In Blue Mountain Resorts v. Ontario, the Ontario Divisional Court ruled that an employer’s duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to report all fatal and critical injuries at a workplace extends beyond incidents involving workers to include incidents involving members of the public, because such incidents have the potential to cause similar harm to workers. This case arose from a December 2007 fatality at Blue Mountain Resorts (BMR), when a guest drowned in an unsupervised swimming pool located on the resort property. BMR did not initially report the incident to the Ministry of Labour (MOL), but was ordered to do so by an MOL inspector. BMR appealed the order, because the person who drowned was not a worker and BMR’s view was that the reporting requirements were triggered when a worker was harmed (not when any person was harmed in a way that could also harm a worker). The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) upheld the inspector’s order. On judicial review, the Court held that the OLRB’s decision with respect to the obligation to report the swimming pool death was not unreasonable and, accordingly, dismissed the appeal. In arriving at its decision, the Court indicated that a “workplace” is a place where one or more workers works, and does not require the physical presence of a worker at the time of the incident. As a result, the Court concluded that the resort swimming pool was part of the workplace.
For further information, please see the Divisional Court decision.