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My employer punished me for complaining about a safety issue. How do I make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board?

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My employer punished me for complaining about a safety issue. How do I make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board?
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My employer punished me for complaining about a safety issue. How do I make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board?
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Reviewed: 
March 31, 2018
Answer

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 to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).

This 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

Try to work out a solution that you and your employer agree on.

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

If you make a complaint to the OLRB, you may have to go to a hearing.

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.

Most people also don't make a complaint to the OLRB if they’re still working for the employer.

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, fill out 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 Workers' Health & Safety Legal Clinic, which helps people with low incomes who are having health and safety problems at work.

If you've been injured or punished by your employer for complaining about harassment, 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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