Alberta government extending safety penalties to workers

Edmonton, Alberta – Employees in the Canadian province of Alberta will soon face monetary penalties if found in violation of occupational safety and health rules.

The Protection and Compliance Statutes Amendment Act (Bill 6) on Sept. 6 formally amended the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act. As a result, the occupational safety and health branch of the Human Services Department will be allowed to directly issue monetary penalties for the first time.

Beginning Oct. 1, administrative penalties up to $10,000 per incident per day can be issued to employers, employees, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors who have a history of violating health and safety laws. Such penalties previously were handled by Alberta’s Justice Department.

Additionally, workers and employers can be ticketed on the spot with a $100-$500 fine for workplace safety provision violations beginning Jan. 1.

Administrative penalties can be appealed to Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Council, and individuals issued a ticket have the right to defend themselves in court.

Alberta is the latest Canadian province to allow its occupational safety and health agency to issue monetary penalties to both workers and employers for violations. Others include Nova Scotia and Ontario.