Changes also introduced to the Workers Compensation Act
Manitoba introduced the Workplace Safety and Health Amendment Act to strengthen penalties for serious workplace infractions, reduce duplication and improve the efficiency of services in the province, according to a press release.
The act would increase penalties for workplace safety rules violation. First offence penalties will now be up to $500,000, up from $250,000, while second and subsequent offences would cost violators up to $1 million, up from $500,000.
The amendments would also eliminate the chief prevention officer position (CPO) and put the CPO’s responsibilities under SAFE Work Manitoba. It will also improve the mechanisms for collecting penalties levied by the courts for purposes of educating the public on workplace injury and illness prevention, and introduce new provisions that would prevent frivolous or vexatious appeals from being forwarded to the Manitoba Labour Board.
“We want to make sure workplaces are safe for workers as safety is a priority for this government,” said Finance Minister Scott Fielding. “These amendments would ensure Manitoba remains a safe and healthy place to work, as well as a competitive and attractive place to do business.”
The changes proposed in the act stem from the legislated five-year review of the act.
Manitoba is also introducing changes to The Workers Compensation Act that would reinstate a cap on maximum insurable earnings, create an employer adviser office, establish a schedule of occupational diseases and expand and clarify enforcement and collection mechanisms.
The amendments would also change the process for the appointment of board members to the Workers Compensation Board (WCB), and specify that the WCB is not a government agency for the purposes of The Financial Administration Act.
“The Workers Compensation Amendment Act will enhance the independence of the Workers Compensation Board, confirming the board’s control over and responsibility for its own operations,” said Fielding. “The Manitoba Employers Council and the Manitoba Federation of Labour have expressed their support for the enhanced independence of the WCB.”