Local Labour Council Welcomes Higher Fines

The Sarnia and District Labour Council welcomes Ontario’s maximum fine increases for those not meeting workplace health and safety standards.

Corporations can now be fined up to $1.5-million for an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, up from $500,000.

Individuals or unincorporated businesses can now be handed a $100,000 fine. That’s an increase of $75,000, and the first change to the legislation since 1979.

President Jason McMichael says anything to protect workers is a step in the right direction.

“This is something that the labour movement in Ontario lobbied the government for for a long time to ensure that employers are held to the highest standards in providing safe workplaces for workers,” says McMichael. “We’ve accomplished that goal, so hopefully this will result in fewer workplace accidents and deaths.”

The province has also expanded the time limit to allow for prosecution.

Charges can now be laid up to one year from the date when an inspector becomes aware of an incident.

In 2016-17, the Ministry of Labour’s health and safety inspectors conducted nearly 80,000 visits to over 34,000 workplaces across Ontario and issued 118,000 orders.

In 2016, the court imposed more than $11-million in fines to companies not complying with regulations.