When an occupational health officer encounters a person who is not complying with The Saskatchewan Employment Act, the officer will take one of two actions:
- Require the person to enter into a compliance undertaking; or
- Serve the person with a notice of contravention.
Compliance undertakings are an enforcement tool available to occupational health officers. The Saskatchewan Employment Act defines a compliance undertaking as a written agreement (not a warning) where a workplace party commits to take steps to comply with occupational health and safety legislation by accomplishing specified tasks within a defined time period.
A compliance undertaking does not require a workplace party to agree that they are in contravention of The Saskatchewan Employment Act as long as the party agrees to take action in the manner and within the time frame given by the officer. The progress report must be submitted to the officer within five business days of the specified date for compliance.
Occupational health officers will have discretion to issue a notice of contravention in circumstances where a person prefers a compliance undertaking.
Officers will not allow a workplace party to enter into a compliance undertaking if a provision of The Saskatchewan Employment Act or the regulations require that a notice of contravention be issued.
Notice of Contravention
A notice of contravention is a formal enforcement tool available to occupational health officers to identify non-compliance with legislation.
An officer uses a notice of contravention to do the following:
- Identify a contravention of The Saskatchewan Employment Act and regulations;
- Require that corrective action be taken, and specify the date by which that action is to be completed; and
- Require a progress report within five business days of the prescribed date for correction to the Occupational Health and Safety Division, and to a workplace occupational health committee or occupational health and safety representative. If a committee or representative does not exist at a workplace, the report is provided to the workers.
Prior to issuing a notice of contravention, the officer must have formed the opinion that a workplace party has contravened The Saskatchewan Employment Act or the regulations and that the issuance of the notice of contravention is in accordance with Part III of the Act and the Division's policies. The opinion must be based on reasonable, credible, and documented evidence.
An occupational health officer can issue a notice of contravention when any of the following have occurred:
- There are no adequate temporary measures to remedy or control a contravention which presents a significant risk of injury or illness (e.g., the lack of a machine guard or personal protective equipment).
- An occupational health committee has not been established in accordance with section 3-22 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act.
- An employer has failed to designate an occupational health and safety representative in a prescribed high hazard workplace as per section 3-24 of the Act.
- There is imminent danger that requires an officer to issue a stop work order (e.g., when a worker is working in a trench, 1-2 metres deep, with no shoring or support).
- A serious incident or injury has occurred.
- The contravention is associated with negligence when the party knew of risk or exhibited a reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others.
- There is a history of resistance to comply.
- A person refuses to co-operate or to provide information to the officer.
- A person deliberately obstructs an officer in the course of his duties.
- A person refuses to co-operate with a committee or representative.
- A person willfully refuses to comply with his or her duty to co-operate with another person exercising a duty under the Act or the regulations.
- An employer takes discriminatory action against a worker for fulfilling his or her duties under the Act or the regulations, or exercising his or her rights under the Act or the regulations.
- A person fails to fulfil the terms of a compliance undertaking within the time limit and without reasonable explanation.