Mathews Dinsdale & Clark has one of the leading occupational health and safety practices in Canada. We specialize in representing, advising and supporting organizations and management in provincial and federal OHS matters. Our team combines the strength of skilled and successful OHS litigators (including three former OHS prosecutors), peer-recognized advisors, acknowledged authors and editors of OHS publications, and experienced consultants.
With offices across Canada, and decades of legal and consulting experience, we deliver persuasive advocacy, strategic advice, practical solutions, and immediate crisis management to address all types of OHS issues including:
The Mathews Dinsdale team has decades of experience in advising and guiding organizations responding to the most serious, high profile and complex workplace accidents. We provide immediate strategic, knowledgeable and practical advice that can dramatically reduce the risk of OHS charges or administrative monetary penalties for the organization and management. In fact, our lawyers have a strong record of preventing OHS prosecutions and liability – the best possible outcome for our clients.
In addition, CompClaim, our consulting practice, is able to offer immediate on-site support to address immediate health and safety risks and to guide the collection and retention of the information necessary to advance the interests of the organization and its officers, directors, management and supervisors.
Prosecutions, Appeals, and Inquests
When litigation arises or becomes necessary, we provide experienced and successful advocates able to skilfully litigate the case in a manner that keeps your best interests in mind. Our team has the depth of litigation experience that is gained from representing clients in numerous trials and appeals of OHS charges, Charter motions, Coroner’s inquests, and other OHS-related litigation. Our lawyers have also repeatedly appeared as counsel in appeals following prosecutions and we are frequently retained by organizations and other firms to provide second opinions for appeals.
While the strategy employed will depend on the circumstances of each particular case, Mathews Dinsdale tries to find the most expeditious and cost-effective solutions for its clients. As such and where appropriate, we have assisted clients in successfully presenting evidence or information to the regulator resulting in the withdrawal of charges without a trial.
Challenging OHS Orders, Directions, and Administrative Monetary Penalties
Orders or directions issued by government officials that are made without an appropriate factual or legal foundation can result in tremendously detrimental business and safety-related consequences. Such orders and directions can be appealed and our team has a significant track record of success in appeals of provincial and federal orders and directions. Further, in some cases, a hearing may not be the best means of remedying a troubling order or direction. Our team maintains good relationships with OHS regulators and we have been very successful in having orders and directions rescinded, without a hearing, by engaging in a forceful but professional discussion with the regulator.
Where this is possible, this approach provides a quick and very cost-effective result for our clients. In jurisdictions where administrative penalties are imposed, our lawyers provide skilled advocacy for clients challenging such penalties through an appeal.
Urgent or Sensitive OHS Matters
Mathews Dinsdale provides strategic and practical advice to clients on matters requiring immediate support and guidance, complex, and/or involve sensitive issues. This can include work refusals, complaints of workplace violence or harassment, issues relating to designated substances such as asbestos, contracting for work or services, and managing the OHS aspects of construction projects. We know the applicable legal requirements, obligations, leading case law, and the approach of the OHS regulator.
This allows us to provide strategic advice to creatively protect organizational interests while complying with applicable regulatory obligations. Our maintenance of positive and professional relations with government authorities means we can work effectively with regulators to address complex workplace health and safety issues to achieve meaningful, cost-effective results.
Contracting for Work
The OHS implications of contracting with another party to perform work vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, may have legal principles that are not widely known and are not intuitive, and can attract significant OHS liability. We are able to provide thorough, tactical and pragmatic advice in creating or reviewing contracts and contractor management programs and in guiding the organization through the complex web of provincial and federal contracting requirements.
OHS Program Review or Training Seminar
We are experienced advisors on OHS policies and programs. Our team can advise on compliance with legal obligations, due diligence expectations and on enhancements to existing programs. We conduct solicitor-client privileged legal audits that remain confidential for the organization and management using our legal and consulting team. We also advise and train on a broad and diverse range of OHS topics that includes workplace violence and harassment, contractor management, due diligence, director and officer risk management, accident and inspection response, and numerous other OHS-related topics.
EMERGENCY 24-HOUR ASSISTANCE
In the event of an emergency, organizations and management can reach Mathews Dinsdale’s national OHS and Workers’ Compensation Practice Group any day or time through our toll-free OHS Emergency hotline: 1.855.MDC.4.OHS (1.855.632.4647). The hotline will connect you to one of our experienced OHS lawyers or professionals who can provide immediate assistance and support, including strategic and legal advice, in the event of a serious workplace accident, stop work or prejudicial compliance order, and other urgent OHS matters.
Visit the Resource section to discover invaluable OHS resources
OHS & Workers’ Compensation Group Brochure
August 22, 2019
OHS Administrative Monetary Penalties Continue to Climb Even for Near Misses
A recent $40,000 penalty in NS demonstrates how high OHS-related AMPs can reach for a near miss, where no accident or injury has even occurred.
