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Lecture 2

OHS 208 Lecture 2: OHS Chapter 2

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Ryerson University
Occupational Health
OHS 208
Dwight Barratt

2.1 Statutory Interpretation In Module 2, we identified the three branches of government, namely the executive, legislature and judiciary. The roles of each of the three organs of government were briefly discussed. As you will recall, we described the judiciary branch to include the courts, judges and other officers of the court. The judiciary branch of government has a unique role in that it is the branch that has the responsibility to interpret legislation and regulations. Through the judiciarys legislative or statutory interpretational duties, it builds the common law and provides guidance to the executive branch on how to enforce the law. The judiciary branch also provides guidance to the general public, ensuring there are no ambiguities in what the provision of a statute or legislation means. Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. A read of the law may not answer employers or employees questions. The courts through their statutory or legislative interpretive role are looked upon to answer questions like the ones mentioned above. It is through case law (court decisions) that we know the factors considered in determining whether someone who is hired by an employer to do work is an employee or an independent contractor for the reasons of the OHS Act. Factors that have been used by the courts in answering this question include: the level of control the employer maintains over the worker, whether or not the worker provides equipment and the workers opportunity for profit. This is an example of statutory or legislative interpretation. Rules of Statutory Interpretation 1. Literal rule 2. Golden rule 3. Mischief rule 4. Purposive approach Literal Rule: This is where judges use the plain dictionary meaning of the word in legislation. Golden Rule : This rule allows judges to depart from the plain dictionary meaning of a word in legislation to avoid unreasonableness, which literal interpretation may cause, Mischief Rule: Under this rule, judges seek to answer the question what is the mischief the legislature intended to eliminate for passing this law? They will interpret the provision or words of legislation in light of their answer to the question. Purposive Rule: This is where the courts interpret legislation in light of its purpose. The court will seek to understand and uphold the intention of the legislature in deference to the doctrine
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