Bill C-4 to Become Law in January: Here is What Tony Clement Won't Tell You  :: Association of Justice Counsel News
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December 17th, 2013
December 17th, 2013
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Bill C-4 to Become Law in January: Here is What Tony Clement Won't Tell You

Health and safety will be politicized as a result of the transferred authority and powers of health and safety officers to the Minister of Labour

As the government's omnibus budget Bill C-4 is about to become law early in the new year, here is another vignette by the AJC capturing some of the surprises and traps we found.

C-4 Attacks Employees' Health and Safety  

- The new definition of danger will mean that the employee´s right to refuse dangerous work will be diminished except in cases where such danger is considered imminent or a serious threat to health or life;
- An inspectorate of autonomous neutral trained professional health and safety officers will be replaced with political appointees who the Minister deems to be qualified;
- Health and safety will be politicized as a result of the transferred authority and powers of health and safety officers to the Minister of Labour;
- The Minister would not be a compellable witness in a civil suit related to health and safety in the workplace.


All in all, the Minister of Labour, who likely does not have expertise as health and safety professional, will have the final say on the health and safety of all workers within the federal public service without actually being held accountable, as C-4 simply waters down the seriousness and extent of the employer´s legal and moral obligations to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for federal public service workers.  

This means that if there is a carcinogen such as asbestos in your workplace for which long-term exposure would cause serious health problems in the future, you will not be able to exercise your right to call in a health and safety officer or refuse unsafe work under the soon-to-be amended Canada Labour Code. What a travesty!  



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