OHS Canada Magazine

Year in review: OHS Canada’s top 10 most popular articles of 2023

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December 19, 2023
By Todd Humber

Health & Safety 2023 Top 10 Year in Review

As we get set to turn the calendar on 2023, we pause to take a look back at the stories that captured the imagination of health and safety professionals across Canada over the last 12 months.

The top 10 articles of 2023, as selected by our readers, provide a fascinating snapshot of the current OHS landscape. These stories highlighted critical issues, legislative changes, and significant legal proceedings shaping the landscape of workplace safety across the country.

From criminal charges for health and safety crimes to groundbreaking Supreme Court decisions, these stories underscore the evolving challenges and responsibilities in ensuring safe and healthy work environments.

Plus, OHS Honours and the Top 25 Under 40 made the cut as we congratulated and, more importantly, shared the stories of these top professionals and organizations.

Photo: Adobe Stock

Number 10: Supreme Court rules City of Greater Sudbury liable as employer in fatal contractor accident

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a ruling that the City of Greater Sudbury was liable under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for a fatal accident during a 2015 water main repair project. An Interpaving employee, contracted by the city, fatally struck pedestrian Cecile Paquette. The city, initially acquitted, was later found liable as an employer by the Court of Appeal, a decision the Supreme Court supported. The court emphasized the broad definition of “employer” under the Act and the shared responsibility for workplace safety. The case returns to the provincial court to determine if the city exercised due diligence. Read the full story.


Photo: Mumtaaz Dharsey/peopleimages.com/Adobe Stock

Number 9: Criminal charges laid against company, foreman in death of B.C. worker 11 years after incident

Cote & Son Excavating Ltd. in B.C. faces criminal charges for the 2012 death of employee Jeff Caron, a rare instance of a company being charged with criminal negligence in a worker’s death. Foreman David Green also faces manslaughter charges. Despite denials from the company and Green, who intend to plead not guilty, this case highlights the challenges in holding companies criminally accountable for workplace fatalities. WorkSafeBC’s investigation found the company failed to assess hazards, leading to Caron’s death. The case underscores the rarity and complexity of prosecuting companies under Canada’s criminal law for workplace incidents. Read the full story.

Number 8: OHS Canada’s Top 25 Under 40 for 2023

OHS Canada is proud to recognize the next generation of safety leaders. The Top 25 Under 40 were recognized at 2023 OHS Honours on Sept. 21, 2023, at Palais Royale in Toronto. See the full list of winners.

The team from the LCBO at OHS Honours. Photo: OHS Canada

Number 7: OHS Honours – Celebrating the 2023 Winners

Hundreds of safety professionals from across Canada gathered on Sept. 21 at the Palais Royale on Toronto’s waterfront for the annual OHS Honours, celebrating outstanding achievements in occupational health and safety. Hosted by OHS Canada, the national media brand focused on workplace safety, the event served as a platform for professionals to network and share best practices in addition to recognizing the leaders in the field. Read the stories of the winners.

(PT Hamilton/Adobe Stock)

Number 6: ‘Dumping Day’: Lobster season set to kick off in Nova Scotia, prompting workplace safety warning from province

Nova Scotia’s lobster fishing season is starting, bringing excitement and economic opportunity but also significant risks. Safety is a major focus, with emphasis on equipment inspection, weather monitoring, and mandatory use of personal flotation devices. Ministers Jill Balser and Kent Smith stress safety preparation for a prosperous and safe season. The government highlights hoist safety and compliance with occupational health laws. The WCB Nova Scotia CEO, Karen Adams, wishes a safe season, acknowledging past improvements and ongoing safety challenges. Read the full story.

Photo: Adobe Stock

Number 5: Does OHS inspector misconduct in Ontario reveal deeper problems?

A significant number of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) inspectors have been terminated for misconduct, particularly related to their role in policing the underground economy. This misconduct, which includes not properly recording overtime and engaging in fraudulent activities, indicates potential systemic issues at the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development (MLITSD). Factors like lack of oversight, underfunding, and mission creep have contributed to this ethical crisis. The situation calls for a reevaluation of the inspectors’ roles, shifting focus from enforcement to improving workplace safety. Read the full story.

The PPE for Women event, presented by OHS Canada, features a stellar lineup of speakers from across the country.

Number 4: Ill-fitting PPE for women creates safety hazards, leaves workers feeling excluded: Panel

This story came out of OHS Canada’s industry leading PPE for Women event that attracted more than 800 professionals. Lora McMillan of Ledcor Construction emphasizes the challenges women face in finding suitable personal protective equipment (PPE). In male-dominated industries like construction and policing, women often struggle with ill-fitting gear, leading to safety risks and discomfort. Nicole Wetsch of the Edmonton Police and Karen Mosca of Pembina Pipeline highlight specific issues with body armor and coveralls. The discussion underscores the need for better-designed PPE for women, inclusive environments, and leadership roles for women to address these long-standing issues effectively. Read the full story.

GM’s Oshawa Assembly Plant as seen from Park Road in Oshawa, Ont. Photo: Adobe Stock

Number 3: GM granted court injunction after former worker repeatedly tries to enter Oshawa Assembly Plant

General Motors obtained a court injunction against a former worker who tried to enter its Oshawa, Ontario, plant 11 times after being fired for sexual harassment in September 2022. The worker, previously hired through an agency, repeatedly breached security, even after receiving trespass notices. His actions caused safety concerns and extra security costs for GM. The court granted the injunction, recognizing GM’s responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and the need for legal measures to prevent further escalation of the individual’s aggressive behaviour. Read the full story.

(Henryk Sadura/Adobe Stock)

Number 2: Saskatchewan passes amendments to occupational health and safety provisions, including requirement for violence policy

Saskatchewan’s recent amendments to the Employment Act, effective May 17, 2023, aim to strengthen workplace health and safety. Announced by Minister Don Morgan, these changes include a broader definition of ‘worker’, mandatory violence policies, and enhanced authority for health officers during inspections. A notable provision requiring violence policy implementation is deferred for a year. The amendments align with current legislative needs, extending protections to students and volunteers. Read the full story.

(bilanol/Adobe Stock)

Number 1: Manitoba introduces new offences for driving on closed roads

Effective July 1, Manitoba’s Bill 46 amends the Highway Traffic Act, introducing penalties for driving on closed roads. Transportation Minister Doyle Piwniuk announced fines ranging from $298 to $5,000, and two demerit points for offenders. The RCMP supports this move, citing safety concerns. This aligns Manitoba with provinces like British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, enhancing road safety and compliance. Read the full story.


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