Safety Codes Act - Fines and Limitations

Maximum fines were increased and a three-year limitation period was introduced for offences committed under the Safety Codes Act (Act). These two amendments to the Act were included in the Protection and Compliance Statutes Amendment Act (PCSAA) and came into force when the PCSAA received royal assent on December 10, 2012.

Offences under the Act include:

  • Interfering with an Administrator or safety codes officer (SCO) in the exercise of their duties;
  • Making a false or misleading statement to an SCO who is carrying out an inspection or review;
  • Failing to prepare, submit or retain information when the Act (including the regulations) requires them to do so;
  • Contravening the Act (including the regulations and codes adopted in regulations);
  • Contravening a condition in a permit, certificate or variance;
  • Contravening an order; and
  • Failing to carry out any action required by an order within the required time.

Increasing maximum fines provide a strong incentive for persons to comply with the Act and a deterrent to persons from repeating an offence or continuing to remain in non-compliance. Previously, the maximum fines for offences under the Act were $15,000 for a first offence and $30,000 for subsequent offences. The maximum fines have increased to $100,000 for a first offence and $500,000 for subsequent offences. These will only apply to offences which occur on or after December 10, 2012.

Introducing the three-year limitation period to the Act allows the authority having jurisdiction a reasonable period of time to identify the offence and prosecute the person responsible for compliance with the Act.  Previously, the Act did not include a limitation period for prosecution of offences, and therefore the 6 month limitation period in the Provincial Offences Procedure Act applied.  A new section has been added to the Act which states:

  1. prosecution of offences under the Act cannot begin more than three years after the day on which evidence of the offence first came to the attention of a safety codes officer; and
  2. the new limitation period only applies to offences that are committed on or after December 10, 2012

The daily fines for continuing offences were not increased in these amendments.