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I don't agree with the decision made by a Ministry of Labour inspector. What should I do?
If you or another worker makes a complaint about health and safety issues to the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry sends an inspector to your workplace to look at the situation and to make sure the rules are being followed.
The inspector conducts an investigation where they gather facts and make a decision about the issue. They make a written report of their findings and give a copy of the report to your employer representative and your representative.
If you disagree with the inspector's decision, you can ask the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to change it. This is called appealing the decision of an inspector.
Before you contact the OLRB
You must get a decision from an inspector before you can make a complaint to the OLRB.
But, if your employer punishes you for complaining about safety, you can apply to the OLRB right away.
If you have a union, they must decide whether to make a safety complaint about your issue to the OLRB. So if you have a complaint, you should talk to your union representative about the problem.
If you appeal the decision of an inspector, you may have to go to a hearing at the OLRB.
Hearings can be expensive and difficult. The OLRB does not charge you fees. But if you lose, you might have to pay your employer back for what they spent on your hearing. That could include their lawyer's fees.
Before you contact the OLRB, you should learn about what will happen.
Once you get the inspector's decision, you have 30 days to make a complaint to the OLRB.
Get legal help
If you don't have a union, you should try to get legal help with your OLRB claim.
A lawyer can give you advice about the law, draft your application, and represent you in your hearing.
The Law Society Referral Service can give you the name of a lawyer or paralegal you can consult with for free, for up to 30 minutes.
JusticeNet is a program for Canadians with low or moderate incomes. It connects people with lawyers and paralegals who charge lower legal fees based on your income.
You could also contact the Workers' Health & Safety Legal Clinic, which helps people with low incomes who are having health and safety problems at work.