Williams HR Law LLP

Ontario Government Enacts New OHSA Amendments

July 22, 2021

The Ontario government has passed new Regulations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act [OHSA] that are intended to consolidate and streamline reporting requirements in the event of a workplace death, injury, or occupational illness.

O. Reg. 420/21: Notices and Reports under Sections 51 to 53.1 of the Act – Fatalities, Critical Injuries, Occupational Illnesses and Other Incidents (the “Regulation”) came into force on July 1, 2021, and sets out the requirements employers must follow when filing a report under the OHSA.

Replacements & Revocations

In addition to revoking Reg. 834: Critical Injury – Defined (“Reg. 834”) and incorporating its definition of critical injury, the Regulation also replaces the OHSA sections 51 to 53.1 notice and reporting requirements under the following regulations:

  • Reg. 429/21: Farming Operations;
  • Reg. 426/21: Construction Projects;
  • Reg. 427/21: Health Care and Residential Facilities;
  • Reg. 428/21: Diving Operations;
  • Reg. 421/21: Industrial Establishments;
  • Reg. 422/21: Mines and Mining Plants;
  • Reg. 423/21: Oil and Gas – Offshore;
  • Reg. 425/21: X-Ray Safety; and
  • Reg. 424/21: Window Cleaning.

Reporting Requirements

Section 3 of the Regulation outlines the circumstances in which an employer will be required to provide a written report or notice under sections 51 and 52 of the OHSA. An employer must provide notice where:

  • a worker is killed or critically injured from any cause at a workplace;
  • a worker is disabled from performing their usual work, or requires medical attention because of an accident, explosion, fire, or incident of workplace violence at a workplace, but no person dies or is critically injured because of that occurrence; or
  • the employer is advised by or on behalf of a worker that the worker has an occupational illness, or that a claim in respect of an occupational illness has been filed with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board by or on behalf of the worker.

The information that employers are required to have in their reports include, but are not limited to:

  • the name, address, and type of business of the employer;
  • the name of the killed, injured, or ill worker;
  • the nature of the bodily injury or occupational illness; and
  • a description of the incident, including but not limited to:
    • the nature and circumstances of the occurrence;
    • descriptions of any machinery, equipment, or procedures involved; and
    • the time, date, and place of the occurrence.

The Regulation includes additional reporting requirements under section 53 of the OHSA for certain industries, such as construction projects, mines, diving operations, and x-ray safety.

Copies of reports and written notices provided under the OHSA and the Regulation must be retained for at least three years after the date the report is made.

Critical Injury

As mentioned above, the Regulation also defines “critically injured.” A critical injury is defined as an “injury of serious nature” that:

  • places life in jeopardy;
  • produces unconsciousness;
  • results in substantial loss of blood;
  • involves the fracture of a leg or arm, but not a finger or toe;
  • involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand, or foot, but not a finger or toe;
  • consists of burns to a major portion of the body; or
  • causes the loss of sight in an eye.

Importantly, employers should keep in mind that the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has provided further clarification on when an injury falling under categories (d) or (e) will be considered critical. Namely, the fracture of a wrist, hand, ankle, or foot will constitute a critical injury under category (d). Additionally, while the fracture or amputation of a single finger or toe will not constitute a critical injury, the fracture or amputation of multiple fingers or toes will constitute a critical injury where the injury is one of a “serious nature.” Though these clarifications were made with respect to the revoked Reg. 834, employers should assume that they still apply, especially given that the new Regulation incorporates Reg. 834’s definition of critical injury verbatim.

Motor Vehicle Collisions

Importantly, section 2 of the Regulation outlines that the written report and notice requirements do not apply when a worker is killed, critically injured, disabled, or requires medical attention as the result of a motor vehicle collision that occurs on a highway as defined under the Highway Traffic Act or Highway 407, unless:

  • the worker affected was working at a project; or
  • the worker affected was not travelling in the motor vehicle at the time of the collision.


Given these recent changes to the OHSA, employers should ensure that their workplace incident reporting policies, especially those that relate to critical injuries or fatalities, are compliant with the newly prescribed requirements under the Regulation. Employers should also ensure that their managers are trained on their workplace incident reporting policies.

Finally, employers should be sure to carefully review the contents of the Regulation in order to determine whether additional reporting requirements apply to their industry.

This blog is provided as an information service and summary of workplace legal issues.

This information is not intended as legal advice.