Skip to main content
This page is part of a migration project

We're moving content over from an older government website. We'll align this page with the ontario.ca style guide in future updates.

Procedure for a work refusal

You don't have to do work or use anything you consider unsafe. Any worker who thinks that a piece of equipment or an activity is unsafe to himself/herself or another worker may refuse to use that equipment or do that activity. You do not have to make a formal or official announcement. Simply stating that something is unsafe is enough to start the work refusal process.

Note: For the purposes of subsections 43 (3) to (10) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, if the worker is a child performer under 14 years of age, “worker” includes the child performer’s parent, guardian or chaperone (section 24 of the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015).

First stage

  1. Worker considers work unsafe.
  2. Worker reports refusal to his/her supervisor or employer. Worker may also wish to advise the worker safety representative and/or management representative. Worker stays in safe place.
  3. Employer or supervisor investigates in the presence of the worker and the worker safety representative.
  4. Either:
    1. Issue resolved. Worker goes back to work.
    2. Issue not resolved. Proceed to the second stage

Second stage

  1. With reasonable grounds to believe work is still unsafe, worker continues to refuse and remains in safe place. Worker or employer or someone representing worker or employer calls MLTSD.
  2. MLTSD Inspector investigates in company of worker, safety representative and supervisor or management representative.*
  3. Inspector gives decision to worker, management representative/supervisor and safety representative in writing.
  4. Changes are made if required or ordered. Worker returns to work.

* Pending the MLTSD investigation:

  • The refusing worker may be offered other work if it doesn't conflict with a collective agreement
  • Refused work may be offered to another worker, but management must inform the new worker that the offered work is the subject of work refusal. This must be done in the presence of:
    • a member of the joint health and safety committee who represents workers; or
    • a health and safety representative, or
    • a worker who because of his or her knowledge, experience and training is selected by the trade union that represents the worker or, if there is not trade union, by the workers to represent them.
Updated: April 27, 2022
Published: April 27, 2022