The Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic (“the Clinic”) is a community legal aid clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario. Our mandate is to provide legal advice and representation to non-unionized low wage workers in Ontario who face health and safety problems at work. In response to the proposed Bill 27 - Working for Workers Act, 2021, the aim of our Clinic’s submissions is to speak to those specific parts of Bill 27 that we have expertise on, and, to wherever possible, not duplicate the helpful submissions of our colleagues in other legal clinics and in the injured workers community.
Marked annually in Canada on April 28th, the National Day of Mourning is dedicated to remembering those who have lost their lives, or suffered injury or illness on the job or due to a work-related tragedy. The observance of this day is meant to honour the lives of workers lost, but it is also a call to protect the living and make the world of work a safer place. We must continue to commit to safe and healthy conditions in the workplace to prevent further injuries, illnesses, and deaths.
The Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic continued its partnership with engineering students at the University of Toronto by participating in U of T Engineering Strategies & Practice Course, and the 2020-2021 Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Course. This year’s project looked to address one of the most pressing concerns faced by workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic - Indoor Air Quality. Undetected poor indoor air quality is a leading factor of respiratory health risks in workplaces in Ontario.
Mental Health Resources & Supports BounceBack Program (CMHA) - https://bouncebackontario.ca/ BounceBack is a free skill-building program managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). It is designed to help adults and youth 15+ manage low mood, mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stress or worry. Delivered over the phone with a coach and through online videos, you will get access to tools that will support you on your path to mental wellness.
The Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic will be hosting its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020 at 6:00 pm. Join us online via Zoom. Click here to access the Zoom meeting information as well as the AGM Agenda. To access .PDF versions of the following documents, please click on the links below: 2020 WHSLC Annual Report 2020 Audited Financial Statements 2019 AGM Meeting Minutes
In a win for “gig” economy workers, the Supreme Court of Canada found in Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller that the onerous mandatory arbitration clause in Uber’s service agreements is unconscionable. The Supreme Court of Canada released the decision Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller. This decision was an appeal from the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found that Uber’s mandatory arbitration clause was “unconscionable”. The Clinic intervened to argue that mandatory arbitration clauses, like Uber’s, undermine the minimum protections for workers in Ontario.
Working during COVID-19, will depend on the type of work and its effect on public services. There are many workplaces that are considered essential including grocery stores, pharmacies and healthcare providers, that will require workers to come in despite the current government recommendations to avoid leaving home. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), a worker has the right to ask their boss to take reasonable health and safety precautions in their workplace if there is a high likeliness of exposure to COVID-19.
Protect your health and safety! As a worker in Ontario, you have basic health and safety rights. It is against the law for your boss to fire you or punish you (or threaten to fire or punish you) for using your health and safety rights. Check out our new booklet: Work Safe: Your Health and Safety at Work For more information on our services or if you have have been fired or punished for speaking out about your health and safety rights, contact us.
On May 6th, the Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic wrote a letter to Minister McNaughton to urge the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MOL) to better support non-unionized essential workers who are experiencing unsafe working conditions due to COVID 19. The MOL plays an important role in enforcing the OHSA with a view to preventing the spread of COVID-19 at Ontario workplaces. There are many non-union low wage workers in factories, retail, and other sectors who, due to the very real prospect of being fired, will not stage work refusals or make complaints to authorities.
Protect your health and safety! As a worker in Ontario, you have basic health and safety rights. It is against the law for your boss to fire you or punish you (or threaten to fire or punish you) for using your health and safety rights. Click below to learn more: WORKERS’ GUIDE TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY. For more information on our services or if you have have been fired or punished for speaking out about your rights, contact us.