No More Skillful Scheduling of Contractors: Clarification of When a Prime Contractor is Required

In November 2012, we posted a blog regarding Bill 6, The Protection and Compliance Statures Amendment Act, 2012, introduced to the Alberta legislature to amend three Acts, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act as part of an ongoing effort by the provincial government to hold employers (and those responsible for work sites) accountable for the health and safety of their business operations. Bill 6 received Royal Assent on December 10, 2012. As a result, one key amendment now in force is Section 3(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which deals with the prime contractor.

Prior to the amendment, the legislation was worded in a way which suggested that a prime contractor was only required if two or more employers were involved at the work site at the same time. Due to the wording, some site owners were able to bypass the prime contractor obligation by skillfully crafting a work schedule so that no more than one employer was present at a work site at the same time.

The amendment strikes out the words “at the same time” in an effort to clarify that a prime contractor is required for a work site whenever there are two or more employers whose work activities are interrelated and/or have a health or safety impact on each other, even though they may not be present at the work site together.

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