Amendments called the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act, 2017 (Bill 177), have been made to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and went into effect on December 14, 2017. These amendments are the largest changes that have been implemented into OHSA in over 15 years. Some of the changes include tripling corporate OHSA penalties and quadrupling individual OHSA penalties.
Below are 6 major OHSA Changes from this amendment that you should be aware of:
Tripled Corporate OHSA Fines. Previously the maximum corporate fine for an OHSA violation was $500,000 per charge. With the implementation of the new amendments, the new cap on these fines is $1,500,000 per charge.
Quadrupled Individual OHSA Fines. As of December 14, 2017, the previous maximum penalty for an OHSA violation increased from $25,000 per charge and/or one year in jail to $100,000 per charge in addition to a potential, but not defined jail term.
The Period of Changes Time Frame. Before the amendment, the period for bringing a prosecution under the OHSA or one of its regulations has been one year from the date of the alleged violation. With the new amendment, this limitation period includes the day, which the inspector becomes aware of the office. This has the poetical for changing the time frame, in which a prosecution can occur for an OHSA violation.
New Reporting Obligations. It is now mandated that an employer must notify a director if a health and safety committee or health and safety representative identifies any potential structural inadequacies, which could in time become a safety hazard to workers.
Additional Reportable Incidents Can Be Added. The Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act, 2017 (Bill 177) allows for further amendments to occur in the future in regards to further regulations to specify any additional prescribed locations which employers or other parties could be required to report an accident or other incidents. For more information regarding these potential changes see the updated Section 53 of OHSA.
Potential Future Expansions to Content and Timing of Injury Reporting. Bill 177 also allows for additional regulations, which specify additional notice requirements, which must be bet if a person is killed or critically injured in the workplace. Future changes may see that additional details and particulars of following investigations and corrective actions be required in accident reports.
These OHSA updates are designed to keep both employees and employers safe and ensure that if accidents occur the correct steps are taken in order to prevent them from occurring again.
Bill 177, Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2018, from http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=5316
Edwards, C. (2018, January 08). 6 OHSA changes every Ontario employer needs to know. Retrieved February 13, 2018, from http://www.cos-mag.com/ohs-laws-regulations/columns/6-ohsa-changes-every-ontario-employer-needs-to-know/