New Administrative Penalties System

Since January 2010, administrative penalties have been used by government as one of many tools to help promote and ensure workplace safety across the province. Some aspects of the program have been effective in ensuring occupational health and safety (OHS) laws are followed in our workplaces; however, we have also heard from employers and workers that some parts of the system need to be improved.

In February 2013, a discussion paper was released outlining the proposed framework of the new system. Through an initial external consultation (including workshops and written feedback), stakeholders agreed that the framework suggested a major improvement to the administrative penalties system. This framework has guided the detailed development of the new proposed system.

The stakeholders consultation on the draft administrative penalties system concluded on September 26th, 2013.

On December 4, 2013 the Minister introduced changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act as a first step to implementing a new administrative penalties system. These particular changes (Bill no 12) will focus on a simplified single appeal process for Compliance Orders and administrative penalties and provide legislative authority to direct funds collected through administrative penalties towards workplace safety initiatives. The details of the bill may be found at the Legislative counsel website at the following link: Note on October 1, 2014, the Administrative Penalties become part 31 of the Workplace Health and Safety Regulations.

The following documents provide some background information as it relates to the new framework and were shared as part of the consultative process last summer.

  1. Discussion Paper - A proposed new system for administrative penalties in Nova Scotia
  2. Administrative Penalties-Part 31 of Workplace Health and Safety Regulations (pdf of the Order In Council)
  3. Administrative Penalties: What you need to know
  4. Guidelines - for issuing administrative penalties
  5. Webinar Presentation: Changes to Administrative Penalty System

Effective October 1, 2014 all revenue generated by the Administrative Penalty System will be directed to the Occupational Health and Safety Education Trust Fund. For further information please go to the OHS Education Trust Fund page.

For further details regarding the new Administrative Penalties system please contact our Information Specialist or the Compliance and Inspection Services Branch in your region:

Information Specialist (General Inquiries and Reporting)
Toll-Free (in Nova Scotia only) 24 hours: 1-800 952-2687
Halifax metro (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. only) (902) 424-5400

Compliance and Inspection Services - General
Western Region (portions of Halifax and Colchester Counties, Hants, Kings, Annapolis, Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens and Lunenburg Counties)
Central Region (portions of Halifax, Colchester Counties, Pictou and Cumberland Counties)
Eastern Region (portions of Halifax and Pictou Counties, Guysborough, Antigonish, Richmond, Cape Breton, Victoria and Inverness Counties)