(Sep. 26/12) Nova Scotia employers can now appeal the validity of administrative penalties issued under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) using a due diligence defence. Previously employers could only appeal the amount of the penalty – not the underlying issues of the compliance order. This change was brought about by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
Over the past several years, CRFA has grown increasingly concerned with the number of administrative penalties (i.e. tickets) Nova Scotia restaurateurs have received for minor occupational health and safety violations.
No tickets were given to the restaurant industry in 2009 – 2010. By 2011 – 2012, operators had received 90 tickets – mostly for minor offences, despite having taken immediate action to rectify the issue. This spike in tickets resulted from a policy change that stripped inspectors of the ability to use discretion when inspecting an establishment.
CRFA opposed this policy change as it focused on revenue generation and penalties, rather than collaboration with operators to create safer workplaces.
We raised this issue with Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Marilyn More, who now recognizes that new policy is needed to build trust between operators and regulators.