Workers Health & Safety Centre

Federal Committees and Representatives Training Program is Now Updated

Federal Committees and Representatives Training Program is Now Updated
This Workers Health & Safety Centre (WHSC) 12-hour training program is intended to support the essential work of federal health and safety committee members and representatives. 
The program is designed to equip participants with an understanding of federal health and safety law and the requirements for a hazard prevention program under Part XIX, as well as a violence prevention program under Part XX.
The more extensive updates to this training program reflect recent legislative changes resulting from Bill C-4, and changes to the Policy Committees, Work Place Committees and Health and Safety Representatives Regulations.

Bill C-4 changes

Bill C-4 came into effect October 31, 2014 bringing major changes to federal health and safety law.
The Bill changes the definition of danger with respect to the right to refuse unsafe work to, “imminent or serious threat to the life or health of a person.” Thus this new and narrower definition essentially removes references to hazards that may have chronic health implications.  
Under Bill C-4 all authority and powers of trained health and safety officers now reside with the Labour Minister, who may or may not delegate this power back to an officer or another designate.  Further, amendments to the work refusal process allow for the Minister to dismiss a work refusal on the basis of subsection 129 (1),thereby permitting the Minister to forgo an actual investigation and deal with the work refusal issue through Part I or III of the Canada Labour Code. In other words, if the Minister is of the opinion the matter is trivial, frivolous, or vexatious, or the employee’s complaint is made in bath faith, the minister or an appointed representative can decide not to proceed with the investigation. In such cases the employer and employee will be notified and the employee is no longer entitled to continue to refuse under subsection 128 (15). 

Committee and Worker Representatives Regulation changes

Since 2000, the Canada Labour Code (the Code) included a provision stating every employer must “ensure members of policy and work place committees and health and safety representatives receive the prescribed training in health and safety and are informed of their responsibilities under this Part.”  But no regulation ever actually set out training requirements, as such it was unenforceable. The  new Policy Committees, Work Place Committees and Health and Safety Representatives Regulations which replaces the Safety and Health Committees and Representatives Regulations, finally delivered at least on specific training content requirements.
As of July 1, 2015 employers must ensure training for committees and representatives addresses the following:
  • the Code Part II and its regulations,
  • the means that allow the committee members and the health and safety representatives to fulfill their responsibilities under the Code,
  • the rules and procedures of each committee; and
  • the principles of consensus building regarding health and safety issues.
Workplace committees or health and safety representatives must also be consulted regarding the training.
The newly revised WHSC Federal Committees and Representatives Training Program is tailor made to meet this training content and more.

Other changes to the WHSC training program include:

  • References to HRSDC (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) changed to ESDC(Employment and Social Development Canada) where necessary.
  • Edits made to reflect requirements for globally-harmonized WHMIS.
  • Updates include new statistics.
  • History of Law updates include Bill C-4.
  • Section updates include the work refusal process, health and safety officers and appeals officer.
  • Text and flow chart addressing the internal complaint resolution and the work refusal processes now reflect legislative changes.
  • Overall changes were also made to conform to new WHSC program layout and design templates.

Changes by Module

Module 1 - The Purpose of Health and Safety Law
  • Resource Sheet 1 – Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report was updated to the latest version.
  • Under the heading Instructions to Employer on Completion of the Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report, items #1 and #10 received updates. 
  • Resource Sheet 2 – Danger as a Normal Condition of Employment, now includes the words trivial, frivolous and vexatious.

Module 2 - Committees and Representatives
  • The content of, Resource Sheet 1 – Internal Complaint Resolution Process, is replaced with a new flowchart.

Module 3 - Hazard Prevention Program
  • Text addressing hazard identification and assessment now includes ergonomic-related hazards.

Module 4 - Setting the Program
  • Resource Sheet 1 -- Additional Sources of Occupational Health and Safety Information is deleted as a similar resource sheet exists in Module 2.
  • Resource Sheet 2 (previously Labour Program, HRSDC Hazards Prevention Program Draft Forms) is now Resource Sheet 1, and is entitled Employee Education Report and Record Sample Forms.

Module 5 - Maintaining the Program
  • A new Resource Sheet 1 – Checklist for the Evaluation of an Ergonomics-Related Hazard is added.
Editor’s Note:
This training program is available for booking now. Contact a WHSC training services representative today.
Work in the federal sector? Be sure to encourage your employer to contract the WHSC for committee and worker representative training.