Under the Occupational Health & Safety Act, employers are obligated by law to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. The Ministry of Labour enforces these regulations and has the authority for the following:
- Inspect: Ask any employee questions and review documents (Payroll and Training records; Inspect Records etc); Inspect equipment.
- Administer: Issue Orders for Compliance; Order Testing of Equipment
- Investigate: Workplace Accident/ Fatality; Where it is believed the OHSA has been contravened; Order a Work Stoppage; Investigate if a complaint is made against the employer
- Enforce: Issue Orders and Fines (note: can garnish fines thru the court); Order a business to be shut down if they believe the health & safety of worker(s) is at risk; Initiate Prosecution in extreme cases;
Employers can be fined heavily depending upon the severity of the violations. It is important to know, that in addition to employer penalties, Managers and Supervisors can be PERSONALLY fined and a company is not obligated to pay the fine on their behalf:
- Corporations – maximum $500,000.00 per violation
- Individuals maximum – $25,000.00 and or up to
- 12 months in jail: Bill C-45 (Criminal Code)
The follow link provides announcements of businesses that have been fined recently: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/news/courtbulletins.php
In addition, under Bill C-45 owners and managers can be held criminally liable if they are found to be intentionally negligent of the health & safety of workers. Please click the following link to find out more information about Bill-C45: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/legisl/billc45.html
The MOL also holds monthly blitzes to target specific industries and announces them in advance on their website: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/sawo/blitzes/
As an employer, you are also obligated to comply with the Human Rights Code which prevents discriminations under the following prohibited grounds: Race, Religion, Disability, Age, Sex (includes pregnancy and childbirth), Marital/Family Status, Gender, Ethnic Origin, and Ancestry. Therefore it is important that policies and practices are put in place to prevent discrimination and avoid litigation costs should a complaint be made.
Furthermore, employers must be covered through WSIB (Workplace Safety Insurance Board) for work related injuries or accidents (there are a few exemptions). An employer’s premiums for this “no fault” insurance are based on their industry and history of work related accidents. To avoid increased premiums, employers, managers/supervisors must know how to manage claims from the day an injury occurs.
If you have any questions or would like to learn about more on how to protect your business from penalties or avoid violations, please feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to answer any questions.