This is a brief explanation of some of the rights, roles, and procedures in the Occupational Health and Safety Act http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90o01_e.htm which apply to city staff who work at parks.
This law, which is intended to protect workers across the province, can also be used for different purposes. See Zamboni crisis intro and zamboni festival. The zamboni story is an example of how laws designed for one purpose can be misapplied, and/or how they often have unintended consequences - in this case, how the law affected neighbours and citizens at Dufferin Grove Park and (not just park "workers"). The Act which applies to workers across Ontario, (and therefore includes the people who work in parks) sets up a scheme whereby a non-management health and safety representative chosen by the other workers, conducts periodic inspections to make sure a workplace is safe. The employer has an obligation to provide the information a representative needs to carry out an inspection. The representative can identify any potentially dangerous workplace condition and report this to both the employer and the worker. S/he is entitled to obtain information about any potential or exiting hazards identified by the employer.
If the employer conducts any type of test, the representative has the right to be consulted about, and be present at the beginning of any testing if s/he believes his or her presence is required to ensure that valid testing procedures are used or to ensure that the test results are valid; and s/he has the power to obtain the resulting information about the tests.
The representative is entitled to obtain a report by the employer which identifies any potential or existing hazards in the workplace. S/he can also conduct her own inspection and report back to the employer with recommendations. The employer must then, in turn, report back to the representative within 21 days and give reasons for any recommendation the employer does not accept.
“committee” means a joint health and safety committee established under this Act;
“competent person” means a person who,
(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
(b) is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and
(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace;
“construction” includes erection, alteration, repair, dismantling, demolition, structural maintenance, painting, land clearing, earth moving, grading, excavating, trenching, digging, boring, drilling, blasting, or concreting, the installation of any machinery or plant, and any work or undertaking in connection with a project but does not include any work or undertaking underground in a mine; (“construction”)
“constructor” means a person who undertakes a project for an owner and includes an owner who undertakes all or part of a project by himself or by more than one employer; (“constructeur”)
“employer” means a person who employs one or more workers or contracts for the services of one or more workers and includes a contractor or subcontractor who performs work or supplies services and a contractor or subcontractor who undertakes with an owner, constructor, contractor or subcontractor to perform work or supply services; (“employeur”)
“owner” includes a trustee, receiver, mortgagee in possession, tenant, lessee, or occupier of any lands or premises used or to be used as a workplace, and a person who acts for or on behalf of an owner as an agent or delegate; (“propriétaire”)
“project” means a construction project, whether public or private, including,
(a) the construction of a building, bridge, structure, industrial establishment, mining plant, shaft, tunnel, caisson, trench, excavation, highway, railway, street, runway, parking lot, cofferdam, conduit, sewer, watermain, service connection, telegraph, telephone or electrical cable, pipe line, duct or well, or any combination thereof,
(b) the moving of a building or structure, and
(c) any work or undertaking, or any lands or appurtenances used in connection with construction; (“chantier”)
“supervisor” means a person who has charge of a workplace or authority over a worker;
“worker” means a person who performs work or supplies services for monetary compensation
“workplace” means any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works.
Dufferin Grove Park has a health and safety representative.
Mandatory selection of health and safety representative
8. (1) At a project or other workplace where no committee is required under section 9 and where the number of workers regularly exceeds five, the constructor or employer shall cause the workers to select at least one health and safety representative from among the workers at the workplace who do not exercise managerial functions.
Selection of representatives
(5) The selection of a health and safety representative shall be made by those workers who do not exercise managerial functions and who will be represented by the health and safety representative in the workplace, or the part or parts thereof, as the case may be, or, where there is a trade union or trade unions representing such workers, by the trade union or trade unions.
(6) Unless otherwise required by the regulations or by an order by an inspector, a health and safety representative shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a month.
(7) If it is not practical to inspect the workplace at least once a month, the health and safety representative shall inspect the physical condition of the workplace at least once a year, inspecting at least a part of the workplace in each month.
Schedule of inspections
(8) The inspection required by subsection (7) shall be undertaken in accordance with a schedule agreed upon by the constructor or employer and the health and safety representative.
(9) The constructor, employer and workers shall provide a health and safety representative with such information and assistance as the member may require for the purpose of carrying out an inspection of the workplace.
Powers of representative
(11) A health and safety representative has the power,
(a) to obtain information from the constructor or employer concerning the conducting or taking of tests of any equipment, machine, device, article, thing, material or biological, chemical or physical agent in or about a workplace for the purpose of occupational health and safety;
(b) to be consulted about, and be present at the beginning of, testing referred to in clause (a) conducted in or about the workplace if the representative believes his or her presence is required to ensure that valid testing procedures are used or to ensure that the test results are valid; and
(c) to obtain information from the constructor or employer respecting,
(i) the identification of potential or existing hazards of materials, processes or equipment, and
(ii) health and safety experience and work practices and standards in similar or other industries of which the constructor or employer has knowledge.
Response to recommendations
(12) A constructor or employer who receives written recommendations from a health and safety representative shall respond in writing within twenty-one days.
(13) A response of a constructor or employer under subsection (12) shall contain a timetable for implementing the recommendations the constructor or employer agrees with and give reasons why the constructor or employer disagrees with any recommendations that the constructor or employer does not accept.
Additional powers of certain health and safety representatives
(16) A health and safety representative or representatives of like nature appointed or selected under the provisions of a collective agreement or other agreement or arrangement between the constructor or the employer and the workers, has, in addition to his or her functions and powers under the provisions of the collective agreement or other agreement or arrangement, the functions and powers conferred upon a health and safety representative by this section. R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1, s. 8.