Canadian Occupational Safety

March/April 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 35

6 U P F R O N T W O R K P L A C E N E W S CAMH researchers develop potential treatment for PTSD Researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto (CAMH) have identified a protein complex that is elevated in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients and developed a peptide that could potentially treat or prevent the disorder. The peptide disrupts the protein complex and prevents recall or encoding of fear memories. It could be given after a traumatic event and could possibly prevent an individual from developing PTSD. Canada has the highest prevalence of PTSD among 24 examined countries, and 9.2 per cent of Canadians will develop PTSD in their lifetimes, said CAMH. Manitoba increases safety violation penalty up to $1 million Manitoba has introduced legislative amendments that would increase penalties for workplace infractions to $500,000, up from $250,000, while second and subsequent offences would cost violators up to $1 million, up from $500,000. The amendments would also eliminate the chief prevention officer position, placing those responsibilities under Safe Work Manitoba. It will also improve the mechanisms for collecting penalties levied by the courts for purposes of educating the public on workplace injury and illness prevention, as well as introduce new provisions that would prevent frivolous or vexatious appeals from being forwarded to the Manitoba Labour Board. "Employers are still responsible for ensuring healthy and safe work sites, and the new rules provide the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each workplace." Jason Copping Government of Alberta ALBERTA is making changes to its health and safety committee requirements to "reduce the administrative burden" on employers. Rather than being required at each work site, committees and representatives will be required for each employer regardless of how many sites the employer operates. For example, a school division will require only one committee rather than having a committee at each school in the division, explained the government. This revises the existing rule that requires one health and safety committee or representative per work site. The new rule requires employers with 19 or fewer employees to have a representative while employers with 20 or more workers will have a committee. Work sites with multiple employers where work lasts 90 days or more are also required to have a site-specific committee or representative, depending on the number of workers. "We have heard that the current rules around health and safety committees are not working. The new rules for health and safety committees will support healthy and safe workplaces while reducing administrative burdens," said Minister of Labour and Immigration Jason Copping. "Employers are still responsible for ensuring healthy and safe work sites and the new rules provide the flexibility to meet the unique needs of each workplace." But Christina Gray, an NDP MLA who is the official opposition critic for labour, does not support the change. "It will reduce the number of workers participating in health and safety for their workplace and potentially put safety and lives at risk," she said. "The previous NDP government implemented the requirement that each work site have a health and safety committee after extensive consultation with both workers and employers." Alberta is also reducing the mandatory government-approved training from two individuals to just one in an effort to reduce repetitive content and time spent away from work. These new requirements will save the province an estimated $275,000 per year, the government said. Exempted are parties with existing collective agreements until the agreement expires. The government may also designate additional committees or representatives where needed. "We are pleased with the ministry's decision to allow the operation of a single overarching occupational health and safety committee, as opposed to one at every site," said Greg Miller, assistant superintendent at Grande Prairie and District Catholic Schools. "Having received a variance to operate a division-wide committee a few months back, we have found it to effectively serve the health and safety needs of our district, while allowing us to meet the requirements of the OHS act in a fiscally responsible manner." ALBERTA STREAMLINES RULES FOR HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES Requirements now employer-based rather than site-based; only one worker obliged to complete mandatory training to reduce time spent away from work

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Occupational Safety - March/April 2020