On November 14, 2017, the Ontario government introduced Bill 177, namely, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017. If passed, Bill 177 would amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA”) to significantly increase the maximum fines for violations of the OHSA to $1,500,000 per charge for corporations and $100,000 per charge for individuals. Currently, corporations can be fined up to $500,000 per charge, while individuals can be fined up to $25,000 per charge.
Bill 177 would also amend the limitation period for prosecutions under the OHSA. Currently, prosecutions must be instituted within one year of the occurrence of the last act or default upon which the prosecution is based. Bill 177 provides that prosecutions must be instituted within one year of the later of the occurrence of the last act or default upon which the prosecution is based or the day upon which an inspector becomes aware of the alleged offence.
Bill 177 received second reading on November 30, 2017 and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.