How do I complain to the OLRB if I was punished for complaining about safety?

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) says that your employer can't punish you because you ask them to follow safety rules.

If you've been punished for asking about your rights or complaining about health and safety concerns, this is called unlawful reprisal.

You can make a complaint about unlawful to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

This kind of application is sometimes called a “Section 50 complaint” because the rule that says your employer can't punish you for safety complaints is section 50 of the OHSA.

Before you make a complaint to the OLRB

Before you file a complaint with the OLRB, you should try to find a solution that you and your employer agree on. For example, your employer could agree to fix your safety concern. Or you might agree to accept money from your employer for losing your job instead of asking for your job back.

It's a good idea to get advice from lawyer or paralegal before you make an agreement with your employer. There are many different ways to settle unlawful reprisals. A lawyer or paralegal can help explain all your options.

If you have a , they must decide how to handle the problem you're having. You should talk to your union representative before you contact the OLRB.

You should also learn what happens when you complain to the OLRB. For example, if you make a complaint to the OLRB, you might have to go to a hearing.

Hearings can be expensive and difficult. The OLRB doesn't charge you any fees. And if you lose, you don't need to pay your employer back for what they spent on your hearing. But you could have your own expenses like paying for a legal representative, preparing documents, or paying for a witness to come to your hearing.

Get legal help

A lawyer or paralegal can give you advice and help you understand the law. They can also fill out your application and represent you at your hearing.

The Law Society Referral Service can give you the name of a lawyer or paralegal in your area who can talk to you for up to 30 minutes for free.

JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who charge reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.

The Workers’ Health & Safety Legal Clinic helps people with low incomes who are having health and safety problems at work. Some community legal clinics also help with these problems.

If you've been injured or punished by your employer for complaining about , you can also contact the Office of the Worker Adviser. They can give you information and legal advice if you don't have a union.

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