Can You Be Fired In Ontario As An Employee For Raising Concerns about COVID-19?

On an annual basis a farm recruited Mexican agricultural workers who were living in bunkhouses which were divided into 4 apartments where 13 people lived. In one apartment there were shared bathrooms and bedrooms. Unfortunately, COVID hit the farm and one worker died from it. A worker raised his concerns about safety to a supervisor. The owner then confronted the worker and accused him of ratting to the media and attempted to send him back to Mexico by arranging for a flight back to Mexico.

The Ontario Relations Board (OLRB) sided with the worker stating he had every right to raise concerns about safety at the farm and that the employer had a duty to take every reasonable precaution to improve workplace safety. The reprisal by the employer in effectively terminating the worker was prohibited under health and safety legislation in Ontario. The OLRB ordered the employer to pay the worker $25,000 in damages. There is a reverse onus in reprisal cases which will require the employer to show it did not implement a reprisal against a worker.

The case was Flores v. Scotlynn Sweetpac Growers Inc.

Photp by Tom Steepe/CBC

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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