Injunctions are court orders from the Supreme Court of B.C. that require a person or firm to comply with the occupational health and safety (OHS) provisions of the Workers Compensation Act, regulations, or a WorkSafeBC order. Injunctions may also restrain the person or firm from carrying on work in their industry for an indefinite or limited period, or until the occurrence of a specified event.
When an injunction is considered
WorkSafeBC may pursue an injuction when there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person or firm has not complied, or is not likely to comply, with the OHS provisions of the Act, regulations, or a WorkSafeBC order. We may pursue an injunction in addition to other remedies under the Act, such as an administrative penalty.
When a court injunction is disobeyed
After a judge has issued an injunction requiring compliance with the OHS provisions, most persons and firms comply with it and worker safety is enhanced.
When a person or firm continues to breach the provisions despite an injunction, we may seek further remedies. The court may issue an order declaring the person or firm in contempt of court and may then impose punishment for the contempt. Punishment usually consists of a fine but may involve a custodial sentence.
We may also seek an order under section 97(1)(e) of the Act, prohibiting the person or firm from continuing to operate in the industry of the injunction order.
In some cases courts have imposed both a contempt order and an order prohibiting the person or firm from continuing in the industry.
Under section 97 of the Act, “persons” can include corporate and individual employers, owners, supervisors, suppliers, workers, and others.