Province of Alberta Cracking Down on Workplace Safety
For the first time, Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration will have the ability to issue monetary fines. The new legislation includes two types of financial penalties, on-site and administrative.
On-site tickets can be issued for up to $500 on the spot. The government also has the ability to issue administrative fines up to $10,000. OHS spokesman Brookes Merritt explained the administrative fines are primarily for “repeat non-compliers”. Both the on-site and administrative penalties can be issued to employers or individual workers, and administrative tickets can be appealed through the Alberta OHS.
The new legislation took effect October 1, 2013 for administrative penalties, while on-site ticketing began January 1, 2014. The new system will provide OHS officers with a new enforcement tool, supplementing what was previously a limited arsenal.
“We needed something that was more severe than an order to comply, but less severe than prosecution,” Merritt said. “We had what we felt was a gap on the enforcement spectrum.”
However, The Alberta Federation of Labour disagrees with this decision. AFL President Gil McGowan feels the new rules will discourage employers from investing in the proper safety measures since individual employees may now receive the blame.
“Employers will end up washing their hands of responsibility for health and safety and saying it’s the workers’ problem and the workers’ fault. That’s not the way to make workplaces safer in this province,” McGowan said.
The new legislation in Alberta is in line with regulations either already in place or under consideration in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. To learn more about the new regulations or ways to help prevent punitive fines, contact the ISN Customer Service Team at 1 800 976 1303 or via email at CustomerService@isn.com.