Quebec Looks to Modernize Occupational Health and Safety
In an effort to evolve, Quebec is looking to change its occupational health and safety legislation.
It has been decades since Quebec, one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada, has made revisions to its occupational health and safety legislation, but that will soon change. Beginning in April of 2022, employers will be required to enact amendments to the current legislation that covers employers with 20 or more workers.
One of the major differences, and the biggest change that hints at modernization, is that employers are now required to ensure their workers’ psychological health and safety in addition to their physical health and safety. The new legislation also will but the onus on the employer to take steps to protect workers exposed to violence in the workplace.
Employers will be required to enact the following amendments:
- Implement a prevention program which aims to eliminate or control workplace hazards through concrete measures in three steps: identification, correction and control.
- Form a health and safety committee whose rules and goals are determined by an agreement between the employer and its workers.
- Elect a health and safety representative whose duties will include inspecting the workplace, investigating events that could have caused an accident, detecting risks that may affect the health and safety of workers and identifying hazardous materials in the workplace.
Workers will also have new protections under the new legislation, which can be divided into two categories: protection and participation rights.
According to a SHRM article, protection rights include “all obligations and standards that guarantee healthy and safe working conditions.” This includes an increased right to rehabilitation if a worker is injured in a workplace-related event.
Participation rights refer to how an employee now has an increased ability to have their own opinion heard when it comes to their own health and safety in the workplace. Workers will be able to take part in committees, sign up for trainings and perform prevention duties.