Immediate response

When a worker is fatally injured at a workplace, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) will communicate with their family.

The manager of the inspector who is investigating the fatality will contact the family of the deceased by letter within three weeks of the date of the incident.

The letter will provide the family with:

  • general information about the ministry’s investigation process and prosecution process
  • the contact information for the manager and regional director who can be contacted if the family has questions or concerns

The manager will follow up with a phone call to the family of the deceased within three weeks of the date of the incident to:

  • express their condolences
  • answer any questions the family may have about the ministry’s role in the investigation process and prosecution process

Updates on the investigation

The regional director will contact the family within six months of the date of the fatality to:

  • update the family on the status of the investigation
  • inform the family if and when charges are laid

There may be circumstances specific to the investigation that require the regional director to extend this timeline.

The manager will maintain contact with the family periodically during the:

  • investigation
  • prosecution (if one occurs)
  • coroner’s inquest (if one occurs)

Frequency and type of contact

Managers understand that families cope with and experience grief in different ways. They take this into account when determining their frequency of contact with the family of the deceased.

Periodic contact may include scheduling specific dates and times when the manager contacts the family by phone or meets them in person.

Managers will provide the family with contact information for other support and assistance services which can help the family cope with their loss.

During the investigation process and prosecution process, the manager will be as open and transparent as possible in providing the family of the deceased with appropriate information in a timely fashion, without compromising the integrity of the investigation and any potential prosecution.

Workplace fatality investigations

The ministry investigates all workplace fatalities to try to determine the cause of the incident and to identify preventative actions.

Once the investigation is complete, ministry staff will review the investigation report. If prosecution for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is warranted, charges will be laid within two years of the date of the offence.

The manager will inform the family if and when charges are laid. If charges are laid, the manager will, advise the family of important court dates and provide contact information for the ministry lawyer handling the prosecution.

Coroner’s inquests

After the investigation and prosecution (if any) are complete, a coroner’s inquest may take place. The purpose of an inquest is to determine the circumstances of the death and to make recommendations to prevent any future workplace death in similar circumstances.

The coroner’s office is completely separate from the MLITSD. If a coroner’s inquest takes place, the coroner’s office will contact the family with the date and location of the inquest.

Freedom of information

The ministry will not provide specific details about its investigation while the investigation is ongoing, or, if charges are laid, until the prosecution is complete.

After the investigation is complete — and a determination has been made that no charges will be laid or, if charges are laid, after the prosecution has been completed — the family may obtain details of the investigation by making a Freedom of Information request from the ministry’s Freedom of Information and Privacy Office.

Where to get support

The Fatalities and Immediate Response (FAIR) partnership is a joint project of the:

Its goal is to provide timely and comprehensive assistance to survivors following a traumatic workplace fatality. Some of the services provided by the partners include:

  • a WSIB Crisis Intervention Counsellor, who contacts the family within 48 hours of the fatality and will make appropriate referrals to the MLITSD, Office of the Worker Adviser, Threads of Life and other community resources
  • advice and representation in workplace insurance matters
  • guidance on how to access information through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)
  • bereavement counselling
  • material resources to orient families to administrative processes that follow a fatality or life-altering injury/illness and assist them in understanding those processes

Helpful contacts

Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development

400 University Avenue, 14th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 1T7
Toll-free telephone: 1-877-202-0008

Freedom of Information and Privacy Office
(Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development)
Telephone: 416-326-7786

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Telephone: 416-344-1000
Toll-free telephone: 1-800-387-0750

Office of the Worker Adviser

Toll-free telephone: 1-800-435-8980

Office of the Chief Coroner

Forensic Services and Coroner’s Complex
25 Morton Shulman Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M3M 0B1
Telephone: 416-314-4000
Toll-free telephone: 1-877-991-9959

Threads of Life

Telephone: 519-685-4276
Toll-free telephone: 1-888-567-9490