|Annual Report 2011|
TORONTO WORKERS’ HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGAL CLINIC
The Toronto Workers' Health and Safety Legal Clinic exists to promote and provide access to justice to low income non-union workers/ organizations by providing advice, representation, public legal education and law reform concerning occupational health and safety and related workplace laws through consistently high quality services in a cost-effective, efficient and innovative manner. The Clinic was able to fulfil many of its 2010 goals and objectives.
The Clinic's activities in pursuit of those goals are described below under the following headings:
1. Law Reform
3. Outreach (including networking, community development and education)
1. LAW REFORM
Highlights of the Clinic’s activities in the past year (submissions are available on the Clinic’s new website) include:
(i) a written submission on Bill 135 to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs concerning Full Funding of the Unfunded Liability under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act;
(ii) an oral presentation concerning Reprisals under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to the Expert Panel on Occupational Health and Safety at a meeting of the Ontario Federation of Labour;
(iii) participation in the Asbestos-Induced Gastrointestinal Illness Working Group;;
(iv) participation on the Executive of the Ontario Bar Association WCB Section;
(v) written submissions to the Minister of Labour concerning Revised Occupational Exposure Limits;
(vi) participation in the Expert Panel Health and Safety Working Group on Reprisals (prosecutions);
(vii) written submission to the Expert Panel on Occupational Health and Safety Reform and oral presentation on same;
(viii) presentation to the Working Group on Vulnerable/Precarious Workers, Sub-committee of the Expert Advisory Panel;
(ix) written submission on Procedures at the Appeals Branch of the WSIB;
(x) oral presentation on WSIB Reform to the Chair of the WSIB
The Clinic continued to provide representation to individual clients before various boards and tribunals including Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeal Board, Appeal Branch, Human Rights Tribunal and the Ontario Labour Relations Board.
Since the Clinic was placed on the Ontario Labour Relations Board website we are receiving more inquiries about occupational health and safety matters than previously.
After Bill 168 came into effect in June 2010 we have provided more advice and representation in the area of violence and harassment. One case involved a worker fired after three days when she raised a concern about harassment by her supervisor. The case settled but we consider it significant because the employer is a franchised well-known retail establishment with hundreds of locations. We believe the experience of paying several thousand dollars to a worker who worked three days, yet experienced a reprisal as a result of a harassment complaint will impact the way the employer deals with harassment.
We also had a significant increase in our Clinic’s statistics, going from 2009 with 51 new cases opened to 2010 with 61 new cases opened that year. As well, our advice statistics increased 30%.
We continued to do presentations concerning the new violence/ harassment provisions of the OHSA which came into effect June 15, 2010. We implemented a three-pronged legal education program where the Staff Lawyer developed a presentation on Bill 168 for clinic staff and did this presentation at regional training sessions. The Lawyer Director developed and made a number of presentations to management at small agencies in the community in addition to individual legal clinics. The CLW has incorporated Bill 168 in his PLE presentations and has educated small agency staff regarding how Bill 168 affects them. These efforts are ongoing.
The Clinic continues to publish a newsletter with a circulation of over 200. Each issue is an attempt to provide information and analysis of issues pertaining to occupational health and safety. In April of 2010 Clinic staff met with a delegation from China sponsored by CIDA. We provided information concerning workplace health and safety here in Ontario as well as information about our legal aid system.
The Clinic’s website continues to improve and has caused an increase in inquiries. The site is www.workers-safety.ca. The new site includes information about the Clinic, its services, an extensive list of its publications and governing documents. The site is maintained by Clinic volunteers. Clinic submissions as well as the Clinic funding applications are on the site in an effort for us to be as transparent as possible.
