Injuries to non-employees must be reported: Court

Court adopts broad definition of workplaces, increasing reporting obligation for injuries
By Norm Keith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/29/2011

In a decision that will have far reaching implications for the Ontario resort and tourism industry, the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has upheld an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) decision that injuries to guests must be reported to the Ministry of Labour (MOL). Under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), critical and fatal injuries must be reported to the provincial health and safety regulator, the Ministry of Labour. This provision had been normally understood to require employers to report injuries to employees or workers. However, the May 18, 2011, decision of Justice Wailan Low supports the OLRB’s ruling that this obligation also extends to guests at resorts or other tourism facilities.

Resort guest drowning in pool a workplace fatality: Inspector

The case arose when an MOL inspector, Richard Den Bok, issued orders to Blue Mountain Resorts, a ski and leisure resort company in the Collingwood, Ont., area, after a guest drowned in an unsupervised swimming pool at one of its resorts. The inspector ordered Blue Mountain to comply with a section of the OHSA — s. 51(2) — requiring reporting when a “person is killed or critically injured from any cause at a workplace.” The guest was clearly not a worker governed by the OHSA. However, the legal issue before the OLRB and the court was whether or not the reporting obligation applied to a resort where it was a guest, and not a worker, that was critically or fatally injured.