Changes to the Safety Codes Act Allow For Administrative Penalties for Non-Compliance

Changes to the Safety Codes Act Allow For Administrative Penalties for Non-Compliance

Recent changes to the Safety Codes Act have allowed for the development of a designated authority to manage permitting and inspection in open areas in Alberta.  This means that municipal districts and counties who remain unaccredited and contract their permitting and inspection services to a permitting agency, fall under the supervision of the Alberta Safety Codes Authority (ASCA).  ASCA sets the framework under which permitting and inspections are carried out in these regions.

Another change to the Safety Codes Act is the mechanism under which penalties can be assessed against either homeowners or contractors for non-compliance with the regulatory framework for onsite wastewater and other disciplines that fall under the Act.

Below is the framework being developed for the administration of penalties in the Province.  It is anticipated that the process will be ready for implementation in late fall of 2016.

Administrative Penalty Framework under the Safety Codes Act

An additional enforcement tool under the Safety Codes Act Administrative Penalties

Monetary penalties levied by administrative action to address non-compliance

  • Three key roles:
  1. To modify behaviour and considerations about safety
    2. To compel compliance; and
    3. To punish non-compliance
  • Powers of administrative penalties will be the responsibility of a Minister-appointed employee of the province (Administrator).
  • Penalties may range up to a maximum of $100,000 or up to $10,000 per day.

Administrative Penalties

  • Are not tickets.
  • Will not be issued by safety codes officers, municipalities, agencies or ASCA
  • Not to be used in lieu of charges under the Act
  • Cannot be in addition to charges under the Act

Some possible criteria for issuing Administrative Penalties

  • As under the New Home Buyer Protection Act, the Administrator could consider:

–   previous enforcement actions under the Act for contraventions of a similar nature by the person or the organisation’s directors or officers

–  the severity and extent of the contravention

–  the extent of the harm caused by the contravention or the degree of risk of harm

– The economic benefit derived from the contravention Fair Trading Act model

–  Seriousness of contravention or failure to comply

–  Degree of willfulness or negligence in the contravention or failure to comply

–  The impact on any person adversely affected by the contravention or failure to comply

–  Whether or not the person who receives the notice of administrative penalty has a history of non-compliance

Appeals

  • Appeals would be made to the Municipal Government Board who also administer appeals under the New Home Buyer Protection Act
  • Processes will match where possible those under NHBPA
  • Decisions still to be made on criteria, timelines, fees and surety
  • Those initiating the request for an Administrative Penalty will be required to attend appeal hearings

Notifications

  • Administrative Penalties would be published on the Ministry’s website
  • Initiators of Administrative Penalties will be notified of results.

Timing and enforcement

  • Deadline for serving a regulated person with written notice is 3 years from the date of the offence.
  • The Administrator may file a copy of the notice of administrative penalty, if any, with the clerk of the Court of the Queen’s Bench
  • This will provide an additional opportunity for enforcement and collection

Next Steps

  • Regulation is currently being drafted by Legislative Counsel
  • Final review of draft regulation in upcoming weeks
  • Testing of process for issuance and appeals
  • Additional review of processes with stakeholders
  • Final Regulation presented to Minister.
  • Minister presents Regulation to Executive Council
  • Administrator appointment made regulation in force Fall 2016