At trial, Justice of the Peace James Oates agreed with UIOL and dismissed the charge.
Oates held that the phrase "regularly employed" in section 9(2)(a) contemplated a traditional employer-employee relationship. As a result, the independent contractors retained by UIOL were not regularly employed and were improperly taken into account by the Ministry when it determined that a joint health and safety committee should be established.
Excluding the independent contractors, UIOL had 11 workers and did not require a joint health and safety committee.
Justice Peter Tetley upheld the decision of Justice of the Peace Oates. [i]
Although noting that the OHSA is purposive legislation designed to protect the health and safety of workers, Justice Tetley agreed that the phrase "regularly employed" in section 9(2)(a) referred to individuals in traditional employer-employee relationships.
Further, Justice Tetley recognized the practical difficulties involved in establishing a joint health and safety committee at a workplace where independent contractors caused the threshold of 20 or more workers to be met. Namely, he recognized that the joint health and safety committee would comprise individuals with a limited connection to the workplace.