Why was an Ottawa coffee shop fined $60,000?
Courts fined Gaia Java Coffee Company Ltd, an Ottawa coffee shop, $60,000 for non-compliance of MOL orders.
Where did the Ottawa coffee shop go wrong?
A MOL inspector visited the Ottawa coffee shop located at 1300 Main St., Stittsville. This was in response to an incident that took place on March 26, 2016. Consequently, the inspector issued 15 orders to the coffee shop. Moreover, the inspector sent an email to the company’s directors detailing the online resources available for compliance. The inspector sent these small business tools and resources in April 2016 to assist the directors with compliance.
Next, the inspector made follow-up visits in May, September, October, and December 2016. Further, the inspector observed that the company had not fully complied with the orders. Next, the company that was operating the coffee shop changed its name to Gaia Java Coffee Company Ltd. However, the key factor is that the directors were the same people.
The coffee shop operating under the new company name needed to comply with the orders by January 20, 2017. Therefore, the inspector returned to the coffee shop for reissuing the outstanding orders against the new corporate defendant.
The MOL inspector paid a final visit to the coffee shop on April 24, 2017. Moreover, the Ottawa coffee shop did not comply with the orders even at this point in time. Thus, following a trial, courts fined the Ottawa coffee shop $15000 per order not complied totaling to $60000.
What were the 4 compliance orders?
On April 24, 2017, final visit date of the inspector, the coffee shop did not comply with the following 4 orders, which included requirements for:
- Posting a copy of the employer’s occupational health and safety policy in the workplace
- Conducting a workplace violence risk assessment
- Ensuring that all workers complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program
- Ensuring that all supervisors complete a basic occupational health and safety awareness training program
The biggest thing to note is that the Ottawa coffee shop is no longer operational as of April 2018.
How can an online safety training and management system help?
An online system such as 4SafeCom™ can be an effective tool to manage your safety training requirements.
Following are some of the key benefits of using an online safety management system such as 4SafeCom™:
Conducting the workplace violence, basic workers’ awareness, and basic supervisors’ awareness trainings online
The Ottawa coffee shop could have used the 4SafeCom™ system to conduct prevention training for workplace violence, which is mandatory in Ontario. Similarly, it could have used the system to get its employees to do the basic workers and supervisors’ awareness trainings as well.
Further, the coffee shop could have run training matrix reports to check the status of all the above trainings. The system also could be configured to email weekly training matrix reports. Thus, the coffee shop would have not only got its employees to do required trainings by order, but also could have tracked the employees who haven’t don’t it. This is important from a due diligence stand point.
Doing a workplace violence risk assessment online
The system has easily fillable online forms, which will enable the employer to assess the workplace violence risk effectively. Information can be captured easily using the system on mobile phones and tablets. Moreover, the system helps in getting a time stamp in the form of date of completion of review. This is crucial for due diligence.
Further, the system helps you track who did the review, when it was done, the location, and action items found. The system has the capability to have separate forms for assessing workplace violence risk at the head office and sites/locations.
Review and acknowledgement of workplace violence policies and procedures
The 4SafeCom™ system helps an employer communicate policies and procedures to the employees. In fact, the coffee shop could have used the system to not communicate its polices, but also to get employee acknowledgement as well.
This would have ensured that the coffee shop would have not only complied with the order, but would have also kept them in due diligence. In fact, by running a training matrix report, the coffee shop could have identified who reviewed the workplace violence policies and who haven’t. Thus, it can work out a progressive disciplinary plan for those who haven’t despite several warnings.
The system allows an employer to track those disciplinary actions. Further, the system would have also helped the employer get the overall occupational health and safety policy reviewed and acknowledged by employees.
Overall, an online safety training and management system such as 4SafeCom™ could have helped the Ottawa coffee shop comply with the orders. Moreover, it could have helped them save the $60000 fine for non-compliance of 4 orders. Further, it would have also helped the coffee shop in creating and managing due diligence effectively. The key point to note is that the system would have made it easier for the coffee shop to comply with the 4 orders.
Was the $60,000 fine the real loss for the Ottawa coffee shop?
Yes, the courts fined the coffee shop $60,000. However, was this the only loss for the coffee shop? Indeed not! How can one ignore the fact that the coffee shop is not operational at the moment and had to shut down. Of course, the job loss of number of people working in that coffee shop owing to its shutting down. How can that be ignored? Moreover, the loss of brand image is absolutely obvious, especially in the neighborhood and local areas where most coffee shops get their business from.
Therefore, even if they want to reopen their coffee shop, the will have to work very hard to convince coffee lovers in their locality about their safety consciousness. Thus, companies must remember that workplace safety and corporate brand go hand-in-glove. Always companies must not only strive to be in compliance, but must also work hard to stay in compliance.