Overview

You can file a complaint if you believe conditions in a workplace are unsafe or if you or someone else is experiencing harassment or violence on the job.

Before you report your situation, you can:

  • discuss your concerns with your supervisor or employer
  • consult your joint health and safety committee member or health and safety representative, if there is one

One of the main purposes of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) is to enable a strong internal responsibility system (IRS) in the workplace, which gives everyone in the workplace a role to play in keeping workplaces safe and healthy. As part of the IRS, health and safety issues should be discussed with the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) or health and safety representative, if there is one.

If the situation continues after you’ve tried to discuss your concerns, you can file a complaint with our Health and Safety Contact Centre.

Learn how to file a complaint.

In an emergency, always call 9-1-1 immediately.

If you believe you or another worker are in immediate danger and something needs to be done right away, call our Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008 (TTY: 1-855-653-9260). The number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Do not file your complaint online.

Report concerns to your employer

As a worker, you have a duty under the OHSA to report a health and safety problem in the workplace to your supervisor or employer. This could include:

  • a hazard (for example falling objects that could cause head injury)
  • someone not working safely or not following the law (for example working at heights without using guardrails or wearing protective equipment)

Under the OHSA, employers and supervisors must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

Reporting workplace harassment

Workplace harassment could include bullying behaviour, isolating or making fun of a worker, or sexual harassment. Learn more about what the ministry considers workplace harassment .

You should report incidents or complaints of workplace harassment to your employer or supervisor. Your employer must ensure that an investigation appropriate in the circumstances is conducted. Some investigations can only take a few hours or days, while others can take up to 90 days. They may take even longer in some circumstances.

If you do not feel comfortable reporting harassment to your supervisor or employer, you could speak to the person identified in your workplace’s harassment program. The program must include information about who to report incidents and complaints to if the supervisor or employer is the alleged harasser. This person could be someone inside or outside of the organization.

Talk to your joint health and safety committee or representative

If your workplace has a JHSC or a health and safety representative, you can consult with them about your concern. They can discuss the issue with you and recommend solutions to your employer.

Your employer must provide a written response to any written recommendations from the JHSC or health and safety representative within 21 days. If your employer:

  • agrees with the recommendations, the response must include a timetable to implement them
  • disagrees with a recommendation, their response must explain why

When to file a complaint with the ministry

You can file a complaint if you feel the situation has not been corrected after you:

  • speak to your supervisor or employer
  • consult your JHSC or health and safety representative

If you feel that you are unable to to raise your concerns to your supervisor, JHSC or health and safety representative, you can still file a complaint.

If you believe you’ve been fired or punished for exercising your rights under the OHSA, you can also file a reprisal complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). The OLRB is an independent tribunal that can review a worker’s reprisal complaint.

If your health and safety complaint is not urgent, you can make it online at any time. Our Health and Safety Contact Centre will review it only during regular business hours.

File a complaint online now.

Situations of immediate danger

If you believe you or another worker are in immediate danger and something needs to be done right away, call our Health and Safety Contact Centre.

Situations of immediate danger could include:

  • no guarding of machinery with exposed moving parts
  • machinery that can be started accidentally
  • exposure to chemicals or biological hazards
  • serious risk of falls from heights
  • risk of electric shock or arc flash burns
  • an unsafe excavation

Workplace harassment complaints

You can submit a complaint if:

  • you reported to your employer that you were being harassed at work and your employer did not make sure an investigation appropriate in the circumstances was conducted
  • your employer does not have a workplace harassment policy or program
  • your employer did not provide training on the policy and program

What happens with your complaint

How we look at your complaint

We deal with complaints on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the nature of your complaint, a ministry inspector may conduct a field visit at the workplace.

We only have the power to look into complaints under the OHSA. As a result, we may not respond to your complaint if it falls outside of the OHSA.

If there is a field visit

During a visit to your workplace, the inspector will:

  • respect your request for anonymity if you requested it and not give your name as the source of the complaint
  • contact management and a worker representative, if any
  • inspect the nature of the complaint and address any hazards or contraventions that they find

Inspectors do not:

  • resolve or mediate specific allegations of harassment in the workplace
  • investigate allegations to determine if the behaviour of any of the individuals involved was workplace harassment as defined in the OHSA
  • have the authority to order individual remedies such as monetary compensation to individuals who experience harassment in the workplace

Field visit reports

The inspector will complete a field visit report. It may include:

  • the findings related to your complaint
  • any other contraventions they find
  • written orders against the employer, supervisor or another worker if they are not following the law
  • when the employer, supervisor or other worker must comply with the orders

You have the right under the OHSA to request a copy of the field visit report if you provided your name when you filed the complaint. To request a copy, call our Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008 during business hours Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Learn more about what to expect when a ministry health and safety inspector visits your workplace.

Workplace harassment complaints

If you file a workplace harassment complaint and wish to remain anonymous, our inspection will only look into whether your employer is complying with workplace harassment policy, program, information and instruction requirements.

We cannot look into whether your employer is meeting their duty to investigate harassment, since the inspector may have to release your name and the details of your complaint to find out if your employer is investigating.

An inspector may check that your employer, supervisor and other workers are complying with workplace violence and workplace harassment requirements when looking into your complaint. They may issue written orders to your employer to comply with the law.

Protecting your privacy

The personal information you provide in your complaint is for Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development use only. We will only use this information to:

  • respond to your complaint
  • contact you if we need to know more about your complaint

You can request that your complaint be anonymous. Although the ministry will not give your name to anyone in your workplace, we cannot guarantee that your employer won’t guess that you are the complainant. We also cannot guarantee that you will remain anonymous if there is a prosecution.

How to file a complaint

Employers are responsible for deciding whether employees can work remotely. Ministry inspectors do not determine if employers should allow remote work. Learn more about protecting workers from COVID-19.

Online

Fill out and file your health and safety complaint online (PDF, desktop or mobile).

Use the PDF version of the form if you want to save or print a copy of your complaint. You must download the PDF and save it. It will only work properly if opened with the free Adobe Reader version 10 or later.

The complaint form asks you to give detailed information. It can take you less than 5 minutes or more than 20 minutes to complete depending on the nature of your complaint.

It is important to fill in the complaint form as best you can. The basic information we need from you is marked by asterisks (*).

This form is for workplace health and safety or workplace harassment concerns only. File a claim for issues such as payment of wages, public holidays, hours of work, overtime pay, vacation time and pay, or statutory leaves by using the Employment Standards Claim Form.

By phone

You can speak to a representative at our Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008 (TTY: 1-855-653-9260)

Following up on your complaint

If you change your phone number, email address, or if you want to make any changes to your complaint, call our Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please do not file another complaint to provide additional information.

We might not contact you about your complaint. If you do not hear from us, you can call the Health and Safety Contact Centre to ask about our response.