Ministry of Labour inspectors blitzing roofers in Ontario
Roofers sometimes wear safety harnesses unconnected to lifelines, so they look like they are complying with safety laws, to the casual observer. Ministry inspectors tend to have better eyesight, however.
By Alec Caldwell
Residential roofing companies in Ontario are under a major blitz right now by the Ministry of Labour. MoL inspectors are stepping up enforcement as part of a new pilot project targeting safety law violations – as well as tax and consumer protection law-breakers.
MoL is the working in conjuction with the provincial finance ministry, the consumer protection ministry and local municipalities.
It’ll be a breeze for them to find roofing crews in residential neighborhoods, as they stand out. On my personal site visits, I’ve found many roofers wearing harnesses unconnected to lifelines. This is a tactic used by many roofers so that they look safe to the casual observer. But as they fall to their deaths or into a paraplegic state, it is somewhat less effective.
The tactic will also be ineffective with MoL inspectors as they record and photograph the safety violations, levy the stiff fines, and then proceed to look into the tax and and Consumers Protection aspect of each particular project.
On the safety side, inspectors may be looking for proof of Working at Heights training, or current dated Fall Training, still allowed under transition rules until April 1st, 2017. Call us or email us for more details if you’re not up to speed on this.
On the Consumer Protection Act, roofing companies are high on their list of complaints from consumers in Ontario. Many so-called roofing companies are failing to provide consumers with contracts.
Some recent convictions under the Consumers Protection Act came from items like: Engaging in an unfair practice by making false, misleading or deceptive representations to consumers. Failing to deliver a direct agreement. Failing to provide a consumer with a contract containing information required by the Consumer Protection Act. And failing to refund payment within 15 days of being given notice of cancellation of the consumer agreement.
The Ontario Consumer Protection Act (2002) dishes out fines up to $250,000 for corporations and $50,000 for individuals convicted of offenses. The bonus is, those found guilty face jail terms up to two years less a day for each offense.
On the tax side, I’m sure those operating without HST accounts will be caught in this blitz as well. The underground economy do not carry HST accounts.
I believe this blitz will help legitimate companies who are following current laws. I also think that consumers should be educated more at point of sale, the dangers of hiring or inviting people onto their property, what can happen when workers don’t use required safety, as required by law, as well as who are not following consumer protection laws and taxation. It’s about why they should be hiring reputable contractors and pay a fair price for the work they carry out.
If you have any questions on safety give, including Working at Heights, give us a call as we’re finding many are still confused with this new law. Toll free 1 866 366 2930.
By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act. We are independent of unions and government.
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