Alberta is working on new rules to improve the way workplace injury and deaths are investigated and to help clarify if criminal charges and violations are necessary.
Last week, the province signed a memorandum of understanding with 10 police services. While occupational health and safety (OHS) and police currently coordinate when to investigate serious incidents, new protocols will make it easier to determine criminal activity.
“Criminal charges are another enforcement tool to help ensure compliance with workplace health and safety laws,” said Minister of Labour Christina Gray. The agreement will help OHS and police to better serve and protect Albertans to help ensure every worker comes home safe at the end of the day.”
Amendments to Canada’s Criminal Code took effect in 2004. They allow for criminal charges in serious cases of workplace death or injury, and apply to anyone on a site or who directs the work of others. Since then, there have been 11 prosecutions in Canada, but none in Alberta.
“This memorandum of understanding will help solidify the coordination and communication of Alberta’s police services with those who investigate serious workplace occurrences,” said Marlin Degrand, assistant commissioner RCMP K Division and Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police representative. “By defining roles and protocols, police can focus on any criminal activity that may have occurred and investigators can ensure their time is spent on the incident investigation – and that benefits all Albertans.”