LABOUR - OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY CHARGE DEFENCE LAWYER

Occupational Health Safety Lawyer Ottawa • Occupational Health Safety Lawyer Toronto

What are Labour and Occupational Health & Safety Offences

These offences are prosecuted either by Government of Canada or a provincial government, depending on who regulates your workplace rather than on the nature of the offence. Airports, harbours, and federal departments are all governed by Federal regulation, while most all of the private sector is provincially regulated. Charges can be triggered by workplace "hazardous occurrences" involving risks or actual injuries, deaths, or breaches of safety ordinances.

They are all "regulatory" as opposed to criminal offences, unless a related offence like criminal negligence causing death is charged from the Criminal Code. Officers, directors, managers and supervisors of businesses all potentially face quasi-criminal liability for health and safety lapses of their companies.

Why Fight Labour & Occupational Health and Safety Charges

Conviction for labour/occupational health and safety offences risks significant damage to the reputation of a company, financial penalties, and even jail time for supervisors, managers and directors. A conviction might also come with a host of compliance orders. 

There is a world of difference between an administrative regulatory compliance order, and an actual offence being charged. The first only notes deficiencies and encourages them to be fixed, whereas the second is punitive in nature. 

How to Fight Labour & Occupational Health and Safety Charges: Top 2 Trial Defences

1. We had a reasonable system in place, and were duly diligent in preventing incidents

Due diligence is a defence to most regulatory charges, though you might need to call expert evidence and will definitely need to carefully gather documentation and non-expert witnesses so that you can present to a court the complete picture of the compliance culture inherent in your business. 

2. The conduct complained of doesn't come within the technical prohibitions of the Act charged

Because labour and health and safety regulations are often very technical in nature, the offence you are charged with may not line up with the conduct being complained about.