21 Day Recommendations

  • When a hazard is reported to the Joint Health and Safety Committee in a workplace, the committee is tasked with examining the hazard and determining an appropriate course of action to take in order to eliminate or minimize the risk to workers through the hierarchy of controls.

  • If a source of danger is not being satisfactorily addressed by the on-site supervisor despite on-going reporting by a worker or by the worker member who carried out the workplace inspection, the JHSC can make written recommendation(s) to the employer to address the identified hazard(s).

  • A 21 Day Recommendation letter is typically written if a JHSC fails to reach a consensus. The Occupational Health and Safety Act does not stipulate that the JHSC work on a consensus, but it is highly recommended.

A 21 Day Recommendation Letter may include the following:

  • A summary of the position of the members of the JHSC who supported the recommendations.

  • A summary of the position of the members of the JHSC who did not support the recommendations.

  • Information about how the JHSC attempted to reach a consensus

It is highly recommended that the local unit office be contacted before writing a 21 Day Recommendation Letter.

Please call the office at (905) 574-6483 or email healthandsafety@oectahw.com for guidance.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states...


Crown and other Acts

Crown

2 (1) This Act binds the Crown and applies to an employee in the service of the Crown or an agency, board, commission or corporation that exercises any function assigned or delegated to it by the Crown.

Other Acts

(2) Despite anything in any general or special Act, the provisions of this Act and the regulations prevail. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 2.


What this means...

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act applies to almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario, including workplace owners, constructors and suppliers of equipment or materials to workplaces covered by the Act.

  • The OHSA is above other laws. It must be followed, other laws giving deference to the OHSA.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states...

Powers of co-chairs

(19.1) If the committee has failed to reach consensus about making recommendations under subsection (18) after attempting in good faith to do so, either co-chair of the committee has the power to make written recommendations to the constructor or employer. 2011, c. 11, s. 7 (1)

What this means...

  • If the JHSC is unable to agree upon how to address a hazard, the worker co-chair may draft a written letter to the board explaining the hazard and the recommendations being made on how to appropriately address the hazard.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states...

Response to recommendations

(20) A constructor or employer who receives written recommendations from a committee or co-chair shall respond in writing within twenty-one days. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 9 (20); 2011, c. 11, s. 7 (2).

What this means...

  • If the JHSC is unable to bring about action to address a hazard within their school, a written recommendation is a channel through which one is assured a response. The board is required to explicitly address the hazard through a written response. The response is required within 21 days.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states...

Idem

(21) A response of a constructor or employer under subsection (20) shall contain a timetable for implementing the recommendations the constructor or employer agrees with and give reasons why the constructor or employer disagrees with any recommendations that the constructor or employer does not accept. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 9 (21).

What this means...

  • If the board agrees with the recommendations made, timelines for implementation must be included in the written response.

  • If the board disagrees with the recommendations, the written response must outline their reason(s) for disagreeing.

NO REPRISALS

  • No worker in Ontario can face any sort of reprisal for acting upon a matter of health and safety.

  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act strictly forbids it.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act states...


No discipline, dismissal, etc., by employer

50 (1) No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall,

(a) dismiss or threaten to dismiss a worker;

(b) discipline or suspend or threaten to discipline or suspend a worker;

(c) impose any penalty upon a worker; or

(d) intimidate or coerce a worker,

because the worker has acted in compliance with this Act or the regulations or an order made thereunder, has sought the enforcement of this Act or the regulations or has given evidence in a proceeding in respect of the enforcement of this Act or the regulations or in an inquest under the Coroners Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 50 (1).

Arbitration

(2) Where a worker complains that an employer or person acting on behalf of an employer has contravened subsection (1), the worker may either have the matter dealt with by final and binding settlement by arbitration under a collective agreement, if any, or file a complaint with the Board in which case any rules governing the practice and procedure of the Board apply with all necessary modifications to the complaint. 1998, c. 8, s. 56 (1).


What this means...

Under section 50 of the OHSA, an employer cannot...

  • dismiss (or threaten to dismiss) a worker

  • discipline or suspend a worker (or threaten to do so)

  • impose (or threaten to impose) any penalty upon a worker, or

  • intimidate or coerce a worker…

...because a worker has...

  • followed the OHSA and regulations

  • exercised rights under the OHSA, including the right to refuse unsafe work

  • asked the employer to follow the OHSA and regulations.

A worker also cannot be penalized for...

  • providing information to a Ministry of Labour inspector

  • following a Ministry of Labour inspector’s order, or

  • testifying at a hearing about OHSA enforcement

    • in court

    • before the Ontario Labour Relations Board

    • before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario or similar organization

    • at a coroner’s inquest

    • at a grievance arbitration, and

    • in certain other hearings.

*Source: https://www.ontario.ca/document/guide-occupational-health-and-safety-act/part-vi-reprisals-employer-prohibited