August 1, 2019
A New Address for OHS Appeals Under Canada Labour Code
All health and safety appeals, under Part II of the Code, will now be heard and determined by the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
July 23, 2019
Ontario Ministry of Labour Launches “Summer Safety Blitz”
Province-wide “Blitz” has begun, targeting certain sectors which most often employ new and young workers.
July 5, 2019
Canada Finalizes New Workplace Accessibility Standards as Bill C-81 Receives Royal Assent
Bill C-81, is aimed at establishing new accessibility standards applicable to federally regulated organizations.
July 3, 2019
Directors Beware: You May Be Personally Liable for Workplace Injuries
The AB Court of Appeal tells us that a director can be personally liable for workplace injuries unless they purchase additional, specific, WCB insurance protecting them.
May 10, 2019
A Formula For Jail in Occupational Health and Safety Act Cases
A reminder and demonstration of the circumstances that significantly increase the likelihood of a jail sentence for employers.
April 16, 2019
Ontario Court Permits Employer to Accommodate Active WSIB Claims Before Other Disabled Employees
In this article we review what the Court says was – and was not – permissible under human rights law as the employer wrestled with a question facing many workplaces: who should we accommodate first?
February 7, 2019
Watch out Taxpayers: WorkSafeBC Issues the Largest Administrative Penalty in British Columbia History
Employers across BC should take this as a stark reminder that failure to implement and/or enforce safety policies and procedures can have serious reputational, financial and human repercussions.
February 1, 2019
Ontario Announces that (At Least Some) Joint Health and Safety Committee Certification Training is Going Virtual
According to the government, changes are coming to the training standard that are intended to ease the burden on employers, simplify the training process and improve access to training
January 18, 2019
Safety Failures: Hidden Costs and Consequences – January 2019
This article addresses less frequently discussed, unintended, unexpected and largely hidden costs and consequences of accidents and OHS violations.
January 14, 2019
Garage Owner Not Guilty of Criminal Negligence in First Nova Scotia Prosecution Under Westray Amendments
This was the first prosecution in Nova Scotia under provisions of the Criminal Code, introduced in 2004.
December 18, 2018
Mandatory Victim Surcharges Quashed: Potential Impact on Provincial Sentencing in OHS Matters?
The Supreme Court of Canada’s approach may impact individuals and corporations sentenced under provincial occupational health and safety legislation.
December 11, 2018
Tips for Limiting Liability During the Holidays
‘Tis the season for holiday parties. It’s important to keep in mind that hosting these events can open the employer up to serious liabilities if the proper precautions are not taken.
November 30, 2018
Random Drug and Alcohol Testing is a Go at Suncor Worksites in the Oil Sands
Nearly seven years after the journey began, Suncor will start random testing in the first quarter of 2019 at its oil sands worksites.
October 17, 2018
Bracing For Change: Legalization of Marijuana Effective Today
Employers across the country are bracing themselves for the legalization of recreational cannabis. Is your workplace ready?
September 20, 2018
Jail Time for Breaking Health and Safety Laws – Contractor Sentenced to 18 Months
This article discusses the potential implications of this sentence and the new ways that health and safety laws can result in a criminal conviction
July 6, 2018
Implementation of Smoke Free Ontario Act Delayed
Provincial government announced that the coming into force date has been postponed on an indefinite basis
June 28, 2018
Changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act
This article highlights new obligations faced by employers with respect to the use of medical marijuana, e-cigarettes and tobacco within the workplace
June 22, 2018
Recreational Cannabis Legalized as of October 17, 2018
The Cannabis Act, which will legalize recreational marijuana use, has received approval by the Senate.
June 14, 2018
Changes to Set Fines for OHSA Violations
Recent amendments to existing set fines as well as new fines which have been set for various OHSA violations will be outlined in this article.
May 18, 2018
The Ever-Expanding Safety Obligations of Site Owners: “Employer” OHS Obligations Are Imposed on Worksite Owners
SCC issues an important ruling impacting the potential occupational health and safety liability of site owners, even where incidents occur which do not involve their own employees.
May 18, 2018
Inability to Measure Current Impairment Means Risk Can’t be Managed: Employer’s Refusal to Hire Employee with Medical Marijuana Prescription on the Basis of Undue Hardship Upheld.
This decision provides support for employers with safety-sensitive workplaces and employees with prescriptions for medical marijuana.
April 30, 2018
Workplace Inspection Blitzes Anticipated
The Ontario Ministry of Labour announces it will be conducting workplace inspection blitzes in 2018 and 2019 across Ontario.
April 27, 2018
More Clarity on Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench
Recent decision in Canadian Energy Workers’ Association v ATCO Electric Ltd. does not change the law but it does help clarify when an employer may be justified in ordering an employee involved in an incident to undergo drug and alcohol testing.
April 27, 2018
Changes on the Horizon: Proposed Changes to British Columbia’s Workers’ Compensation System
If the recommendations are implemented, they will have significant implications for employers in managing WorkSafe claims and their costs.