We often get calls from employers who are the subject of a Ministry of Labour (“MOL”) Inspection.
Sometimes the employer is a target of one of the MOL’s pro-active enforcement blitzes. For information on the MOL’s 2017-2018 blitzes, click here.
And sometimes an employee has called the MOL and lodged a complaint and an investigator has been assigned to investigate the complaint.
Why Are The Number of MOL Orders Increasing?
Several new obligations have been imposed on employers in the last couple of years and in our experience the MOL inspectors usually confirm whether or not an employer is in compliance with these new obligations regardless of the reason for the visit to the workplace. For information on some of these new obligations click here, here, and here.
The Results of a Recent MOL Investigation
This blog discusses a group of orders that a MOL inspector recently imposed on a small employer after an employee complained that she had been harassed at work.
Ironically, even though the employer had complied with the law that was the subject matter of the complaint, the MOL issued several orders against the employer for infractions of the Ontario Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) including the following:
- The employer had not posted a copy of OHSA with the applicable regulation in the workplace
- The employer did not have a health & safety representative selected by the workers
- A health & safety representative had not inspected the physical condition of the workplace
- The employer did not provide basic occupation health & safety training to employees
- The employer did not have a health & safety policy posted in the workplace
- The employer did not have a workplace violence policy posted in the workplace
- The employer did not have a workplace harassment policy posted in the workplace
- The employer did not institute best practices for simple but dangerous activities
I suspect that a MOL inspector would issue these orders against many (if not most) Ontario small employers because most small employers are not aware of these obligations.
Penalties a MOL Inspector Can Impose
A MOL inspector has broad powers. If the employer co-operates with the inspector and the violations are minor then the inspector may simply issue an order with a deadline for compliance.
For uncooperative employers, repeat offenders, or serious violations of OHSA, the inspector can issue a ticket with a fine of approximately $ 295, or charge the employer with offences under Part I (maximum fine of $ 1000 per offence) or III (maximum fine of $ 500 000 for third offence) of the Provincial Offences Act. For more information on a MOL inspector’s powers, click here.
Lessons To Be Learned
You should try to stay up to date on changes to Ontario’s employment laws. We distribute this blog every two weeks as a public service to give you an idea of some of the changes in Ontario’s employment laws. We do not blog about all of these changes.
To help employers comply with Ontario’s employment laws we offer a fixed price compliance service that is tailored to your organization’s specific needs.
For over 25 years, Doug MacLeod of the MacLeod Law Firm has been advising employers on all aspects of the employment relationship. If you have any questions, you can contact him directly at 416 317-9894 or at [email protected]
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