The Clinic continues to work with other groups which share similar goals and objectives. These groups are:
1. Workers' Compensation Network
2. Toronto Injured Workers Advocacy Group (TIWAG)
3. O.F.L. Health and Safety Committee
4. O.F.L. WSIB Committee
5. Employment Standards Work Group (ESWG)
7. Institute of Work and Health and Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)
The Clinic made inroads in the migrant farm worker community in rural Ontario due to Law Foundation of Ontario funding for a Spanish-speaking articling student. The Clinic in cooperation with the Centre for Spanish Speaking People and Industrial Accident Victims Group of Ontario shared the student, Shane Martinez. Shane did outreach in rural communities of Ontario with the help of Justicia for Migrant Farm Workers. As a result, the Clinic has opened a number of health and safety and human rights files for these workers. As well, we included health and safety issues of migrant workers and other vulnerable workers in our presentation before the Expert Panel on Occupational Health and Safety. Shane arranged an in-person meeting between the Panel Chair, Tony Dean, and migrant farm workers. We will continue to advocate for migrate farm workers as the Law Foundation has committed to funding this position for two more years.
4. STATISTICAL INFORMATION
The number of new files for the period ending December 31, 2010 follows:
Law Reform 11
And Organizing 147
Summary Advice 318
5. MEMBERSHIP REPORT
As of December 31, 2010, the Clinic had 163 members and a newsletter mailing list of approximately 200 names of individuals and organizations.
6. LEGAL AID ONTARIO
During December 2010 all of Ontario’s legal clinics were advised by LAO that we will be required to make administrative savings over the next couple of years. LAO also made project funding available under the categories of innovations and Service coordination.
7. LEASE RENEWAL
After negotiations with LAO and our current landlord, the Clinic renewed its lease at 180 Dundas Street West this year. The lease continues for four years.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 24 October 2012. 180 Dundas St. West, 19th Floor; 5:30 pm.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
24 October 2012.
180 Dundas St. West,
19th Floor; 5:30 pm.
Clinic’s submission to M of L re new exposure limits. http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2010+09%7C2010+09+20.++Submission+to+M+of+L.doc
Clinic’s “SUBMISSION TO THE [M of L] EXPERT ADVISORY PANEL ON ...[OH&S] / PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE PREVENTION AND ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM,” 30 June 2010. http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2010+06%7C2010+06+30.+Submissions+to+MoL+Panel.doc
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 16 June 2010. Metro Hall, 7pm., 55 John Street, room 309, 3rd Floor. http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?dir=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2010+06+++AGM
Clinic’s annual LAO budget approved. http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2009+11.%7C2009+11+06.+Approved+Annual+Budget.doc
Financial Report 31 March 2010. http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2010+03%7C2010+03+31.+++%24+report.pdf
Financial Report 31 March 2011.
Financial Report 31 March 2011.http://www.workers-safety.ca/publications?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2011+03%7C2011+03+31.+financial+report+++.pdf
LAO Spotlight http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2009+12%7C2009+12.+LAO+Spotlight.pdf http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/news/newsarchive/0912-07_spotlight-twhslc.asp
Clinic’s submission re Bill 168. http://www.workers-safety.ca/remository?do=view&file=publications%3A+newsletter%2C+Workers+Guide%2C+FACT+SHEETS%2C+reports%2C+etc%7C2009+11.%7C2009+11+20.+TWHSLC+Bill+168+Submissions.doc
from the Ontario Ministry of Labour: Workplace Violence and Harassment: Understanding the Law / Health and Safety Guidelines http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pubs/wpvh/violence.php http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/pdf/wpvh_gl.pdf Protecting Workers From Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/pubs/fs_workplaceviolence.php
Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/eap/index.php
Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health and Safety / Report and Recommendations to the Minister of Labour, December 2010. http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/eap/report/index.php http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2010/12/new-chief-prevention-officer-to-oversee-workplace-safety.html http://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2010/12/occupational-health-and-safety-panel-recommendations.html http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/ http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/907887--report-calls-for-sweeping-changes-after-scaffolding-deaths?bn=1
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 15 June 2011. 180 Dundas St. W. 19th floor
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
15 June 2011.
180 Dundas St. W.