Employers in Nova Scotia are facing bigger payouts for serious health and safety violations after the provincial legislature passed amendments to the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Bill 25, An Act to Amend Chapter 7 of the Acts of 1996, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, was introduced to the provincial legislature by Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Marilyn More in April. The bill received royal assent and came into effect on May 19.
The new amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act impose a progressive fine structure that has a maximum fine of $250,000 for a first offence and $500,000 for each subsequent offence that occurs within five years of a previous conviction. Under the previous structure, the maximum fine for any offence was $250,000. For health and safety violations that result in a fatality in the workplace, the maximum fine is now $500,000 regardless of any previous violations.
In addition to the increase to the fine limit, the amendments provide, where the court orders the repayment of benefits accrued to the offender during the commission of an offence, that these amounts be in addition to the maximum fine levels rather than included.
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