Canada: Labour Federation President Calls for Heavier Penalties on EHS Violations

Labour Federation President Danny Cavanagh issued a public response to a recent contractor who was the first person jailed for violating health and safety regulation. Less than three months after being jailed, the contractor was once again found putting his employees at risk by failing to ensure they were using proper fall protection. In response to the repeat offender, Cavanagh stated how “change will only happen when the courts hand out stronger sentences and fines for workplace safety violations.” The Labour Federation President has also noted that repeat offenders are clearly undeterred by the current punishments. Read more here.

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Convergence

convergence is an environmental, health, safety and social management consultancy that specializes in multi-country (international) projects and programs.  We are able to meet our clients’ needs on a global scale while recognizing the important regional differences that our clients face in conducting business. Our country health and safety legal compliance tools for offices, retail and service sectors, known as CORE, are the foremost resource of its kind.

Canadian Asbestos Removal Company Fined for 274 Outstanding Safety Violation Orders

Seattle Environmental Consulting, a Vancouver asbestos removal company, is being fined a total of $506,000 for 274 workplace safety violations that have been accumulated since 2007. Some of the outstanding infractions include failing to clear asbestos from a site before demolition, repeated and high-risk violations that may have exposed the firm's own workers and other workers to asbestos, and the incorrect set-up of a negative-air unit which ended up contaminating the clean room with asbestos. Lee Loftus of the B.C. Insulators Union calls it "a crime" that the company has been allowed since 2007 to ring up over half a million dollars in fines and incur 274 safety violation orders. Read more here.

Ontario Federation of Labour Calls for Review of Employment Laws After Temp Worker Deaths

A young woman was killed after a conveyor belt caught her clothing on September 2, 2016, at Fiera Foods, in Toronto’s West End. She was sent to work at the Fiera plant by a temp agency and had been on the job for less than three weeks before she was killed. This marks the third temp worker death at this factory. This week Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) President, Chris Buckley wrote to the Toronto Police asking for a criminal investigation into the most recent death. In 2004 the Canadian Criminal Code was amended by Bill C-45 and now provides special criminal negligence provisions for companies that disregard the health and safety of workers. The intent of the legislation is to hold employers criminally liable for the deaths of workers. The OFL has claimed that Ontario’s outdated labour laws are failing to protect workers. In response, the Ontario government is currently reviewing the province’s employment laws—allowing an opportunity to create the employment laws Ontario workers need. Read more here.

Ontario Law Recognizes PTSD as an Occupational Disease for First Responders

Ontario has become the latest province to enact legislation making post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a presumptively occupational disease. Emergency service employees with PTSD will no longer have to prove it was caused by tragedies they handled on the job in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, erasing a major roadblock to prompt treatment. The new law applies to police officers, firefighters, emergency-response teams, paramedics, some corrections employees and other workers who are first on the scene in traumatic situations. This bill had been proposed in an attempt to combat a recent rise in suicides among first responders—and help first responders to come forward for help when they need it. Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn has recently stated how “psychological injury is just as damaging, is just as harmful, and is just as preventable in many ways as a physical injury.” Read more here.

Laws on Working Alone are Being Re-Evaluated by Alberta H&S Inspectors After Two Violent Robberies

The Alberta government plans to inspect 200 convenient stores and gas bars after two separate robberies lead to the death of two clerks.  These inspections will cover current legislation related to working alone, workplace violence, paycheck deductions and employing young workers. The need for these inspections is to help determine the next steps in the review of occupational health and safety and employment standards laws.  Read more here.

Comment

Convergence

convergence is an environmental, health, safety and social management consultancy that specializes in multi-country (international) projects and programs.  We are able to meet our clients’ needs on a global scale while recognizing the important regional differences that our clients face in conducting business. Our country health and safety legal compliance tools for offices, retail and service sectors, known as CORE, are the foremost resource of its kind.