The more substantive compliance orders were:
- The employer could not provide proof that workers are aware of their rights and duties under the OHS Act, Regulations, and Code, breaching s. 3(1)(b) of the OHS Act.
- The employer could not provide proof that a new worker orientation or other safety training is provided to workers, breaching s. 3(2) of the OHS Act.
- The workplace violence prevention plan (policy and procedures) did not meet the requirements of Sections 390.1 & 390.2 as required under Section 390 of the OHS Code.
AU’s experience with the OHS regime suggests several things:
- Even large, sophisticated employers with dedicated OHS staff don’t necessarily comply with the law unless the law is enforced. AU had plenty of warning of these changes and took no action to comply until the faculty association complained to the government. Absent a complaint, AU would likely have remained noncompliant.
- OHS basically won’t enforce the OHS Act. Instead, it issues orders and grants employers extensions. AU’s joint OHS committee was told by the employer co-chair that, even if AU missed the July deadline, AU will just get another extension. Absent government consequences for violations, there is effectively no law. Which maybe helps explain Alberta’s high level of workplace injury and death.
-- Bob Barnetson