Workers Health & Safety Centre

WHSC Overhauls Appeals (Provincial) Program

WHSC Overhauls Appeals (Provincial) Program
The Workers Health & Safety Centre’s Appeals-Provincial Program (Version 2.0) has undergone a major overhaul. Reduced to one module instead of two, the newly-minted Appeals Version 3 has been extensively reorganized and updated.
In the previous version the emphasis was on the appeals process—the application, mediation and so on. Participants developed skills to prepare for and actually participate in the appeal hearings. In Version 3 the program has taken on a different approach. The discussion and activities related to the appeals process have been minimized and the section on preparing for an appeals hearing has been deleted.
After feedback from WHSC constituency it became clear that many unions prefer to handle appeals and reprisal complaints at the local or national level. At these levels there are more experienced individuals and union lawyers specially-trained to handle the intricacies of the appeals process. The job of the joint health and safety committee members is to determine if a situation warrants special attention and to pass on the information to the union in a timely fashion.
To that end, WHSC’s new approach outlines the legal appeals process (including the Ontario Labour Relations Board’s (OLRB) practices). The six-hour program also equips worker representatives and other local activists to identify the types of situations in which an appeal is appropriate and why it is important to do so. For example, in a new section titled Why Appeal, participants learn there are three key reasons for filing an appeal:
  1. To stop behaviour-based safety (BBS) and control the hazard at the source.
  2. To ensure employers meet their duties and to stop workers from getting hurt.
  3. To set a benchmark for others.
Other changes to the Appeals-Provincial Program Version 3 are listed below.

Participant’s Manual

  • The Introduction section has been re-titled, To Appeal or Not to Appeal.
  • The format of the Field Visit Report is explained in detail to help participants read and understand Ministry of Labour (MOL) Field Reports/Orders. They also learn how to apply certain criteria (legal arguments, facts and supporting evidence) to decide whether or not to contact the union with a concern.
  • A new section titled Orders and the Law addresses prosecutions, how case law is interpreted and how it can set precedence that can impact future decisions.
  • Under Orders and the Law there is also a subsection on the legal defence of due diligence. Two defences are used under due diligence: “reasonable care” and “reasonable belief in mistaken facts”. These are explained.
  • There is also an added discussion on reasonable foreseeability.
  • A number of significant decisions are discussed throughout the program. These decisions are provided in a separate Dossier.
  • There are two new flow charts added to help participants visualize the appeals process: one with the union as an applicant; and the second one with the union as a responding party in the suspension of an inspector’s order.
  • All 12 of the previous Resource Sheets have been deleted (they mostly consisted of forms that are available from the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) website
  • Three new Resource Sheets have been added.
    1. Samples of Orders.
    2. MOL Field Visit Report Orders, Field Visit Report Narrative and Notice of Compliance.
    3. Chart Explaining Requirements for:
      1. Appeal of Inspector’s Order under OHSA.
      2. Application for Suspension of Inspector’ Order under OHSA.
      3. Application under Section 50 of OSHA.

Instructor Notes

The delivery of the program has completely changed. The Action and Learning Objectives are all new.
  • All four previous overheads have been deleted. There are now 21 new overheads.
  • All four previous worksheets have been deleted and replaced with two new ones:
    1. Worksheet #1, Reading Orders consists of two case studies. Its purpose is to familiarize participants with reading Inspector’s Orders and assist them in making an initial determination regarding the merits of an appeal. Participants are given background information and the Inspector’s Field Visit Report to work from.
    2. Worksheet #2, Case Studies for Determining Merits of an Appeal consists of four case studies, and these further hone the participants’ skills in determining the merits for an appeal based on the background information provided.