Manitoba has Tough Workplace Safety Rules; Too bad they’re not being enforced

May 30, 2012

2012 Report Card on Workplace Safety and Health

Manitoba failed to impose a single penalty for workplace safety violations even though 965 employers failed to comply with safety improvement orders last year, according to documents obtained through freedom of information by the Working Families Manitoba campaign.

“Manitoba has some very strong workplace safety laws; it’s too bad they’re not being enforced,” said Kevin Rebeck, spokesperson for the Working Families Manitoba Campaign. “The law says employers that put the safety of workers at risk should face financial penalties and fines. Unfortunately that’s not happening in Manitoba.”

Today, Working Families Manitoba released Who’s enforcing the rules that keep us safe at work? The 2012 Report Card on Workplace Safety and Health. The report card revealed new information about the provincial government’s failure to enforce workplace safety rules:

· Last year, Manitoba imposed zero financial penalties on employers that put that safety of workers at risk, even though 965 employers did not comply with safety improvement orders;

· The number of fines imposed for the most serious safety violations dropped to just one last year, down from an average of 14 fines/year over the past decade.

“Unfortunately, some very positive work in making workplaces safer was undermined by serious problems on the enforcement side,” said Rebeck. “Workers rely on the government to make sure employers are following safety rules.”

The report card found the provincial government performed better in other areas of workplace safety. Highlights include:

  • The number of workplace safety inspections increased by 1,433 last year (+12%);
  • Strong new rules were passed on workplace violence and mine safety;
  • Injury prevention efforts were improved with an expansion of the SAFE Work campaign and appointment of a Chief Prevention Officer; and
  • WCB improved service for injured workers in Western Manitoba, but failed to effectively address the growing problem of claims suppression.

The report card awarded the province an overall grade of B minus, based on grades in the following categories:

  • Enforcement: D
  • Tough Safety Rules: A-
  • Injury Prevention: B+
  • Workers Compensation: B-

The complete report card can be found at

Working Families Manitoba is a community campaign of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, aiming to raise awareness about issues that matter to working families.