Alberta government's health and safety "record" only looks good compared to its own poor track record



    Alberta still brings up the rear among provinces when it comes to
    enforcing workplace safety rules

    EDMONTON, March 2 /CNW/ - The Alberta government today announced it had
levied a record amount of penalties against employers for workplace health and
safety violations - but Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan
says it's still a case of "too little too late."
    "Those figures only look impressive compared to the Alberta government's
own sorry record of enforcing health and safety rules," says McGowan. "They've
been taking some small steps in the right direction, but they're still near
the back of the pack compared to other provinces when it comes to aggressively
prosecuting employers who ignore or break the rules."
    McGowan says the weakness of Alberta's approach to enforcing health and
safety rules can be seen clearly when you compare the number of cases launched
against employers by different provincial governments.
    "In Ontario, between 1999 and 2004, the Ontario government prosecuted
2392 employers for health and safety infractions," says McGowan. "During the
same five year period, the Alberta government only prosecuted 41. The record
clearly shows that when it comes to enforcing our own rules and sending a
message to employers, we're not in the same league as many other provinces."
    McGowan says a tougher line on workplace health and safety is
particularly important in Alberta today because of our province's booming
economy.
    "As the economy heats up, many employers start to cut corners," he says.
"Unfortunately, one of the first corners they cut is health and safety. In
this kind of environment, tough rules and strict enforcement are more
important than ever. Employees need to know they have someone in their corner.
And employers need to know there are serious consequences to ignoring health
and safety rules. I'm not convinced that that message is being sent."





For further information:

For further information: Gil McGowan, Cell: (780) 218-9888

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Alberta Federation of Labour

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