Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Division: Complaints and Inspections

  • Labour Standards
Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Division: Complaints and Inspections
Olivia Cicchini

Olivia Cicchini, Employment Law Expert

(Last updated )

Nova Scotia’s Labour Standards Division is responsible for ensuring that employers in the province adhere to labour standards and regulations, which are in place to protect the rights and safety of workers. The department conducts regular inspections and investigates complaints to ensure that employers are following the rules and regulations set out in the Employment Standards Code.

The Division receives complaints from workers who feel that their employer has violated their rights or is not complying with the Employment Standards Code. These complaints can relate to a range of issues, including unpaid wages, improper deductions from pay, inadequate notice of termination, or failure to provide vacation time. When a complaint is received, the Division will investigate to determine whether the employer is in compliance with the law.

In addition to investigating complaints, the Labour Standards Division conducts proactive inspections to ensure that employers are complying with the Employment Standards Code. Inspectors will visit worksites to review records, interview employees, and observe working conditions. Employers who are found to be in violation of the law will be required to take corrective action to address any deficiencies.

By ensuring that employers follow the rules, the Division helps to create a fair and safe workplace for all Nova Scotians. Here is everything you need to know as an employer in Nova Scotia regarding the Labour Standards Division.

What is the Employment Standards Code?

The Employment Standards Code (ESC) is a law that sets out the minimum employment standards for all workplaces in Nova Scotia. It outlines the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees, including minimum wage, hours of work, vacation entitlement, overtime pay, and termination notice.

What are some critical employment standards all Nova Scotia employers must follow?

Some critical employment standards that all Nova Scotia employers must follow include paying at least the minimum wage, providing vacation time and pay, providing breaks and rest periods, and giving proper notice before terminating an employee.

How does the Labour Standards Division ensure compliance with the ESC?

The Labour Standards Division ensures compliance with the ESC by conducting regular inspections, responding to employee complaints, and issuing orders and penalties to employers who are found to be in violation of the law.

How do ESC claims work?

Employees who believe their employer has violated their rights under the ESC can file a claim with the Labour Standards Division. The division will investigate the claim and take appropriate action to ensure compliance with the law.

What happens during an ESC inspection?

During an ESC inspection, an inspector will visit the workplace to review records, interview employees, and observe working conditions. The inspector will look for any violations of the ESC and may issue orders and penalties to employers who are found to be in violation.

How does the division carry out prosecutions?

The division can carry out prosecutions against employers who are found to be in violation of the ESC. This can result in fines, penalties, or other legal action.

How can employees file a claim for an alleged ESC violation?

Employees can file a claim with the Labour Standards Division by submitting a written complaint outlining the alleged violation. The division will investigate the claim and take appropriate action to ensure compliance with the law.

In what cases can a claim not be filed?

A claim cannot be filed if the alleged violation occurred more than six months ago or if the employee has already taken legal action against the employer.

How do health and safety inspections work?

In Nova Scotia, the Department of Labour, Skills, and Immigration and the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) work together to ensure compliance with health and safety laws.

How does the WCB ensure compliance with health and safety laws?

The Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB) ensures compliance with health and safety laws through inspections. Inspectors visit workplaces to identify potential hazards and assess whether employers are following health and safety laws and regulations.

On what grounds can inspectors conduct workplace health and safety inspections?

Inspectors can conduct workplace health and safety inspections based on a variety of grounds, including a complaint from an employee, a request from an employer, or a proactive inspection. Proactive inspections may be conducted based on high-risk industries, high-risk activities, or a history of non-compliance.

What happens during a proactive health and safety inspection?

During a proactive health and safety inspection, an inspector will assess the workplace for hazards and compliance with health and safety laws and regulations. They will review documentation such as safety policies and training records, interview workers and supervisors, and conduct a walk-through of the workplace.

What other enforcement powers do inspectors exercise?

Inspectors have several enforcement powers, including issuing orders to employers to correct hazards or violations, issuing stop-work orders, and conducting investigations.

Can employers appeal an inspector’s order?

Yes, employers can appeal an inspector’s order through the WCB’s appeal process.

How does workplace insurance work?

Workplace insurance provides benefits to workers who are injured or become ill as a result of their work. Employers are required to have workplace insurance in case an employee is injured or becomes ill on the job.

What is the procedure for businesses to report an employee’s injury or illness?

Businesses must report an employee’s injury or illness to the WCB as soon as possible. Employers must complete an Employer’s Report of Injury/Illness form and submit it to the WCB.

Is there a reporting deadline for reporting injuries?

Yes, employers must report workplace injuries or illnesses to the WCB within five business days of the injury or illness occurring.

What can employees do if an employer refuses to report their accident?

If an employer refuses to report an employee’s accident, the employee can report the accident to the WCB themselves. The employee can also file a complaint with the WCB for the employer’s failure to report the accident.

Can employers and employees appeal a decision?

Yes, both employers and employees can appeal a decision made by the WCB. The appeal process is handled by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal.

How to respond to employee complaints to the WCB

Employers should take employee complaints to the WCB seriously and respond promptly. It is important to review the complaint and take any necessary corrective action to ensure compliance with health and safety laws and regulations. Employers should also encourage employees to report any workplace hazards or safety concerns.

Do you need help staying compliant with provincial employment laws?

The Labour Standards Division, the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration, and the Workers Compensation Board all play crucial roles in ensuring that employers in Nova Scotia are following labour standards and regulations.

If you need assistance staying compliant with Nova Scotia’ Employment Standards, Peninsula’s services allow you to receive quality advice on any employment issues you may have. Contact us at 1 (833) 247-3652 to speak with one of our experts today.

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