Harper Conservatives Attack
Workplace Health and Safety
Who: The Harper Conservative federal government
What: Have introduced changes to the federal labour code to reduce health and safety protection for workers in the federal jurisdiction, including federal crown corporations. For our union this means mainly airline and airport workers. These changes were introduced as part of an “omnibus” bill (C-4) with hundreds of unrelated provisions to other Acts, so that it would pass with little or no public scrutiny.
C-4 narrows the definition of “danger” in the Canada Labour Code to make it harder for workers to refuse to work in proximity to toxic chemicals or radiation, particularly when it will cause chronic conditions or damage the reproductive system. It gets rid of government health and safety officers, and gives the federal Labour Minister final say on whether to even investigate an unsafe workplace.
Why: Even though no credible stakeholders called for these changes, the Harper Conservatives are doing favours for the bosses who they represent, by weakening workers’ right to refuse unsafe working conditions.
Where: At the ballot box.
When: In 2015, at the next federal election, we need to elect a Canadian government that will reverse these unfair changes, and work to make our workplaces safer.