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Most Corporations Plead Guilty to OHSA Charges; Most Supervisor / Worker Charges Withdrawn

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An FMC study of unpublished Ontario Ministry of Labour data has shown that 68% of corporations charged under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act pleaded guilty to one or more charges and 26% of corporations had all charges against them withdrawn.

By contrast, only 36% of supervisors and workers pleaded guilty, while 56% of supervisors and workers had all charges against them withdrawn.

Of the 26% of cases where all charges against a corporation were withdrawn, approximately two‐thirds of those cases involved another party – such as a related company ‐ being found guilty of Occupational Health and Safety Act charges and fined in respect of the same incident. “Pure” withdrawals against corporations, where no other party was found guilty in relation to the same accident or incident, represented only 9% of all cases and 35% of cases where all charges were withdrawn.

Of the 56% of cases where all charges against an individual, such as a supervisor or worker, were withdrawn, more than three quarters of those cases involved another party, such as the employer of the individual charged, either pleading guilty or being convicted of Occupational Health and Safety Act charges after a trial. Less than one quarter of withdrawals against individuals – representing approximately 13% of all prosecutions against individuals ‐ were pure withdrawals of the entire case.

The complete study, which was released in May 2012, may be accessed here.