Changes to the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Administrative Penalties System

The Administrative Penalties Regulations came into effect January 2010. These Regulations were intended to act as a deterrent to encourage compliance with existing occupational health and safety laws. The Regulations permit an “Administrator” to levy an administrative penalty (fine) against those who contravened any provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act or any of its accompanying Regulations. Under the Regulations penalties could be imposed upon employers, contractors, suppliers, OHS consultants, specified professionals, supervisors, provider of an occupational health or safety service, architect or professional engineer, self-employed persons, supervisors and employees; albeit there are different levels of penalties depending upon the “who”, the seriousness of the contravention and the history of contraventions. Since implementation these Regulations, and the administration of these Regulations, has been controversial. Specific complaints included: employers being given an Administrative Penalty after complying with an Order; accusations that penalties were inconsistently and unfairly awarded; the significant amount of litigation that ensued from untested Regulations; etc. On October 1, 2014 the new Administrative Penalties System took effect. The new system is being touted as graduated, predictable and simplified. Some highlights include:

A focus on compliance through Orders before Penalties are imposed;

A predictable and defined fine structure;

A simpler Appeal process;

A longer period in which to Appeal;

A guideline to ensure penalties are issued fairly and consistently.

Are you compliant with obligations set out under the OHS Act or any of its accompanying Regulations? Not sure? Give us a call to find out!


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