When Unfettered Compliance is a Detriment: Appealing Orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act

  • May 06, 2021
  • Carissa N. Tanzola and Stephanie Nicholson, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

Pursuant to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, RSO 1990, c O.1 (the “OHSA”), Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (“MOL”) Inspectors have broad authority to investigate workplaces and issue health and safety orders.

Within the last year the Ontario government has hired more than 100 new MOL Inspectors to investigate workplace-related COVID-19 safety concerns.  This brings the total number of MOL Inspectors to over 500, which is the largest number of Inspectors in Ontario’s history.  Predictably, there has been an increase in MOL inspections and orders made to employers relating to a variety of issues ranging from compliance with the OHSA to workplace fatalities.

Many employers do not challenge these orders.  However, employers have the right to appeal and/or seek a suspension of an Inspector’s orders and it is often advantageous to do so.