Worker Rights in Ontario

All workers have three principle rights under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). They are:

  • The right to refuse dangerous work without penalty;
  • The right to participate in identifying and correcting health and safety problems;
  • The right to know about hazards in the workplace.

Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work without negative consequences. Subsection 43(3) of the OHSA sets out parameters of refusal to work. For example: A worker may refuse to work or do particular work where he or she has reason to believe that:

  • Any equipment, machine, device or thing the worker is to use or operate is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker;
  • The physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is likely to endanger himself or herself;
  • Workplace violence is likely to endanger himself or herself; or
  • Any equipment, machine, device or thing he or she is to use or operate or the physical condition of the workplace or the part thereof in which he or she works or is to work is in contravention of the OHSA or the regulations and such contravention is likely to endanger himself, herself or another worker.

Part V of the OHSA sets out the right to refuse or to stop work where health or safety is in danger. Click here for more information. Workers may report unsafe work practices by calling the Ministry of Labour health and safety contact centre at 1-877-202-0008.