Dealing with an Employee’s Death in Ontario

Peninsula Team

October 09 2019

The death of an employee is one of the most difficult situations that a business can face. As other employees grieve, it is up to the employer to support them and lead the business through this hard time. In addition, employers have responsibilities to the Ministry of Labour. This article sets out how employers can manage an employee’s death in a respectful and sensitive manner while helping their business and team begin to move forward.

Employer Responsibilities and Best Practices

If an employee dies as a result of a workplace accident, there are several things employers must do immediately. The employer must call 911 right away and report the incident to the Ministry of Labour’s Health and Safety Contact Centre at 1-877-202-0008. The Ministry of Labour must also receive a written notice within 48 hours of the death. Further, the employer must notify the employee’s family and the joint health and safety committee, health and safety representative, or union. The employer should also ask what details the family is comfortable sharing in order to respect their privacy.

Next, employers should advise the rest of their team, provide them with on-site grief counselling, and announce funeral details as they become available. Employers can close the business for a short time as a sign of respect and to give employees time to mourn.

Managing the Business After an Employee’s Death

The employee’s responsibilities should be distributed among coworkers until the business is able to add to the team. Someone should be designated to handle the former employee’s calls and emails and to inform contacts of their passing.

The employer should also contact the employee’s family members so they can return company property used by the former employee and collect any personal items left at work. The employee’s building and computer access should be terminated and company electronics should be wiped.

To respect privacy, employers should inform their team of the procedures they should follow when responding to any media enquiries.

Have further questions about what to do after an employee’s death?

For in-depth advice specific to your circumstances, contact our experts. Our HR consultants can advise on how to support your staff and develop a plan forward for your business: 1(833)247-3652.

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