Labour & Regulatory Services - Workplace, Safety & Health

FAQs: Frivolous and Vexatious

(Effective May 20, 2021)

Q: Can I still appeal an Officer’s decision?

A: Yes, any decision of an officer can still be appealed to the director of WSH, including work refusals. If the case is deemed frivolous or vexatious by the director, the director’s appeal decision is final and can not be appealed further to the Manitoba Labour Board.

Q: When will the Director find a complaint to be frivolous or vexatious?

A: Very few complaints would fall into this category, as we believe that most complaints are brought forward in good faith. This is intended to address the rare complaint that consumes significant staff resources and results in delays for other files.

Q: Will my complaint not be investigated by the Director?

A: All complaints will be investigated. The director will decide each case based on its own unique facts.

Q: What does frivolous mean? What is an example?

A: Generally, frivolous means something very minor in nature that does not impact the safety or health of workers or does not fall under Workplace Safety and Health legislation. These matters are more appropriately addressed through educating and training the parties, rather than through a formal hearing at the Manitoba Labour Board.

For example, someone may be concerned about the brand of their safety equipment, even though the equipment meets the CSA Standard.

Q: What does vexatious mean? What is an example?

A: Generally, vexatious means brought forward in bad faith. It could be an appeal that is clearly motivated by matters unrelated to the safety or health of workers.

For example, the WSH Branch may become aware that the appeal is brought forward for the sole purpose of retaliating against a worker, the employer or other organization, or to use safety to try to influence another matter.

Q: Do other agencies have this authority?

A: Both the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and the Employment Standards Branch have similar legislation.

Q: Does this amendment pose a risk to the safety of workers?

A: No, every complaint is investigated, and this change will improve safety of workers by allowing the WSH Branch to focus resources on safety and health issues. It will also allow the Manitoba Labour Board to focus their resources efficiently.