Recent changes to federal health and safety law add specific employer obligations for the training of workplace health and safety representatives.
Since 2000, the Canada Labour Code
) has required that every employer “ensure that 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.”
Some 15 years later, this prescribed training is now spelled out in the new Policy Committees, Work Place Committees and Health and Safety Representatives Regulations
which replaces the now repealed Safety and Health Committees and Representatives Regulations
This new regulation came into force on July 1, 2015 and outlines specific training content requirements. Employers must ensure the following issues are covered:
the Code and any regulations made under it
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 of the committees; and
the principles of consensus building regarding health and safety issues.
The committee(s) or health and safety representatives must be consulted prior to the development of the training.
Another significant change with the new regulation is its application to policy committees in addition to workplace health and safety committees and representatives. Related to this is a new process for selecting policy committee members along with policy and health and safety committee chairpersons. The new regulation also spells out chairperson responsibilities.
The Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) can help workplaces governed by federal health and safety law get out front of this regulation. Our Federal Committees and Representatives
training program is an essential first step. The program focuses on content required by the regulation and much more. Employers, however, will need to ensure committee members and representatives get additional training, covering workplace and committee-specific rules and procedures.
Federally regulated workplaces include those in sectors with national scope—generally those crossing provincial and/or national boundaries. Examples of these sectors include: air, water, road and rail transport, banking, broadcasting, energy and mining, grain elevators and federal public service.
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*French program available
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