HALIFAX – The province wants to hear from employers and employees on how to make the province's workplace safety penalties system more consistent and fair.
On Friday, Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More released a discussion paper that outlines potential solutions to enhance the province's administrative penalties system. Administrative penalties, which began in 2010, are fines for employers and employees who break safety laws.
"With so many exciting opportunities in this province, we need to make sure our workplaces are safe and our workers are protected," More said in a news release. "Administrative penalties are an important safety tool, but we need to make sure we are properly educating employers and employees about the importance of workplace safety, that we are assigning the penalties for the right types of offences, they are consistent, and they are having the best impact.
"Nova Scotians have given us some great ideas on how to improve the system, and I am looking forward to hearing their comments on how we will administer administrative penalties."
The province launched a review of the administrative penalties after Nova Scotians raised concerns and ideas from improvement. It aims to collaboratively develop an approach that protects workers while balancing the need for employers to focus on their businesses. Potential solutions outlined in the discussion paper include increased education, more predictability within the system and a more streamlined appeals process.
"Administrative penalties have a place in reducing workplace incidents, and increasing compliance with safety laws, but the process needs examination," said Luc Erjavec, vice-president Atlantic, Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association. "I have been very involved in discussions around the penalties, and am pleased to see government is listening. I am looking forward to reviewing the proposed solutions, and providing input to develop effective solutions."
The province is developing a five-year workplace safety strategy that aims to make Nova Scotia the safest province in which to work in Canada.
The deadline for comments on the discussion paper is March 6.
To view the discussion paper, visit www.gov.ns.ca/lae/policy/AdminPenaltiesDiscussion.asp .