January 29, 2019
A small business in the Ottawa area that ignored Ministry of Labour orders — despite repeat visits by an inspector who provided compliance solutions — has been fined $60,000 and is no longer in operation.

The inspector initially visited the business after an incident had occurred. Following an investigation, the inspector issued 15 orders. To help the business comply with the orders, the inspector emailed a package of small business tools and resources to one of the company’s directors. Despite four follow-up visits from the inspector over an eight-month period, the business failed to comply with some of the orders. This led the Ministry of Labour to prosecute the employer, resulting in the fine.

“It didn’t have to end this way,” says Bill Chen, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) Regional Community Coordinator for Small Business. “The owners could have complied with the outstanding orders using simple tools and resources that are available online at no cost.”

The four orders that had not been complied with included mandatory requirements to:
  • Post a copy of the employer’s health and safety policy. A written policy helps promote your health and safety program. It takes into account the particulars of your workplace and communicates the employer’s commitment to health and safety.
  • Ensure all workers complete a basic health and safety awareness training program. This training introduces workers to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and focuses on the health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers.
  • Ensure all supervisors complete a basic health and safety awareness training program. Similar to the worker awareness program, this version provides important information on supervisors’ duties.
  • Conduct a violence risk assessment to identify potential sources of violence in the workplace.
Failure to comply with these orders cost the employer $15,000 per order. Orders are issued to ensure workplaces meet minimum standards of protection. The employer could have avoided the orders, and the $60,000 fine, by using readily available tools and resources from the WSPS Small Business Centre at at WSPS.ca/Small-Business-Centre or the Ministry of Labour at Labour.gov.on.ca. Resources include draft policies, free online training and downloadable policies, forms and more.