OH&S Legislation in Canada – All Canadian Jurisdiction

OH&S Legislation in Canada – All Canadian Jurisdiction

OH&S Legislation in Canada aims to cover all OH&S legislation in Canada. Canada has its own regulations in terms of safety; the safety standards in this country are most often a Provincial / Territory requirement.

There are fourteen jurisdictions in Canada – one federal, ten provincial, and three territorial — and each has its own occupational health and safety legislation.

Read Also: RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995)

All Canadian jurisdictions – OH&S Legislation in Canada

1. Federal

  • Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education
  • Ontario Ministry of Labour
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)

    Workplace Safety and Insurance Act


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The Occupational Health and Safety Act is Ontario’s cornerstone legislation for workplace health and safety. Other contributing legislation includes the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA), Part II of which deals with the prevention of occupational injury and disease and the Human Rights Code, which often has to be considered in dealing with OHS issues.

OH&S Act applies to almost every worker, supervisor, employer and workplace in Ontario, including workplace owners, constructors and suppliers of equipment or materials to workplaces covered by the Act.

OHSA does not apply to:

  • Work done by the owner or occupant, or a servant, in a private residence or on the connected land [Section 3(1)];
  • Workplaces under federal jurisdiction, although federal authorities accept that outside contractors and their employees, while in federal workplaces, are under provincial jurisdiction.

Approximately 6% of the Canadian workforce falls under the OH&S jurisdiction of the federal government also called “Canada’s Labour Code Part II and regulations under the Code“. The remaining 94% of Canadian workers fall under the legislation of the province or territory where they work.

Business that falls under federal legislation (Canada Labour Code) include:

  • Airports and airlines
  • Banks
  • Canals
  • Exploration and development of petroleum on lands subject to federal jurisdiction
  • Ferries, port services, tunnels and bridges
  • Grain elevators licensed by the Canadian Grain Commission, and certain feed mills and feed warehouses, flour mills and grain seed-cleaning plants
  • Highway transport
  • Many First Nations activities
  • Pipelines
  • Radio and television broadcasting and cable systems
  • Railways
  • Shipping and shipping services
  • Telephone and telegraph systems
  • Uranium mining and processing.

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People covered under the provincial and territorial jurisdictions

In each province or territory, there is an act (typically called the Occupational Health and Safety Act or something similar) which applies to most workplaces in that region. The Act usually applies to all workplaces except private homes where work is done by the owner, occupant, or servants. Generally, it does not apply to farming operations unless made to do so by a specific regulation. The jurisdiction and its’ legislation should be consulted to find out who is or is not covered.

At the provincial and territorial level, the name of the government department responsible for OH&S varies with each jurisdiction. Usually it is called a ministry or department of labour. In some jurisdictions, it is a workers’ compensation board or commission that has the responsibility for occupational health and safety. Each provincial or territorial department is responsible for the administration and enforcement of its occupational health and safety act and regulations.


Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (SOR/86-304)


Penalties for not complying with OH&S Legislation in Canada?

The maximum penalties for a contravention of OHSA or its regulations are set out in OHSA Section 66. A successful prosecution could, for each conviction, result in:

  • A fine of up to $100,000 for an individual person and/or up to 12 months imprisonment;
  • A fine of up to $1,500,000 for a corporation.



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