As a result of the Bill 70 changes to the Ontario College of Trades and Apprenticeship Act (“OCOTAA”) the power of Inspectors to issue “tickets” for violations of the Act was, as of June 7, 2017, replaced by the authority to issue “notices of contravention”.
“Tickets” required employees and/or employers who violated the Act to pay a “fine” and could be contested before a Justice of the Peace or Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice. “Notices of Contravention” now require offenders to pay “administrative penalties” and can be contested before the Ontario Labour Relations Board – not a court.
Last week, the Government took further steps to put this new enforcement system in place by proclaiming certain sections of OCOTAA into force and by making a new regulation (Ontario Regulation 170/17) that establishes the amount of the new “administrative penalties”. Penalties start at $250 for a first offence and can go as high as $10,000 for certain repeat offenders.
IBEW Executive Chairman James Barry has noted that “the potential for increased penalties under the College’s new enforcement system is a positive development”. He added that “penalties need to be high in order to promote compliance.”
But Barry went on to observe that “it does not matter how high penalties are if Inspectors do not take their enforcement responsibilities seriously”.
“The College has a new Compliance and Enforcement Policy in place and new powers to punish offenders, so our members will be keeping a close eye on the College to ensure that it fills its statutory mandate”, Barry said.
“Vigorous enforcement is the only way to enhance safety, protect the public, and ensure that Certificates of Qualification issued by the College are genuinely valued and respected”, he added.