Nova Scotia proposes new workplace safety violation penalties

Nova Scotia is proposing new penalties for employers and employees who repeatedly break workplace safety rules.

In a discussion paper released on July 29, Labour Minister Frank Corbett proposed new solutions for the province’s administrative penalties. The discussion paper suggests a structured fine schedule be implemented that would see higher fines levied for recurring offenders.

For less serious infractions, inspectors will educate employers and employees to help ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, Corbett said.

Nova Scotia launched a review of its administrative penalties system after employers said fines were issued inconsistently and, sometimes, unfairly, according to the province. The review led to an approach that ensures proper education of workplace safety for employers and employees and assigns penalties for the right types of offences.

"Hundreds of Nova Scotians have given us great ideas on how to improve the administrative penalty system," Corbett said. "They want us to focus more on prevention, while sending a clear message to employers that there is zero tolerance for rule breakers who risk the lives and health of workers, or who are repeat offenders."

The new system also proposes a streamlined appeal process for compliance orders and administrative penalties managed by the Labour Relations Board.

The Labour Department will accept public feedback on the proposed changes until Sept. 26.

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