When Is a Parking Lot a Workplace?


An attempt to apply a recent finding that “sometimes a swimming pool is just a swimming pool” to an accident in an employer’s parking lot, failed recently.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal (WSIAT) found that an accident on an employer’s parking lot was a Workplace Safety and Insurance Board issue, meaning that the employee cannot sue the employer.

The worker, a school bus driver in Orleans, had fallen off her scooter in the employer’s parking lot, before starting her shift.

The employee’s lawyer had argued the Ontario Court of Appeal’s recent Blue Mountain Resorts Limited v. Ontario (Labour), 2013 ONCA 75, decision, which found that a guest’s death in a swimming pool need not be reported to the Ministry of Labour under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The Board’s policy is that workers are “in the course of employment” upon entering the employer’s premises. Because the injuries “arose out of and in the course of her employment,” the worker had “no right of action” and was barred from suing her employer.

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