the employer has reprised against him or her may file a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). A unionized worker may choose to ask the union to file a grievance under the collective agreement or to seek its help in filing a complaint directly on the worker’s behalf with the OLRB.
Alternatively, a worker claiming to have been fired in an OHSA-related reprisal may consent to having a Ministry of Labour inspector refer the reprisal allegation to the OLRB, if
The inspector will also provide copies of the referral to the employer, trade union (if any) and other organizations affected by the alleged reprisal. However, the Ministry of Labour will not act as the worker’s representative.
The Ministry of Labour will also investigate the health and safety concerns related to a reprisal complaint or referral.
The OLRB can look into a worker’s complaint or a referral from the Ministry of Labour and try to mediate a settlement between the workplace parties. If a settlement cannot be reached, the OLRB may hold a consultation or hearing. The OLRB may make orders to
The OLRB will provide forms for filing reprisal complaints.
The Office of the Worker Adviser (OWA) or the Toronto Workers’ Health & Safety Legal Clinic can provide workers with free advice on filing complaints and representation at mediations and hearings before the OLRB.
If there is an allegation of reprisal before the OLRB, it’s up to the employer to refute it. The Office of the Employer Adviser can provide free assistance and representation at mediations and hearings before the OLRB to employers with fewer than 50 employees. Also, employers can contact the Law Society of Upper Canada, which will put them in touch with a lawyer who may provide a free initial consultation.
For information resources related to reprisals refer to Appendix C.
ISBN 978-1-4606-5308-1 (HTML)
ISBN 978-1-4606-5307-4 (Print)
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.