What do a Toronto based Plastic company, a Watford area Construction company and Maple Leaf Foods Company in Toronto have in common? They all are among many other companies that were recently prosecuted and fined for various injuries that their employees suffered at the workplace. The fines that were imposed on these three companies in a period of less than one week sum up to an amount exceeding $250,000.
In this article, I would like to draw your attention to the following important facts that every entrepreneur and business owner must consider:
- The review of all three decisions shows that no matter what was employer’s fault in causing the injury, the court had anyway found the company responsible and penalized it. In particular, the review of the Plastic company case shows that the employees (one of whom eventually got injured) took a company’s forklift without authorization and without being generally allowed or qualified to use such equipment. In any other circumstances, it would be called “theft”. Nevertheless, the company was found responsible and was fined $50,000.
- In the case of the Plastic company, as well as in many other cases, a company’s supervisor was prosecuted and fined personally. This means that in addition to the personal fine that the Supervisor will have to pay, the record of being found guilty by the Provincial Offences Court/Ontario Court of Justice will now stain his name and reputation for many years to come.
These examples show that no matter what type of business you operate and no matter how big or small it is, there are constant threats and risks arising out of any regular business operations. The management team of every company must constantly evaluate and mitigate these threats and must ensure that the company has proper corresponding policies and procedures in place. Additionally, these examples show that operating a business as a separate legal entity (corporation) will not protect its owners and managers from the personal liability for business’ non-compliance or breach of law.
At CBES, we combine our services with ongoing education and training for employers and business owners. All our compliance documents and packages that we prepare for our clients include training session and constant support for the management team.