Work Refusal

Under Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Ontario, you have the right to refuse unsafe, unhealthy work. If you have reason to believe the work is likely to endanger you or someone else, this is what you do. The union cannot within the scope of the OHSA perform a work refusal on behalf of the member. If you are in the position to do a work refusal contact me and I will support you through the process.

Procedure for a work refusal

First stage

  1. Worker considers work unsafe.

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

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

  4. Either:

  5. Issue resolved. Worker goes back to work.

  6. Issue not resolved. Proceed to the second stage


Second stage

  1. 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 MOL.

  2. MOL Inspector investigates in company of worker, safety representative and supervisor or management representative.*

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

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

* Pending the MOL 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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