Employers who deal with Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors
may wish to review the Ontario government's Regulator's
Code of Practice. That Code applies to MOL inspectors and
other government compliance staff, and sets out principles that the
inspectors and other compliance staff are expected to follow.
Interestingly, the Code states that government inspectors should
be "compliance-focused" rather than
"enforcement-focused", which in the context of MOL
inspectors, appears to mean focused on helping employers maintain a
safe working environment rather than focused on laying charges
against employers under the Occupational Health and Safety
The Code states that a compliance-focus requires the inspector
to "focus on the objectives of regulatory law and policy and
then consider the most innovative, efficient and effective method
of achieving compliance."
In an apparent recognition of the challenging economic climate
for many Ontario employers, particularly those in the manufacturing
industry, the Code states that government inspectors and regulators
should do their jobs in a way that "allows businesses to
better focus on increasing competitiveness and economic growth
while complying with Ontario's rules and regulations".
The Code goes on to suggest that government compliance staff,
including MOL inspectors, should classify employers into four
categories, and treat them as follows:
"For those who are in full compliance,
consider providing compliance assistance.
For situations where there is no previous history of
non-compliance, consider providing compliance assistance
as well as progressive compliance and enforcement action, where
For situations where there is repeated history of
non-compliance, consider using progressive compliance and
For situations where the level of risk is immediate and
serious, use your organization's appropriate
Those four categories suggest what is already commonly
understood: that employers with a history of non-compliance with
the OHSA are more likely to be charged at least in cases of
relatively minor safety violations than employers with a history of
The Code also states that compliance staff should demonstrate
honesty and integrity, respect, objectivity, confidentiality,
knowledge and competencies.
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