April 8, 2022
By Jeremy Warning Cheryl A. Edwards John Illingworth Deanah I. Shelly
OHS & Workers’ Compensation Advisor
On April 7, 2022, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act, 2022(the “Bill”), which, among other things, contains various amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA”). The amendments will make significant changes to the OHSA including substantially increased penalties for directors, officers and individuals, legislated sentencing factors, the potential for additional court orders as part of sentencing, and a doubling of the limitation period. The Bill also introduces obligations for certain employers to maintain naloxone kits and train their staff on how to use them.
The new sentencing provisions and limitation period take effect on the later of July 1, 2022, or the date the Bill receives Royal Assent. We anticipate Royal Assent will occur before July 1, 2022, meaning these changes are likely to come into force on Canada Day. The new obligations in respect of naloxone kits take effect on a date to be named by the Lieutenant Governor by proclamation.
Increased Maximum Fines for Individuals
The Bill provides for significantly increased penalties for individuals. Directors and officers of corporations, who, like all individuals, are currently subject to a maximum fine of $100,000 will face a maximum fine of fifteen times that amount, $1,500,000, which is the same as the maximum penalty that can be imposed on a corporation. The Bill also increases the maximum monetary penalty for all other individuals to $500,000 – a five-fold increase from the current maximum. These maximums are per offence meaning individuals charged under the OHSA could face a maximum monetary penalty that in the millions or multiple millions of dollars. In addition to these substantially increased maximums, individuals could also face up to 12 months in jail. These maximums are per offence meaning individuals charged under the OHSA could face a maximum monetary penalty that in the millions or multiple millions of dollars. In addition to these substantially increased maximums, individuals could also face up to 12 months in jail.