The appeals process - Occupational Health and Safety

If you received an order, advice to return to work after exercising your right to refuse dangerous work or an administrative penalty from a WorkSafeNB health and safety officer that you disagree with, you can appeal to the Chief Compliance Officer. 

What does “appeal” mean?

To appeal means to ask that a decision be reviewed by another decision maker with higher authority and request the decision or part of the decision be reversed or modified. On this page, we will explain the appeal process as it relates to the NB Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Submitting an appeal

Within 14 days of being given an order, advice or an administrative penalty, the workplace party who received the order, advice or administrative penalty may file an appeal. However, before appealing, we encourage the workplace party to ensure they have properly understood why the order, advice or administrative penalty was issued. If not clearly understood, you should communicate with the officer who issued the order, advice or administrative penalty. Their name is included on the inspection report or the notice of administrative penalty.

To begin the appeal process, it is recommended that the concerned workplace party fill out a notice of appeal form in which they include:

  • the name of the workplace party who is directed by the order, advice or the administrative penalty;
  • why the order or administrative penalty is being appealed (provide as much detail as possible);
  • a copy of the inspection report or at least, the inspection report number;
  • the order number being appealed (in some cases there is more than one order on an inspections report); and
  • if applicable, a request and reason to suspend the order, advice or administrative penalty from coming into effect before a final decision is made.

If sending the notice of appeal form by email, it must be sent to compliance-conformite@ws-ts.nb.ca or if sending it through regular mail, send it to:

The Chief Compliance Office can be contacted in writing at:

1 Portland Street 
P.O. Box 160
Saint John N.B., E2L 3X9

To avoid missing the 14-day limitation period to appeal, it is highly recommended that certified or registered mail be used.

Chief Compliance Officer (CCO)

Upon receipt of the appeal, the CCO will request a meeting (hearing) as promptly as possible with the affected parties to review the factor(s) that led to the appeal.  Affected parties include (at a minimum) the party who receives the order, advice or AP, an employer and employee representative and the officer who issued the directive.

After reviewing the facts, calling a hearing and investigating the matter, the CCO will either:

  • Confirm the order, advice or administrative penalty when it is concluded that there was no error in the application of occupational health and safety legislation;
  • Vary the order, advice or administrative penalty when it is concluded that there was an error in the application of occupational health and safety legislation but there remains a contravention or a safety concern that must be addressed;
  • Revoke the order, advice or administrative penalty when it is concluded that there was an error in the application of occupational health and safety legislation and there is no longer a contravention that must be addressed;
  • Suspend the order, advice or administrative penalty. Filing an appeal does not suspend the operation of the order, the advice or the administrative penalty. Depending on the danger to the health and safety of employees and the timeline for making the decision, the CCO may suspend the order, advice or administrative penalty until a final decision on the appeal is made. 

The CCO’s decision will be provided in writing with copies to affected parties including the party who received the order, advice or administrative penalty, health and safety officer who issued the directive and the employer and employee representative.

Worker’s Compensation Appeals Tribunal

If the affected workplace party is not satisfied with the CCO’s decision, they may file an appeal with the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Tribunal of New Brunswick (WCAT) within seven days of receiving the Chief Compliance Officer’s decision. The WCAT is an independent body from WorkSafeNB.

The notice of appeal form is available on the WCAT’s website. The form is available in both an on-line and off-line format. Additional information on where to find and how to fill out the notice of appeal as well as the process of appeals is available on the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Tribunal of New Brunswick’s website.

It may take several months and up to one year to receive a written decision from the WCAT. 

Court of Appeals

If a party (including WorkSafeNB) is not satisfied with the WCAT’s decision and questions either the jurisdiction or law involving a decision made by the WCAT, the party can appeal to the Court of Appeal of New Brunswick. Additional information about this process can be found on the Court of Appeals’ website.

Independent Legal Advice

The appeal process can be complex, and it may be beneficial to refer to a lawyer for help. These professionals are knowledgeable about the appeal process as well as the relevant Acts. They can help you file your appeal and help represent you during the hearing (if applicable). Lawyers charge a fee, which you will be responsible to pay. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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