New penalties for health, safety and trade violations will improve compliance and protect Albertans

Bill 6 adds new administrative health and safety penalties and increases power of health and safety officers

Alberta workers and employers who violate Alberta’s safety rules and fair trading practices are facing new penalties and significantly greater fines.

“There will be no more slaps on the wrist in Alberta; a worker or employer who puts health and safety at risk, or is misleading or unfair in their business dealings, will be held accountable,” said Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.

Bill 6: The Protections and Compliance Statutes Amendment Act introduces new administrative penalties and significantly increases fines for penalties that already exist. It affects three pieces of legislation: the Safety Codes Act, the Fair Trading Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“This is about protecting Albertans and ensuring those who place the public in danger are held accountable,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths. “Stiffer penalties for those who violate the Safety Codes Act will be a deterrent, and will enable the courts to assess penalties that are appropriately severe in the most serious cases.”

"These changes will allow us to more effectively and forcefully protect consumers against unscrupulous business practices,” said Manmeet Bhullar, Minister of Service Alberta. “New and increased fines found in this legislation will give us the tools we need to safeguard the public interest and enforce the law.”

Among the notable proposed changes are:

•Increased maximum fines through the courts for Safety Codes Act violations - from $15,000 to $100,000 for a first offence, and from $30,000 to $500,000 for subsequent offences
•New administrative penalties for Fair Trading Act violations of up to $100,000, and increased maximum fines through the courts - from $100,000 to $300,000
•New administrative penalties for Occupational Health and Safety Act violations - up to $10,000.
Click here to see a complete list of amendments  

Administrative penalties are an addition to the enforcement toolbox, and fill an enforcement gap that exists between two extremes: orders or warnings, and court prosecutions.  Another addition - which will allow Occupational Health and Safety investigators to issue tickets for on-the-spot violations - will come through regulation in 2013, Hancock added. “Together these changes will help protect the public, the consumer, and the workplace,” he said.

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