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.
Also, 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 my 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.
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 Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) including the following:
- The employer had not posted a copy of OHSA in the workplace
- The employer did not have a health and 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 and 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 Ontario small employers because these employers are simply 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, the inspector may simply issue an order with a deadline for compliance.
For unco-operative employers, repeat offenders, or serious violations of the Ontario OHSA, the inspector can however 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 Part 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.
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