Miller Thomson LLP has a long and successful record helping clients provide safe and healthy work environments for employees. When necessary, we effectively represent employers in protecting their interests in all types of litigation concerning health and safety and workers’ compensation issues.
Our Workplace Health and Safety team also practices in the fields of employment law, human rights, labour relations and environmental regulation — areas where Miller Thomson is a recognized leader — enabling our firm to provide a comprehensive and fully integrated range of services to employers.
Workplace safety legislation has grown exponentially. Fines for convictions have increased significantly over the last 10 years. With Bill C-45, workplace health and safety has taken on a criminal law dimension. The result is senior corporate executives are required to address ever increasing legal obligations in the workplace.
A cornerstone of our role is to provide proactive support, advice and guidance permitting senior management to make sound decisions or corporate policies that minimize the risk of non-compliance and potentially expensive and protracted tribunal or court proceedings.
Our lawyers have a comprehensive understanding of workplace safety law. We focus on having an equally sophisticated understanding of our clients’ businesses. We apply our expertise in:
Due Diligence: We advise on what the law requires to help our clients design and implement compliance systems to meet the needs of the organization. We manage, under the protection of solicitor/client privilege, internal audits to ensure our clients’ systems are complete and working properly.
Training, Policies and Procedures: We provide training to boards of directors, senior managers and supervisors so that they understand what is required of them in the workplace. We help them draft policies and procedures to ensure they are meeting both their legal obligations and those of the organization.
Safety Related Hearings: We represent clients before provincial and federal tribunals in relation to safety related issues. We frequently appear as employer counsel before federal and provincial labour boards, boards of arbitration and sole arbitrators. This experience includes appeals concerning orders issued by health and safety inspectors and litigation before labour boards and arbitrators relating to alleged violations of anti-reprisal legislation. Our goal is to achieve the result most beneficial to the client through cost-efficient, negotiated solutions, if appropriate, or through forceful advocacy, if necessary.
Investigations and Prosecutions: We have extensive experience helping clients respond to serious workplace accidents and issues involving critical workplace practices. Such accidents and issues may be the subject of intensive inspection and investigation by regulatory agencies. Our roles in such investigations include:
• Dealing with the regulator’s demands for employee interviews
• Dealing with the regulator’s demands for documents
• Responding to search warrants and orders for production
• Managing privileged and confidential internal investigations
• Meeting with regulators to advocate against the laying of charges
• Defending charges, if laid
Workers’ Compensation /
Workplace Safety and Insurance Issues: We represent employers in matters relating to worker’s compensation issues including all aspects of claim management. We provide advice relating to re-employment obligations, modified duties and the return to work obligations of all parties. We regularly advise and represent employers with regard to disputes including whether an injury occurred at the workplace, whether another employer may be at fault and whether an employee is co-operating in the return to work process.
In addition, we assist and represent employers with regard to issues such as the appropriate employer classification for premium purposes, whether an individual is or is not an employee for the purposes of workers’ compensation legislation and whether the client is required to be registered and covered under the legislation.
In providing our legal services, we assist employers in preparing and filing submissions at the workplace compensation board level and appeals level along with appearing for employers at those levels. We also assist employers if these matters arise before other tribunals such as boards of arbitration.
Inquest: We have extensive experience representing our clients’ interests at Inquests required for workplace fatalities.