6 Six Major Changes Administrative Penalties Power of OHS Officers Prime ContractorDuties of OHS CouncilCollection Powers of GovernmentService of Orders
7 Administrative Penalties Administrative penalties allowedApplies to employers, workers, contractors, prime contractors, suppliersMaximum penalty of $10K / day
8 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Section 40.3(2) If an OHS Officer forms “opinion”violation of Act, Reg., or Codefailure to comply with:order issued under Act, Reg., or Codeterm or condition of acceptance issued under s. 34term or condition, or requirement of an “approval” issued under the Code
9 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) “Other features”No double jeopardy if administrative penalty paidCannot be charged with same contravention2 year limitation period from date of alleged contraventionSame force and effect as a judgment if filed with ABQB
10 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Appeal ProcessFirst level is OHS CouncilWithin 30 days from notice of admin penalty givenMay confirm, revoke or vary penaltyAutomatic stay of administrative penalty upon commencing an appeal to OHS Council
11 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Second level of appeal to ABQBOnly on questions of law or jurisdictionABQB may make any order considered properIncluding costsAutomatic stay of administrative penalty when commencing an appeal to ABQB
12 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Administrative penalties not in force until proclaimed (spring?)Many details yet to be determined vis-à-vis the regulationsAuthority to make regulations for administrative penalties delegated to the Lieutenant Governor in Council
13 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Broad scope of regulations in section 40(i.1)Form, content, manner in which they are to be givenAmounts of the administrative penaltiesFactors to be taken into accountAppeals from administrative penaltiesAny other matter the LGC considers necessary or advisable to “carry out the intent and purpose of the system of administrative penalties”Service of orders
14 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Purpose of administrative penalties?
15 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d)) OHS says:“There was no middle ground in the enforcement spectrum – between issuance of an order to comply and prosecutions through the courts.”
16 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) OHS says:“The administrative penalties is developed as an additional tool to address circumstances of non-compliance. It is a compliance tool intended to encourage efforts to comply thereby reducing the risk of workplace injuries and illnesses.”
17 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Hon. Matt Jeneroux introduced Bill No. 6Minister of EnvironmentOctober 24, 2012 said:
18 Hansard“The intent of this legislation is to ensure willing and active compliance with existing regulations by creating new penalties and bolstering those that already exist for those who ignore the provisions of the three acts being amended.”
19 Hansard (Cont’d)“…the great majority of employers and businesses in Alberta willingly and carefully comply with the rules that are in place which govern their activities. However, there are some who repeatedly and chronically choose not to do so. The provisions of this act are aimed directly at them.”
20 Hansard (Cont’d)“This act sends a clear message that they will not be able to flout the rules and put either the safety or financial security of Albertans at risk without meaningful consequences. Administrative penalties will allow regulators to do much more than issue a warning to violators.”
21 Hansard (Cont’d)“In the past many of these warnings have been ignored, and the only way to deal with the situation was through protracted and costly suspensions or prosecutions. Administrative penalties provide for a middle ground, one which points to the seriousness of the violation in question and government’s commitment to eliminating those violations.”
22 Hansard (Cont’d)“…The administrative penalties make it clear that the cost of doing business is greatly reduced when they play by the rules. The [PCSAA] is about accountability. Those who put the public in danger will be held accountable for their actions. Those who put workers at risk of injury or death will be held accountable. Albertans have the right to expect a safe workplace…”
23 Prosecutions Summary of Alberta OHS Prosecutions Calendar Year Number of Prosecutions CompletedTotal PenaltiesRange of Court Penalties20131$1,500,00020129$3,651,250$70,000 - $1,437,500201120$3,486,250$11,500 - $431,250201011$1,737,250$10,000 - $400,000200910$1,013,725$1,150 - $300,000200822$5,083,000$45,750 - $425,000200712$1,720,000$70,750 - $350,0002006$1,534,500$40,000 - $500,0002005$554,050$2,000 - $100,00020048$597,500$10,000 - $120,0002003$638,950$2,000 - $105,0002002$795,650$5,000 - $150,000
24 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) OHS says (Bulletin):“There will be no impact on employers and workers who follow the workplace health and safety rules…Employers and workers who violate the occupational health and safety laws, especially repeat offenders, may be subject to a penalty assessed by the department.”
25 Administrative Penalties (Cont’d) Comments on administrative penaltiesDevil’s in the detailsSeems like a “big hammer” for a small problemLimited right of appealCould invite abuses if not monitored properlyRelevance to sentencing?
26 Thoughts? Administrative penalties are not “offences” Section 28 of the Interpretation Act“Offence” means an offence punishable on summary convictionCannot be used to establish “second or subsequent offence” (s. 41(1)(b) OHS Act)
27 Thoughts? (Cont’d)Relevance to sentencing?Business implications?
28 Powers of OHS Officers Section 4.1 of OHS Act When requested by an OHSO:must provide proof of identityemployers must identify their workers employed by them at the work site
29 Powers of OHS Officers (Cont’d) Section 40.4No person shall interfere with or in any manner hinder an officer or peace officer who is exercising powers or performing duties or functions under this Act.
30 Powers of OHS Officers (Cont’d) Broad language“Interfere”“Hinder”Implications for accident responseSolicitor client privilege?
31 Prime Contractor Amended s. 3 of the OHS Act 2 important changes Removed “at the same time”Reference “adopted code”
32 Prime Contractor (Cont’d) No requirement for employers to be “working at the same time”OHS says:A prime contractor is required whenever there are 2 or more employers “whose activities have a health and safety impact on each other or are interrelated”.
33 Prime Contractor (Cont’d) Prime contractors are “expressly” responsible for ensuring compliance with the OHS Code.
34 OHS Council Amendments to sections 7, 16 and 17 OHS Council gains importanceIncreased council’s duties and powersSame duties continue (appeals to OHS orders, permit suspensions and cancellations, and disciplinary action complaints)
35 OHS Council (Cont’d)New duty to hear appeals on administrative penaltiesMay confirm, revoke or vary administrative penaltiesFor the purpose of hearing appeals, the OHS Council given the same power vested in ABQB for the trial of civil actions
36 OHS Council (Cont’d) OHS Council given power to: summon and enforce the attendance of witnessescompel witnesses to give evidence under oath or otherwise
37 Collection of Creative Sentences Any overdue portion of a creative sentence is deemed to be a fine and collected as suchAllows the government to collect creative sentence monies upon behalf of third parties
38 Service of Orders OHS Officers can serve orders by electronic methods Details to be provided in regulations yet to be developedOral stop work orders deemed to be “served” at the time the oral order is made.
39 Safety Codes Act Increases maximum penalties From $15K to $100K for first offenceFrom $30K to $500K for subsequent offence
40 Projections for 2013 “Tickets” coming? OHS Regulation expires March 31, 2013New regulation or extension?
41 Projections (Cont’d) Higher sentences? More accountability for prime contractors?Hindering charges?Employer Task Force?